Why Nomination Programs Aren’t Enough


April 14, 2022

Taryn Hart

X min

6 min

While on the surface nomination programs seem like a simple solution to employee recognition, in order to be successful, they need to work in conjunction with a more robust suite of tools to deliver results.

Why Nomination Programs Aren’t Enough
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A nomination is an official endorsement for someone to receive an award or prize. The first step in a nomination program is for the organization to determine and communicate the criteria for their program. Employees can then nominate colleagues they feel meet the criteria, with one nominee then being selected as the winner. Some organizations have employee nomination programs for awards like “Employee of the Month,” “Most Hard Working,” “Most Innovative,” etc. While on the surface nomination programs seem like a simple solution to employee recognition, in order to be successful, they need to work in conjunction with a more robust suite of tools to deliver results.

Nominations are a Small Piece to a Bigger Solution

Traditional employee nomination programs give employees an opportunity to tell a story about the peer they are nominating and how their accomplishments have delivered something impactful for the business. Nominations can bring acknowledgement of standout achievements in a workplace where they may otherwise go unnoticed, especially by outside members of that team. They can be an opportunity to communicate expectations, or curate awards and prizes that encapsulate your company values. Nominations can also deliver a morale boost, especially for those employees who win.  

However, nomination programs are not without their challenges. Why only allow employees to give recognition whenever there is an award present? These types of programs are only one piece to a complete solution – which doesn’t mean you need to abandon your nomination program altogether, but simply include it in a deeper, more impactful and effective employee recognition strategy.  

Nominations Do Not Reflect Consistent Recognition

For employee recognition to be effective at motivating and communicating the value individuals and teams offer your organization, it needs to be consistent and meaningful. Nomination programs are often monthly, quarterly or yearlong initiatives so your employees are not receiving this communication frequently enough to create lasting meaning. In addition, when you nominate someone for an award, you’re not directly recognizing them for their work or efforts – you’re only giving them a chance at recognition. If someone deserves recognition, then they should receive that recognition to keep them feeling appreciated day-to-day. When you nominate employees for an award or prize, what you’re doing is comparing their accomplishments to someone else’s instead of celebrating and appreciating their work individually. While being nominated is considered recognition, it can increase unhealthy competitiveness between employees and lead to resentment. Your employees deserve to be recognized constantly and not just periodically whenever an award or prize is up for grabs.

Nomination programs also prohibit you from reaping the benefits of wider recognition. When your organization partakes in a nomination program, it’s usually comprised of certain award categories, which over time can become disassociated from what employees are working on or dealing with. If an organization implements an Employee of the Month program, that means only 12 employees will receive that recognition in a single year. Programs like this also only focus on one person winning something at one time – why limit employee recognition to just one person? Recognizing teamwork or collaboration amongst a group of people is just as important as recognizing an individual.  

The Solution is in Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Incorporating an employee recognition platform will allow your employees to be recognized regularly. Platforms like Kudos allow employees and leaders the freedom to recognize anyone, for anything, at any time. Adding a peer-to-peer recognition program to your strategy offers a more consistent and accessible motivational experience. Enabling all your employees to recognize impactful moments regularly, timely and specifically ensures that recipients know the value they bring to the organization. No matter how small the achievement is – even if it’s a simple thank you – peer-to-peer recognition has a better overall impact on improving employee morale and engagement.

A recent Forbes study found that 66% of employees will leave their jobs because they do not feel appreciated. A strong company culture is an increasingly crucial factor for employees, and a recognition solution directly contributes to building an impactful company culture where employees feel recognized and appreciated.  

An employee recognition platform does not mean leaders can no longer create employee awards or prizes, but they shouldn’t take away the ability for peers or leaders to give and receive constant recognition. Offering more nomination options by building levels of nominations with high level prestigious, and quarterly or monthly nominations can still exist, but should be supported by regular recognition. Add more social or community nominations that bring creativity and fun to your employee recognition solution, instead of putting focus on traditional nominations that are only centered around recognizing select employees. Nominate employees for awards like “Most Likely to Be Late for a Meeting”, or “Most Creative Zoom Background” and have them for entertainment or enjoyment purposes instead of centered around performance.  

Choosing the Right Employee Recognition Solution

Nomination programs are a small piece to a bigger solution. Giving regular recognition should become a habit within your organization and should be used as a building block to help retain talent, form healthier work relationships, and strengthen company culture.  

We know that selecting the best recognition solution for your organization can be challenging, so we’ve made it simple for you with our Employee Recognition Buyer’s Guide. Our guide gives a comprehensive overview of how to choose the right employee recognition solution for your company’s culture, goals, and budget. Remember that consistent and authentic employee recognition should always be the priority, and the awards and prizes should come secondary.

About Kudos

Kudos is an employee engagement, culture, and analytics platform, that harnesses the power of peer-to-peer recognition, values reinforcement, and open communication to help organizations boost employee engagement, reduce turnover, improve culture, and drive productivity and performance. Kudos uses unique proprietary methodologies to deliver essential people analytics on culture, performance, equity, and inclusion, providing organizations with deep insights and a clear understanding of their workforce.

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