Building an Employee Recognition Program for International Teams 

Date: February 16, 2022
international companies

Building an employee recognition and rewards program has proven to be one of the most valuable and effective ways to create a rewarding work environment and help develop a strong culture of connection. But getting there isn’t a walk in the park — building a company-wide employee recognition program and choosing company rewards can be quite tricky since you need them to work for everyone. It gets even more challenging when you have to cater to a multi-generational workforce, or to a global team. You’ll quickly find that not one size fits all when it comes to how employees working out of Brazil, Lebanon, and Germany prefer to be thanked and rewarded. In this post, we’ll share a few things to keep in mind when you’re building an employee recognition program and selecting company rewards for an international team so that you can be sure your workforce feels valued, wherever they’re working from. 

1. Proactively consider cultural preferences by offering a choice of rewards 

When it comes to rewarding your global workforce, many different factors come into play that affect how people want to be rewarded. Don’t make the mistake of assuming all your staff will be thrilled about scoring an Amazon gift card after they complete a big project!

Family-oriented cultures like those of the Middle East might be more keen to be rewarded with unique experiences they can bring family members along for. Employees living in cities with high costs of living like Vancouver or San Francisco might appreciate monetary rewards that can help relieve financial stress on rent or be used as additional pocket money towards things like entertainment. Staff members living in countries like Norway that have only two stat holidays a year might want nothing more than to be rewarded with a bonus day off. To make sure that there’s something for everyone, you need to make sure you’re offering a choice of rewards so that no one’s personal needs or interests get overlooked. If you’re not sure where to get started, rewards and recognition software like Bucketlist already come populated with lists of potential rewards you can offer to your workforce. Once your staff are connected to the platform, they can choose the rewards that best appeal to them.  

company rewards

Another tip — it’s a good idea to partner with local suppliers in the locations where your staff are based, this can take the form of gift cards to local retailers and restaurants, for example. By partnering with local suppliers, you can rest assured that you’re offering rewards that are actually popular and in-demand wherever your staff are based.

2. Invest in a company-wide platform that increases visibility of recognition 

Our biggest piece of advice when it comes to building recognition programs for global teams is to make matters easy for yourself by getting your workforce on one centralized recognition platform. 

company rewards

It’s quite normal for organizational silos to develop, particularly in large companies. These silos are even more common and tricky when teams are based in different offices and different time zones. As a result, a staff member who works in the marketing team out of your New York office might never get to see their peers in Japan have a great day on the job. And when teams do celebrate special wins in one office, it’s too easy for other offices to miss out on the celebrations. 

By having your team connected over one company-wide platform, you can be sure to maximize the visibility of recognition and make sure that no one’s efforts go unnoticed based on their location or time zone. Employee rewards and recognition software are purpose-built to help bridge these gaps and streamline giving recognition. Most of them come supported by a list of languages and integrate with other popular company communication tools like Slack, helping managers post real-time updates, kudos, and celebrations when their teams are succeeding for all to chime in on. Instituting this type of platform can help your company community feel much closer as a whole and build a stronger sense of belonging. 

3. Build a strong sense of belonging by encouraging peer-to-peer recognition 

Having your team spread out over multiple locations all over the world means there can often be delays in managers recognizing their team members. Rather than relying entirely on managers and senior leadership to dish out recognition, start building a culture of equal recognition through peer recognition, where any staff member can praise another for their successes. 

company rewards, employee recognition program

Peer recognition really works too — a report on employee recognition by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) found that of the 29% of HR professionals whose organizations use peer feedback, 89% reported it having a very positive or somewhat positive impact on their organization. 

Another benefit to turning to employee rewards and recognition platforms is that these platforms are perfectly set up to encourage and support peer-to-peer recognition across office locations. A staff member in Hawaii can easily thank a staff member on their team in the Dubai office for helping them out with a project, tagging them in the dashboard for the rest of the global team to see. 

Building a recognition and rewards program for a global team certainly comes with its own challenges, but many of which can be navigated with a centralized rewards program and well-thought-out company rewards that work for everyone. 

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