How To Create A Culture of Recognition In Your Workplace

Published December 6, 2021
Last updated December 6, 2021

Workplace recognition is an important method of encouraging employee engagement. However, a National Employee Research Survey finds that while over 90% of respondents said employee recognition is important to them, 62% stated that they hardly ever or were never appreciated by their boss.

There are many ways of acknowledging an employee’s contributions to the company, other than a simple thank-you. Employee recognition includes any way in which a company praises accomplishments or good behaviour, points out milestones, or highlights team members that go that extra mile. If you want to nurture positive workplace culture, creating a recognition program is the way to go.

Why is recognition important?

Providing your employees with recognition and rewards can impact almost every aspect of your organisation for the better. There are numerous studies and surveys to back that up. Let’s talk about some of the details...

Higher retention rates

A Glassdoor Employee Appreciation Survey from 2013 found that 53% of respondents would consider staying longer in their role, if they received more appreciation from their boss. Meaning, the small act of saying “great job” can help you avoid all the expenses that come with hiring and training a new worker.

Think about it this way - if an employee is not receiving any praise for their work, at best, they feel overlooked. However, in the worst-case scenario, the only feedback they ever receive from their supervisor is when they’ve done something wrong. This can create a warped perception of reality, making them think they are not good at their job, and that they need to find a different one.

Increased motivation

The same Glassdoor survey also found that four in five employees are motivated to work more ​​diligently when their boss shows them appreciation. This statistic is not surprising, as praise makes your team members feel good.

In fact, praise can actually create a physical reaction which increases their dopamine. It’s the same boost people get from working out, or from receiving and giving hugs. If your employees want to sustain that feeling, or get another boost of dopamine, they’ll keep investing in their work, so they can earn additional words of appreciation.

Greater productivity and profitability

Research from Oxford University determines that happy workers are 13% more productive. This correlates directly to the previous point. If praise makes employees happy, they are subsequently more productive.

On the other end of this spectrum, Harvard University determines that happy employees result in happy customers. All of this combined, results in larger profit margins for your company, which only requires you making your employees feel valued.

Reduced employee stress

According to Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2021, 70% of agents report feeling overwhelmed. Work-related stress can not only lead to mental health problems, but can even result in poor physical wellbeing due to burnout. Coming up with new workplace recognition ideas will help reduce your staff’s worry about their performance. It can even support your customers as a result.

What are the types of recognition?

Different people have varying preferences when it comes to recognition. Some employees may need to be thanked on a regular basis, while others don’t mind waiting for a monthly review, as long as they can receive detailed feedback.

One size doesn’t fit all when you’re thinking of new reward and recognition ideas in the workplace. Instead, you have to understand what works best for each person, and build your strategy accordingly.

Here are the different ways of expressing your gratitude in the workplace:

1. Supervisor-to-employee appreciation

Receiving recognition by a direct supervisor is one of the best ways to motivate an employee. As we mentioned before, this makes people feel valued. But beyond that, it also provides employees with a feeling of job security. Moreover, it means that they have options for promotion, which in turn, will make them even more productive.

Recognition from a superior can come in the form of verbal apparition, a thank-you email, perks like extra time off, remote work, gift card, a bonus, training opportunities or even a pay raise, where appropriate.

2. Peer-to-peer recognition

While praise from a supervisor makes an employee feel secure, receiving recognition from a colleague can make them feel like they belong. Peer-to-peer recognition is a key element in creating positive company culture. It helps with team building and facilitates better collaborations. It can even support employee experience when working remotely.

Employees may take the initiative and thank each other when they see fit. However, it’s important that you also facilitate opportunities for them to do that. You can create a bulletin board, with pouches for each employee, where people can leave thank you notes to others anonymously. You can also have team members nominate others for employee of the month.

3. Company-wide or team-based acknowledgment

When a team hits their quarterly sales target, or when the entire company has handled a big transition - those are the times when you’d want to recognise a whole group of people, and with that emphasise the importance of teamwork.

Collective employee recognition ideas include making company swags for the team, organising an event like a night out, or a catered breakfast. Team-wide bonuses also show your employees you value them.

4. Social affirmation

Some employees may prefer to receive appreciation privately, as they don’t like to be the centre of attention. However, others may relish at the opportunity to be singled out in front of everyone. You can do that by creating a wall of fame for top employees, or showcasing your employee of the month on your company’s social media.

This method is sure to encourage other employees to invest in their work, but it can also boost your company’s reputation, and draw in new talent.

Ways to cultivate a culture of recognition

The trick to providing recognition that will actually make a difference is to make it consistent, as well as versatile. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when you design a long-lasting strategy for recognition:

  • Celebrate small and big achievements alike.
  • Show your appreciation in both small and big gestures.
  • Make sure you specify what it is that your employees did to deserve appreciation.
  • Give the recognition in a timely manner, so it comes across as authentic.
  • Showcase how individual good actions impact the entire company.
  • Make sure managers have easy avenues to reward employees.

Ensuring your employees feel valued on a regular basis is key in increasing their engagement. It is as important as investing in routing and intelligence or providing them with better work-life balance. An employee that feels valued is one of the biggest assets your company can have.