How to boost employee retention with rewards and recognition gamification

With employee retention on the minds of HR leaders everywhere, it’s more important than ever that loyal employees are rewarded and recognized for their contributions. Find out how to create a culture of appreciation in a workplace where physical high-fives are a thing of the past.

Arcade basketball game

Recognize employees to reduce employee turnover

The past year saw a record number of resignations, as millions of workers in the UK and USA quit their jobs due to burnout and unhappiness in their roles – and it's still not showing any signs of slowing down ( Now more than ever, HR leaders are under pressure to nurture workplace culture and engagement to ensure employees are invested in their roles and the business's vision.

There is a clear relationship between employee rewards and recognition, and employee retention. According to research, 44% of employees switch jobs because of not getting adequate recognition for their efforts (, and 67% of employees said that better rewards would encourage them to stay at a job longer (

HR leaders agree on the importance of employee recognition, with 83% saying it plays an important role in strengthening organizational values ( But with teams more spread out than ever before, saying thanks doesn't always come naturally. 

In the new era of flexible work, one of the ways progressive HR leaders can look to counter mass resignations and boost culture is by investing in digital rewards and recognition. Now is the time to consider new ways of reinstating a culture of appreciation, and luckily the digital world has a lot to offer.

Reward and Recognition Software

Celebrate your people and encourage them to do the same with peer-to-peer recognition features that let no good deed go unnoticed and spark friendly competition.

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Creating employee retention strategies

When it comes to encouraging employee retention, a strong culture is your greatest asset. Employee retention is influenced by a range of factors, so you need a fine-tuned strategy to properly address it. It's not enough to solely rely on salary and benefits. Each employee's needs and wants are unique, so it's important to implement a strategy that will ensure happiness across the whole organization - not just for a select few. 

To do this, your focus needs to expand further than just office perks. According to Gallup, top performers need to know their efforts are recognized and valued, and employee recognition isn't one-size-fits-all. Recognition goes a long way when it comes to retention, and should be a number one priority when creating your strategy. Think about your company's brand, culture and purpose, and align your recognition strategy to reinforce these values. Be creative when it comes to recognizing employees, and think about how you can weave recognition into the daily grind to make it part and parcel of your company culture.

Rewards and recognition to boost morale and engagement

Recognition can be shown in various ways, whether it’s monetary or through public acknowledgement of an employee’s efforts. However, research by Glassdoor found that this second way is actually often the most effective – with 80% of employees saying they would be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss and 70% saying they’d feel better about themselves and their efforts if their boss thanked them more regularly.

A simple thank you can go a long way. This is especially important with the introduction of Gen-Z to the workplace, who are known to prefer work that’s meaningful and aligns with their values – money is no longer the sole driver of employee happiness. But in today's workplace, the ability to say thanks to your colleagues takes more of a concerted effort - and as a result we're losing valuable opportunities to stimulate the comradery that's such an important part of the employee experience.

'Love’s: Leveraging digital technology to foster an inclusive culture' case study flat pages

Case Study

Love's reward and recognition case study

With more than 30k employees across the United States, The Love’s Family of Companies needed a way to connect team members on the road, at their desks, and working on the shop floors. By debuting a new, mobile-optimized employee experience platform, the enterprise created a digital headquarters that has proven engaging and accessible for all.

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Gamification in the workplace

Gamification in the workplace centers around the use of gaming and competitive techniques to inspire engagement and put recognition back on the agenda. With 72% of employees claiming gamification inspires them to work harder (, it has fast become a different and exciting way for employers to encourage recognition in the workplace, igniting the spark of friendly competition and increasing motivation to do well. In the workplace, it's easy to tap into the competitive spirit and incentivize employees to be engaged and productive, and when done correctly, can help to power a positive and collaborative employee experience. 

Gamification Software

Workplace gamification shares key components with its arcade cousins. The same urge that has you flinging birds with a slingshot or popping animated bubbles can be used to engage employees at work. Say hello to digital workplace gamification.

