Personalization, Recognition Programs, and Creating an Inclusive Workplace


Before the pandemic, employees around the globe were expressing an increased preference for work-life balance. Across the board, they are more interested in learning and development options, as well as recognition. As the pandemic began to wind down, workplaces had already started evolving. Today’s employee desires a diverse and inclusive workplace, meaningful recognition programs, and a personal touch. Offering personalized programs to your employees can make you more attractive as an employer, but it can also present some challenges, especially when it comes to scaling the program. Here are some fresh ideas and inspiration to help you deliver personalized recognition programs at scale.

Tips for Employers Who Desire to Create Personalized Employee Experiences

With so many workers becoming remote employees due to the pandemic, the idea of personalization becomes even more relevant. As the workplace transitions, it’s becoming clearer that employees have diverse life circumstances, physical conditions, and responsibilities while working remotely. Employers have their own challenges when crafting personalized experiences for employees. Today’s remote workplace makes it difficult for employers who want to ensure employees are happy and fulfilled with their jobs. There are two key factors to keep in mind when creating personalized employee programs.

  1. Flexibility. You’ll need to accommodate unique and changing personal responsibilities and needs.
  2. Choice. Creating a meaningful employee experience requires relevancy to individual and career goals.

Program Ideas For Delivering Personalized Experiences as Scale

Delivering personalized experiences at scale is more difficult today than it has ever been. But it’s still doable. There are tons of categories and ideas, but here are some of the top ideas to help create personalized employee recognition programs and great experiences for your employees.

Learning and Development

Across the board, HR leaders are facing reduced budgets for L&D (Learning and Development). It’s tempting to hit pause on these types of programs. Instead of looking at terminating them, get a little more creative. Instead of using third-party vendors, ask your own company leaders to share their expertise and experience. Current leaders can help build resource libraries for your organization. Using an in-house resource such as this can create a great response from your employees. An additional benefit is that they can customize the content to reflect the company’s culture, values, and priorities. Additionally, other employees can be given an opportunity to share or teach about topics they are knowledgeable or passionate about. They may be able to share their expertise in fitness, self-care, mindfulness, or the history of Pride. These types of opportunities help people rise to the challenge while carving out their own identity within the organization. Next, let’s take a look at some ideas for strengthening your L&D programs.

  • Keep it Short. When L&D programs were conducted in person, it was easy to host a 2-hour session. Since most resources have gone virtual, that may seem overwhelming on a video call. Consider dividing L&D programs into shorter batches, so they are more engaging and digestible for your workforce.
  • Be Flexible. Sometimes, you’ll have a better response if you make L&D programs optional. Employees will be more engaged if they can opt-in to programs that personally interest them rather than being forced to participate in every event.

Community Building and Social Activities

Whether your employees work in the office or at home, there are many ways to create social activities that are personalized and inclusive. Allow a variety of ways for your employees to build relationships. One example might be hosting team-building events that occur on the same day. Each individual can choose the experiences they prefer and the ones that are the most meaningful to them. This provides an opportunity for employees to bond with others that share interests. Here are a couple of tips for strengthening social programs.

  • Increased Accessibility. It’s more important than ever to be mindful of time zones and the hours that might work best for them. Be realistic and realize that it’s not always possible to make it work for every single person.  Be sure to record events in case others who may not have been able to attend can catch up later.
  • Remember Core Values. Strengthen your social programs by tying them back into your company’s values.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

DEI or Diversity, equity, and inclusion programs provide an opportunity for personalization by creating a safe space for employees. Sometimes individuals need conversation, resources, or plain conversation about life’s challenges and anxieties. A strong DEI program will complement inclusion efforts and create personalized opportunities across the board, from implementing diverse hiring practices to skills training. Here are a couple of tips for strengthening a DEI program.

  • Embrace Creativity. There are many ways to encourage diversity across your organization. Hosting potlucks to celebrate diverse nationalities and cuisines is just one idea. Use décor from a wide range of cultures to help broaden employees’ perspectives and inspire conversations. Consider supporting small businesses or minority organizations as a team.
  • Use Available Resources. There are numerous DEI resources available today. Educational tools include bias training, sensitivity training, inclusivity, and many others. Most are designed for in-person or virtual settings.

Employee Recognition Reward Programs

It’s more important than ever to make sure your employees feel appreciated. A cookie-cutter or one-size-fits-all program won’t cut it in today’s climate. Consider taking a more personal approach. Consider your unique company culture and values when creating an employee recognition program. It’s essential that it be relevant to your company’s core values and your employees too. Here are some tips for strengthening your recognition program.

  • Give Employees Choices. Choice is key when it comes to recognition. Many corporate awards include meaningful trophies or plaques. You may also want to include other awards for employees too. For instance, consider giving choices for star employees, such as a museum, zoo, or concert tickets. Virtual gift cards are a great treat to go with a fancy award.
  • Get Employee Feedback. One of the biggest benefits of creating a personalized recognition program for employees is being able to collect feedback. Collect ideas and stories and use them to build program awareness.

Today it is critical that employers demonstrate they care about their employees’ personal needs and desires.

Let Suburban Custom Awards Help!

Whether you need more ideas for your employee recognition program, trophy ideas, or the right words to engrave on awards, Suburban Custom Awards is here to help. We’ve been helping employers honor employees for many years, so we have the expertise and experience to help you make your program a huge hit! Call us today.