Employee Recognition: How to create a culture of recognition
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We all agree that employee recognition increase employee motivation, productivity and above all employee retention. If it is well implemented, employee recognition benefits both the employee and the company.

But what is employee recognition? How do we value recognition? What behaviors or achievements should we recognize?

What is employee recognition? 

Employee recognition is an act of publicly acknowledging your employees for who they’re and what they do. Its impact stems from a well-known behavioral principle: behavior which is rewarded will be repeated. 

 From an employee standpoint, employee recognition helps them understand their contributions to the company’s success. It helps employees feel appreciated for their work. 

On the other hand, companies will identify their key players or top talents. They will develop retention and recognition programs to remain competitive, encourage high performance, drive excellence and foster engagement.

Some employee recognition surveys (SHRM and IBM) reported that 68% of organizations with employee recognition program noticed a direct positive impact on retention.

They also stated that the number of employees with intention to leave doubled for employees who don’t receive recognition (51%) compared to those who do (25%). Don’t wait for your employees to want to leave. Take action now!

How do we value recognition?

There are different ways to value employee recognition.

Firstly, you have to encourage your managers, leaders and executives to pay attention to repeatable behaviors, specific accomplishment or business goals contributing to the company’s success. 

Secondly, you need to have a culture of praise and recognition that is almost immediate. Should they witness a successful action or behavior, they should praise it right away. Recognition that comes months after the fact isn’t that meaningful anymore. Implement a system so you can strike while the iron is hot.

Thirdly, while it’s important to recognize major goals, day-to-day recognition and thank you can motivate just as much (sometimes, even more).

In addition, adding tangible rewards such as gift cards, bonuses can have a significant impact and be really effective in the process. While non-monetary recognition is free thus can be done more often, monetary should remain in your minds as people have different triggers.

What behaviors or achievements should we recognize?

Clearly, you are already paying your employees to perform their duties and achieve their goals the best way possible. It wouldn’t be fair to reward them just for that. Nonetheless, some successful repeatable behaviors need to be recognized and most importantly encouraged and valued publicly. 

  • Achieving one’s goals in a timely manner
  • Heavily participating in projects not assigned by managers
  • Demonstrate excellence in terms of work quality
  • Positive customer reviews
  • Demonstrate real team spirit
  • Working extra hours for specific projects on a regular base 
  • Consistency 
  • Serving as a mentor to others
  • Start a philanthropic effort in the office
  • Years of service anniversary
  • Being a change ambassador
  • Going the extra mile
  • Learning new skills
  • Etc…

In conclusion

If you question yourself about whether to recognize or not a behavior, ask yourself if you would like your employees to replicate that behavior.

Not only does recognition make your employees feel good about themselves and the organization but it also provides an inspiring example for the others.

If you develop recognition programs, you’ll have, as a result, an outstanding culture that enables the employees and the company to thrive.

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