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Employee Recognition: A Planning Guide for the New Year

 As we head into the last few weeks of the year, it’s time to make plans for 2023! As we discussed in our last blog, having an employee recognition program is imperative for a happy, healthy, and productive company. Here’s how to improve your recognition strategy for the new year.


Whether a company is looking to revise an existing program or start one from scratch, it’s important to take stock of the current condition. For companies with no formal program, it’s helpful to look for any instances where employees are already being celebrated or recognized. The answer to this may serve as a good “home base” for drafting a recognition strategy. For companies with a program already in place, simply identify what worked and what fell flat. Speaking with managers and employees will provide helpful insight into how people are affected by the current program. Once different pain points are identified, it becomes easier to create a specific action plan.

Set Goals

Once information has been gathered from the self-audit, it’s time to set some goals. Companies should always keep their mission and values in mind when setting these goals. This will help their recognition efforts blend seamlessly with their company’s culture. Goals can include increasing the frequency of recognition, rewarding a specific behavior, or simply boosting morale. It’s important not to commit to too many goals at once. Picking 2-4 is a good way to keep recognition efforts on track.

Make an Action Plan

With goals officially set, it’s time to brainstorm some action items. By breaking down lofty goals into manageable steps, it’s a lot easier to create effective change. Depending on the size of the company, there may be a whole team dedicated to employee recognition, or there may be one person who handles it as an HR duty. Either way, try to keep action items at a manageable level. Not everything needs to happen at once. If a company is working with a smaller team and budget, it’s best to start by implementing a program that focuses on frequent, informal, and personal recognition. From there, the company can build up to more grand gestures in the future.


Once the company has a plan in place, it’s a great idea to plot out the details in an easily viewable way. This helps to visualize who is being awarded, by whom, for what event, with what award, how frequently, and what goal it accomplishes. Creating a grid like the one below is a fantastic way to summarize an employee recognition program. With a quick glance, it’s easy to identify who is responsible for which elements, what budgets have been decided upon, and more. The example grid below comes from Applauz Resources:


Follow Up

With any action plan, it’s important to set up regular times for review. Everyone involved with these new employee recognition goals should have someone who keeps them accountable. Decide upon specific metrics to help measure the progress or the success of the recent changes. Finally, check in with managers and employees to see what they think of the company’s recognition efforts. By scheduling regular check-in dates, all of these action items are more likely to stay on track.

Planning With Dion

When planning for next year’s employee awards, consider rewarding employees with something truly one-of-a-kind. Our custom jewelry awards can only be earned, never bought from a retail store. Unlike trophies and plaques, jewelry can travel with the recipient wherever they go. Check out our gallery of past designs, or get started with a custom quote today!



By Aubrey Dion

Aubrey Dion is proud to be back working for the family business she grew up in. Over the years, she has performed a wide variety of jobs in both the office and factory, becoming a true "jack of all trades." Aubrey credits her quick learning ability to her strong theatre background, where memorization and attention to detail are vital. Working in the marketing department allows her to stay creative and work on exciting new projects for the company.