4 things everyone with a good low-budget recognition scheme did

Making recognition a part of your company’s culture has plenty of benefits. We’ve been on our soapbox about that for two years now, at least, so we’re spare you another lecture. One of the great things about recognition is that you don’t really need a big budget to get started.

To get started, all you need is energy, time, and the will to make sure your employees’ best achievements are highlighted.

We’ve talked before at some length about how you can pull off useful employee recognition schemes without a budget. You can hop over to our main blog for more details on that.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the other fundamentals you need to incorporate into employee recognition even when you don’t have a budget for platforms and rewards. Everyone that pulled off a good recognition scheme did these four things.


Planning isn’t the most exciting part of doing anything, even recognition, but it is one of the most important.

You need to have answers to questions like:

  • Which mediums are the best to reach your audience?
  • What kind of behaviour do you value, which behaviours will you recognise?
  • What kind of language do you want to use in your recognition?
  • What are you trying to achieve with your recognition scheme?

Recognition is always a great idea, but having some structure and forethought makes your company much more likely to enjoy its benefits.


Tell your employees what you’re planning, and why you believe in it. Explain why you see recognition as important, and why you’re giving it a place in your company. Then back that message up when you launch your scheme.

This is especially important a peer-to-peer, or social, recognition scheme in your company. When you’re depending on your employees being involved to make a scheme work, they have to be emotionally invested.

That means open, consistent communication about your choice to install recognition as a part of your company culture.

Embrace values

If your company doesn’t already have values, you’ve got to get some. How your employees behave, treat each other and approach their work are all informed by your company values.

What’s important to you, important to your suppliers and customers, needs to be reflected in the way your company approaches its work.

By making sure values drive recognition, you make sure you only reward and encourage positive behaviour that uplifts your business.

Execute with consistency

Once you start, you have to keep going and be consistent with your approach.

Consistency gives users confidence in what you’re doing, and it shows that you’re invested in your ideas. In turn, this makes it easier for employees to invest themselves in your ideas.

One of the single most destructive things management can do for their own initiatives is fail to take ownership and stay involved in them. It immediately devalues the idea in the eyes of your staff, letting them think, “If it’s so important and effective, they would be taking part as well.”

Participate enthusiastically and consistently in anything you launch. As a leader figure, your engagement is an endorsement of your own ideas.

Over to you

If you can make this work, you’ll have a much easier time transitioning to software-driven recognition system in the future. Which, incidentally, can be very affordable for SME’s with the right system.