Improve Sales and Retention with Employee Recognition and Rewards

Dave Cherrie
January 24, 2022

2021 saw one of the most profound mass employee resignations in U.S. history. In fact, approximately 41% of the working population intends to leave the workforce in 2022. And while the mass resignation not only affects the entry-level positions, stretching across tenured and management positions, it doesn’t have to negatively impact your business’s bottom line or staff roster. 

There are steps companies across the board can take that will stop the next mass migration from happening in their ranks. If appropriate actions are taken soon enough, it could result in not only a strengthening within your workforce, but it could also bring about a renaissance, so to speak, creating a renewed sense of purpose among your employees and management. This can be done through a series of Recognition & Rewards Programs.

How Recognition Helps Employee Retention & Sales Performance

Recognition on its own merits may not seem to be something that can improve employee retention rates. However, it is one of the most powerful tools management can employ in order to make a team member, entry-level and beyond, remain a full-time (and productive) employee with your company. 

First off, never underestimate the power of being recognized when you do something exceptional, when you put in extra hours or effort, or when you solve a problem that could have otherwise resulted in stunted production values.

According to Saviom, “Your employees need to feel valued so that they’re motivated to keep up the excellent work. Maintaining a healthy relationship with your employees is necessary to build a sustainable organization. Mutual respect between employers and employees creates better working relationships in the long run and contributes to improving overall productivity. An excellent way to encourage this is through rewards and recognition of their efforts at regular intervals.”

Everyone, from the time we were children, looks for praise and recognition when we complete a task successfully, did something creative, or feel like we did something good. This want for recognition never stopped. In fact, the lack of recognition often results in quitting a job, ending a relationship, or feeling despondent in familial and social structures.

According to Great Place to Work, “From a very early age, we crave recognition from parents, teachers, and friends. So strong is our desire for positive affirmation, particularly during developmental periods, that we can even perceive a neutral reaction as a negative one. This continues to hold true as we move into the employee survey included the question, "What is the most important thing that your manager or company currently does that would cause you to produce great work?" Respondents answered in their own words, providing a variety of responses, but a clear pattern emerged. 37% of respondents said that more personal recognition would encourage them to produce better work more often.”

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The top types of recognition, according to a survey, are receiving some form of open recognition that can be seen by peers and/or customers, the acknowledgment of good work and performance in the form of an award or commendation, and recognition in private from a manager, a coworker, or a customer.

As you can see, monetary rewards, while can be extremely valuable as part of a greater employee Reward Program, are not essential when it comes to simply recognizing when an employee does something good.

The solution to waning retention rates is employee recognition programs. According to Gallup, “Workplace recognition motivates, provides a sense of accomplishment and makes employees feel valued for their work. Recognition not only boosts individual employee engagement, but it also has been found to increase productivity and loyalty to the company, leading to higher retention.”

Additionally, according to Forbes, “Appreciative Leaders Are Appreciated Leaders...Unsurprisingly, nearly 90 percent of employees who received recognition or thanks from their boss in the past month indicated higher levels of trust in that boss. Among employees who received no recognition, only 48 percent indicated they trusted their higher-ups.”

According to Quantum Workplace, some of the benefits to employee recognition are:

  • “Increased productivity and engagement.
  • Decreased employee turnover.
  • Greater employee satisfaction and enjoyment of work.
  • Improved team culture.
  • Higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers.
  • Increased retention of quality employees.
  • Decreased stress and absenteeism.”

But the benefits of employee recognition do not end there. In fact, the effort placed in employee motivation returns to upper management and the overall success of the company manifold. According to Quantum Workplace, “Organizations with formal recognition programs have 31% less voluntary turnover than organizations that don't have any program at all. And they're 12x more likely to have strong business outcomes.”

These positive outcomes also extend to sales performance.

While sales performance is influenced and affected by a number of variables, employee recognition is proven to be a primary factor. According to Vantage Circle, “As found by SHRM, the companies with employee recognition as their part witnessed 63% increase in employee productivity compared to others...also found that recognition programs helped companies increase their profit margin by 58%.”

These numbers clearly demonstrate the viability and importance of employee recognition when it comes to employee retention and sales performance. However, the implementation of recognition should also be followed up with a strong rewards program. Together, they are known as Reward & Recognition Programs. 

Rewards & Recognition Programs and Why They Work

Recognition on its own can be a powerful tool to motivate employees, increase productivity and workplace satisfaction, and even increase sales performance. But when a recognition program is combined with a rewards program, the reward simply fulfills and validates the recognition, thus, amplifying its meaning and effects.