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4 ways to use reward and recognition to increase employee retention

So how do you reprioritize recognition in a workplace where facetime is at a premium?

To solve this problem, enterprises are turning to intranet technology to unite employees around a culture of appreciation and put rewards and recognition back on the map.

#1. Peer-to-peer recognition through kudos

In the office, employees are used to giving others a thanks, handshake, or even a high five for helping them or putting in the extra effort. But in a remote work setting it's easy to overlook the little gestures that make teamwork effective. We know that peer-to-peer recognition increases the probability of a constructive team by 2.5x (, so finding new ways to enable colleagues to say thanks to each other is an important part of preserving a healthy culture.

A modern employee experience platform, the contemporary iteration of the company intranet, is the perfect place to start. The holistic nature of an employee experience platform means it offers in-built ways for employees to say thanks from afar.

Kudos makes it easy for employees to show their gratitude when a colleague steps in to help, with the added benefit that the 'thanks' remains visible to the wider workforce. In this way organizations can start to turn a simple gesture into an impactful cultural initiative that not only strengthens bonds between colleagues but improves morale across the business. Celebrating the small victories will eventually lead to bigger wins, as employees stay motivated, happy, and engaged.

Awarding kudos points to an employee on a mobile

#2. Encourage friendly competition with gamification

Implementing leaderboards that spotlight top performers based on peer perceptions makes for friendly competition and encourages employee productivity. Other instances where gamification can prove effective include rewarding specific actions. For example, you want employees to complete a form or fill out their profile details - use gamified rewards to monitor progress or reward completion. A common use case for this form of gamification can be found in ‘completeness gauges’, often found on user profiles or training sites. These simple gauges are a good way of tracking task progress but also tend to encourage the completion of activities.

Homepage takover to recongize badge winners on mobile

#3. Enable top-down recognition with badges

Top-down recognition is hugely important for employee happiness, with Gallup’s research finding that 24% of employees say that their most memorable recognition came from the CEO. Badges are usually reserved for particularly special achievements, for example when an employee completes a training course or achieves a notable milestone in their career. Badges display on employee profiles and help to build up a digital identity that represents an employee's career achievements. Another great use case for badges that is becoming more popular is leadership awards.

Rewarding badges for things such as celebrating career milestones, spotlighting employees that embody company values, and acknowledging significant contributions help to set the standard for excellence that leadership expects helps to set the tone for the culture you're trying to nurture. HR teams can use badges to drive top-down recognition strategies that empower leadership to express appreciation and keep teams across the workforce inspired.

Unily user profile showing badges rollup on mobile

#4. Use social tools to shout about wins

When used correctly, your intranet’s social sites will become a place thriving with employee communication, goodwill, and positive posts. HR leaders should be encouraging teams to shout about any wins and sharing employees who are embodying your brands’ values.

Familiar interaction tools such as @mentions and #hashtags make it easy to give someone a shout-out and share this praise throughout your enterprise. Colleagues will have the opportunity to weigh in and congratulate their peers directly on the platform, paving the way for maximum collaboration and knowledge sharing while also encouraging a culture of recognition.

Kudos awards on a social feed on mobile

Beat staff turnover with a culture of appreciation

Technology can be a huge asset when pulling together an employee retention strategy and will help overall to create a culture of belonging, appreciation, and recognition that employees will value and strive to stay a part of. If your goal is to authentically put the focus back on company culture, employee retention will naturally occur.

Boost reward, recognition, and appreciation in the workplace with an intranet

Make sure employees know their value by taking your rewards and recognition initiatives to the next level. The digital workplace is now where employees go to connect and stay informed, and has become the ideal environment to launch a gamified recognition approach. If you are interested in seeing how a world-class employee experience platform can help you boost recognition and fuel workplace culture, get started with a free demo today.

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Turbocharge employee retention with a game changing rewards and recognition strategy.

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