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Recognition driving business success

There can be few more effective ways to engage employees than through recognition of their effort, endeavour, achievement and success. Recognition programmes have the ability to make people feel good, improve relationships internally and create a thank you culture. But there is more to Recognition programmes than a ‘nice to have’ engagement initiative. Recognition programmes are a vehicle for driving employee engagement with strategic objectives and the values and behaviours required to deliver enhanced business performance and positively influence the bottom line.


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What can recognition achieve?

A well designed, effectively embedded and creatively communicated programme can:

Drive a values based culture 

A recognition programme is an effective tool to reinforce a company’s values and desired employee behaviours; it gives you the opportunity to showcase employees truly living your values by recognising their contributions and sharing their success widely within the organisation. It is a vehicle for uncovering values-led stories and motivating employees around these stories. Recognition programmes in effect ‘coach’ employees encouraging positive behaviours. And by aligning Recognition programmes to values, companies are able to track and measure recognition and determine ROI.

Drive customer service, productivity and performance

…and if your employees are living and breathing your values they are more likely to be performing to a high level, delivering upon your customer promise and ensuring an optimum customer experience.

… and if your customers receive an optimum customer experience, they are more likely to spend more money and become more loyal to your brand (and even become brand advocates).

Drive attraction and retention of talent

Employee success stories identified through the Recognition programme can be used to attract talent to the organisation and instil a sense of pride internally to fuel retention.


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Things to consider:

Sometimes it’s the little things that count…

Recognition programmes do not necessarily need to provide expensive incentives to motivate employees. Programmes with non-monetary recognitions or small nominal awards like vouchers are widely believed to subtly motivate employees by encouraging friendly competition, increasing employee’s self-esteem and in doing so increasing pride and loyalty. The importance of creating a thank-you culture cannot be under-estimated; sometimes it’s the little things that mean so much.

From ad hoc to integrated

Many company recognition programmes are established for good reasons e.g. improving the culture of an organisation. However, many organisations fail to integrate the various aspects of the programme with each other or with the business strategy and/or desired culture. The result is a failure to capture the full value of the Recognition programme and the existence of ad hoc recognition programmes within different departments, divisions, regions etc. Isn’t it better to have a single, consistent Recognition programme delivered throughout the business that is aligned to your business objectives whilst also focused upon the simple act of saying thanks? Companies are beginning to realise that a more strategic and integrated approach to recognition programmes can have greater business impact.


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From length of service to daily thanks

In the past, ‘Length of Service Awards’ were the main means of recognising contribution and whilst showing your appreciation to dedicated and loyal employees are important, people are increasingly seeking more frequent and ongoing recognition. Today’s employees are looking for daily reinforcement when they have made a positive impact to the company but they are not only seeking this recognition from Managers, sometimes the most powerful recognition can be from their peers.




Star spotting at Brakes

Playgroup has recently supported Brakes, a market leader in foodservice in the UK, to design and deliver a Recognition programme that spots and thanks the stars within the business.

Brakes sources and supplies a broad range of fresh, ambient, chilled and frozen foods through an extensive network of distribution hubs and satellite depots to over 200,000 customer sites every day. 

The Special Thanks and Recognition (STAR) Awards were designed to engender a sense of pride in the business and celebrate the everyday successes of Brakes people, those living and breathing the customer-centricity of the business, providing unrivalled customer service, going the extra mile, making an impact or doing something out of the ordinary. The star-spotting concept used a range of graphic starts to reinforce the point that everyone is different, everyone is unique and everyone at Brakes is a potential star.

Playgroup developed a wide range of communication materials, to support the launch of the STAR programme internally; to ensure all 7,500 employees excited and motivated to take part. The top 50 star nominees were put forward for an annual CEO Star Award and democratically voted by a People’s Choice Award with 2,500 employees casting their vote (a third of the workforce). The Star Awards culminates in an annual ceremony to showcase and celebrate success and each member of staff was given a bound notebook that contained the portraits and inspiring quotes from the 50 nominees.

Beyond giving employees the opportunity to be recognised by their managers and peers, the Star Awards have acted as a catalyst for new ways of working at Brakes, engaging people around their strategic objectives, core values and showcasing positive behaviours to all. A real win for Brakes, their people and ultimately their customers – heightened employee engagement, improved job performance and ultimately increased business value.

Now the star spotting starts again.


In summary, business leaders are increasingly seeing recognition as a means of driving business success:

…through encouraging positive behaviours that

…affect positive individual performance that

…ultimately results in positive customer experiences and

…have a positive impact on the bottom line.

So yes, it’s about thanking employees. But recognition can be so much more.


Read the full Brakes Case Study