First, when it comes to recognition, there are two primary avenues. One is unstructured. This is the most basic form of recognition. A “pat on the back” so to speak. Simply saying, “Great work!” giving a smile, and letting the employee feel good about himself or herself. Having another manager or higher up also walk up to tell them they are appreciated and their hard work is not going unnoticed. Unstructured recognition is not ceremonial or formal.Examples of Unstructured Recognition

Gamification: Gamified recognition is a form of appreciation through digital recognition tools. Employees can be awarded virtual badges, trophies, or points by managers.

Internal memos or newsletters: Showcasing an employee's professional and personal achievements creates an attachment between coworkers and management. This develops comradery and personal investment into one another’s lives.

Congratulations: Recognizing something a coworker or employee did can be done at any time. This positive behavior should also be encouraged of others, so that staff of every level is aware. Saying, “Great job!” should be a saying that is commonplace among both management and lower-level employees.

Celebrations: Management can celebrate important life events with employees such as birthdays, weddings and engagements, and more. Doing this can lead to a more personal investment with employees.

Surprise Announcements: A surprise announcement is one of the more endearing ways to recognize somebody for their efforts. It can be done over an intercom or in-person with a group of managers and peers. Simply approaching the employee with a cake, gift card, or another form of congratulatory sentiment will boost the morale of the employee along with everyone who sees the mini-event.

Examples of Structured Recognition & Rewards Programs

The second is structured Recognition & Rewards Programs. Structured Recognition & Reward Programs are traditionally more ceremonial or formal. They are expected ceremonies and usually, all employees are present when they take place. Examples are:

Employee of the Month: Employee of the Month is typically an announcement to all that a particular employee is receiving this honor due to their exceptional work and dedication to the company.

Awards Assembly: An Awards Assembly is when all employees gather for a short time to recognize the performance of a select number of employees and even management. They receive a physical award such as a plaque, a gift card, or some form of physical reward.

Points & Bonuses: When it comes to monetary rewards, points and bonuses are traditionally very effective. This is when management implements a points system where milestones can be met and points are granted. Once a certain number of points are earned, a monetary bonus is then awarded. This is also extremely effective on a scaling platform where bonuses increase based on point merit.

Implementation of Recognition & Rewards Programs

Implementing Recognition & Rewards Programs are sometimes erroneously perceived as expensive, hard to begin, or difficult to manage.

It is this thinking that has stopped companies around the world from taking the first steps to showing the simple appreciation for the work their employees do, that should be commonplace among all workforces. This is not to say that a large proportion of businesses aren’t implementing Employee Recognition & Reward Programs. 

In fact, according to Benefits Pro, “Eighty-five percent of employers offer formal recognition for employees who have served for a particular amount of time, while 77 percent have programs set up to reward high-quality work. Around half of companies say they also use such programs to encourage specific behavior.”

However, this leaves a high number of startups that do not immediately implement these types of programs. It also means that approximately 15% of current large businesses do not have these programs installed. 


The most predominant reason is budget. It is incorrectly believed that Recognition & Rewards Programs are expensive, when in fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

According to Next Level Performance, “Milestone (Years of Service) programs in which employees are recognized on service anniversaries such as 5, 10, 15 and up to 40 years, will typically cost about $45 per employee annually. Manager Spot Awards, Peer Recognition, and “Living the Values” programs cost in the range of $15 - $65 per employee annually.”

With a high-level Recognition & Rewards Program, you have everything to gain and virtually nothing to lose. In fact, utilizing certain tools, such as Gamification, can teach, train, and provide Recognition and Rewards. This will catapult your business to the forefront, instead of lagging behind your competitors.

How Arcade Can Help

First, what is Gamification? Gamification is the most effective way to improve performance engagement in the workplace. Gamification solutions such as Arcade offer companies just like yours the opportunity to keep your employees engaged during tasks that may lead to increased turnover, job dissatisfaction, and instead, keep them feeling fulfilled.

Using a solution like Arcade for your Recognition & Rewards Programs provides unprecedented benefits. Let’s face it, gaming is the wave of the future. Repurposing and implementing video games as a way to train management in Recognition, as well as, offering virtual rewards, planning celebrations, and ending the monotony of repetitive tasks, will keep you lightyears ahead of your competition. 

When Gamification is implemented, the recognition they receive alone will boost their own personal job satisfaction, creating a better workplace for themselves and their coworkers, boosting the retention of your best and most dedicated employees. By taking advantage of our Gamification Solutions, you will effectively create inspiration for your employees at work,  motivating each and every one of them to deliver the best experience for your customers. Enhance the culture of your workplace, earning loyalty and appreciation for your staff - from entry-level recruits to upper management; our solutions are never limited.

We invite you to learn how 10,000+ teams are benefiting from our solutions by requesting a demo today.

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