Businesses across the U.S. are increasingly aware of the value a well-designed employee recognition program brings to its workforce. Formally acknowledging employee contributions and achievements brings a wealth of benefits, including:

  • Greater employee engagement
  • Higher degrees of employee creativity and productivity
  • Enhanced feelings of being part of a high-performing team
  • Reinforcement of desired employee behavior
  • Increased levels of retention

An additional benefit of an employee recognition program is its appeal to talented job seekers who want, in addition to a competitive salary and benefits, to work for a company that demonstrates appreciation for its workforce.

As Lauren Knowles at Undercover Recruiter notes, employee recognition programs (as well as bonus schemes) are among “the top reasons professionals are choosing to join certain companies, and failing to implement such schemes could be resulting in businesses missing out on talented candidates.”

Here are ways to entice top talent with an employee recognition strategy:

Promote a culture of excellence

Businesses are discovering that the path to becoming an “employer choice” — an organization that draws promising job candidates due to its well-regarded reputation — includes policies of employee recognition and reward.

These programs spur the workforce to higher levels of performance and achievement, which often has a rippling effect. The more valued employees feel, the more engaged they are with their employers, leading to greater job retention and a growing sense that they work at a special place. Inevitably, word gets out in the community about the business and its culture of excellence.

Include details about your employee-focused culture of excellence in your recruitment materials, as well as specific examples of employee recognition practices in your organization.

Here are suggestions on employee recognition policies that can be incorporated in your recruitment strategies:

  • A paid day off
  • Tickets to sporting or cultural events
  • A full-page advertisement in the local newspaper highlighting the efforts of employees
  • Paying for a health club membership
  • Having an outstanding employee’s car detailed or his/her house cleaned

As Insurance Journal notes, “High-performing employees are searching for something more than just a high salary. The typical employee compensation plan should include a total package of rewards, recognition and environment.”

What better “selling point” can an organization have than demonstrating proof of the value it places on the people who work there?

Celebrate on social media

Companies can justifiably boast about their high-performing employees on social media, where job seekers are known to congregate. Consider adding an “Employee Highlights” page to your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, regularly featuring employees who have been recognized for outstanding work. Add photographs of recognition ceremonies and kudos from admiring co-workers.

Before you know it, you’ll be generating social media buzz among many talented and sought-after job candidates.

Recruit employees as brand ambassadors

Your company website and social media platforms are also ideal vehicles for employees to talk about the culture and work environment in their own words. Just as with products and services, nothing is quite as compelling as honest, straight-from-the-source testimony about the benefits of working for your business.

Invite your most honored and enthusiastic employees to serve as “brand ambassadors” at recruiting events, in online case studies, even as “references” a promising job seeker can contact for firsthand accounts of your organization. Their excitement will likely be infectious, further piquing the candidate’s interest in learning more from your recruiter.

Setting up an employee recognition program may take a little time and effort, but it doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor. Many low-budget options are available, as shown above, for demonstrating your gratitude for outstanding work and customer service.

Best of all, you can leverage this recognition program to promote your culture of excellence and attract talented candidates who will work harder — and stay longer — with a business that appreciates what they do.

About Carl Martens:

Carl Martens is a resident catalyst for change at Award Concepts. With a degree in Sales and Marketing from DeVry University, Martens works as an advocate for his clients, working closely with them to develop and deliver custom employee recognition programs.