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The Shocking Truth About DIY Employee Recognition Programs

By Jonathan McClellan | September 12, 2018 | Blog Posts | Engage Employees

Forget company knickknacks or “Employee of the Month” certificates that end up in a desk drawer collecting dust. As more companies move toward implementing employee recognition programs, the push to think outside the box is increasing. After all, companies have to compete for the best and the brightest employees. Studies show that 50% of employees would leave their current job for an organization with better recognition efforts. And while some are trying to get by with a DIY employee recognition program, the do-it-yourself model isn’t always the best way to keep employees around.

The most progressive companies put employee happiness and satisfaction at the top of the list. However, thanking them for a job well done isn’t just about being nice.

For organizations lacking a formal employee recognition program, leaders typically look for creative ways to “fill the gaps” themselves. This tends to look like our opening example: a paper certificate that sits in an employee’s desk drawer. There are inherent risks associated with a DIY employee recognition approach.

Keep reading for what can happen when you put employee recognition in a desk drawer:

Loss and theft

When you rely on paper certificates without digital documentation, you run the risk of managers losing the reward—or worse, having it stolen. When digital documentation isn’t implemented into your employee recognition program, rewards can easily be lost or completely forgotten about. And when a reward is lost, so is the opportunity to boost the morale of the company.


According to Gallup research, employees need some form of recognition once every seven days. This can be a mix of verbal feedback, a quick “good job” in a meeting or even a more formal recognition message such as an award. But perhaps even more crucial than frequency is distributing an even amount of recognition from employee to employee. For example, a manager may reward one employee with a $200 gift and another employee with only $50. When each employee finds out about the inconsistency in award value, morale can decline. Leaving it to chance increases the potential for perceived inequity and raises unwanted negative attention to what should be a positive experience.

No measurement or tracking

As a company, the inability to evaluate how much recognition is being given, who is recognizing and being recognized, and what types of behaviors are getting recognized can be frustrating. Companies without a formal employee recognition solution don’t have the insights they need to keep an effective program running.


Calculating tax liability and properly complying with your company’s compensation and benefits guidelines can generate confusion among business owners and employees alike. Solutions that can handle tax compliance, guideline requirements and more can help minimize risk and potential violations.

Abuse or fraud

Say your company recognizes employees for a job well done through nominations by coworkers. How do you ensure employees are not nominating themselves? How do you balance the integrity of the nominations? Although it’s hard to believe people would purposefully take advantage of a company’s own employee recognition program, it is not out of the realm of possibility. A few bad apples can spoil the bunch. Solutions that provide added controls and visibility to who is giving recognition will help mitigate risk and deter wrongdoing.

Hallmark Employee Recognition Solution

Just like Hallmark enhances relationships in your personal life, we’re here for the work world, too. Our employee recognition program makes it easy to say thanks or congratulations, to put a spotlight on achievements, or to celebrate personal occasions, life events, holidays and milestones. We offer solutions that include real-time recognition, measured results, seamless integration and gift cards that reinforce good work ethic. The end results are stronger connections, greater appreciation and more pride in your workforce and your business. Say goodbye to your DIY employee recognition program and hello to Hallmark. Learn more and connect with us today.

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