Friday, January 13th 2023

Creating a Culture of Recognition

employee satisfaction software

The field of IO Psychology has exploded in recent years as companies look to find ways to improve the employee experience through the science of applied workplace psychology. One of the areas IO Psychologists have identified for focus is the value of formal public recognition in the workplace. Employee Recognition platforms are proliferating as low-cost ways to drive results, improve employee engagement, and should be one of the top HR technology solutions to look into in the New Year!

Why Focus On Employee Recognition?

Leaders in companies manage many different types of resources from physical resources like factories, financial resources like capital and human resources like employees, all of which must be managed to maximize the success of an organization. While people can be far more complex than other resources to manage, in some ways, employees are quite easy to understand. What do employees want? To be recognized for doing good work, putting in extra effort and driving toward company goals. Formally recognizing these efforts not only acknowledges, rewards and motivates an individual, but also shows other employees that the company truly values them and their contribution to the company’s success. Since employee recognition is such a motivating force, it is critical for companies to have a formal program around employee recognition and not leave it up to the discretion of individual leaders. Having an employee recognition program in place gives managers the tools they need to easily weave employee recognition into their management programs.

What Should Go Into an Employee Recognition Program?

There are four major aspects to an employee recognition program that you should consider when designing your program.

Make it Real: Don’t make employee recognition a participation trophy that everyone gets, make it a real recognition of something important to the company. Important things can be related to a big corporate initiative like cost saving, important company expectations like working longer hours during a critical business cycle or demonstrating cultural behavior like compassion or inclusivity that the company is looking to emphasize. 

Make it Public: Employees know when they have done a good job. An Employee Recognition program is about showing the employee that THE COMPANY sees that they have done a good job and wants everyone to know. Making it public in important communications emphasizes this both to the employee and the rest of the employees.

Make it Easy: Making it easy for managers means that instead of this being an additional workload item for them, it becomes a tool for them to improve the employee experience and maximize employee engagement. Give managers a few categories of recognition that match key corporate goals, several recognition levels to choose from and reminders on a regular cadence for recognizing their team members. 

Make it Meaningful: An Employee Recognition program is not a bonus or commission program, the biggest reward should always be from the public recognition given by the company to the employee. That being said, combining the recognition with small gifts, sentimental plaques, or small preferential company benefits can help represent to the employee the importance of the recognition.

How To Measure the Effect on Employee Morale?

Human Resources is quickly moving from an art form where professionals feel the results of their programs, to a science where they can now see real data that shows results, the return on investment of programs and impact of these programs over time. Putting scarce budget dollars and a fully loaded staff onto developing and running an Employee Recognition program does not make a lot of sense if you are not measuring employee morale to see if the investment you are making is working to improve the employee experience. Most companies can use their yearly employee engagement surveys to give them long-term feedback on progress and their pulse survey technology to sample certain specific points in time, but the latest trend in HR Tech is to implement always-on, passive listening technologies like TruPulse software to continuously provide feedback to leaders looking to understand how their employee morale is changing in real-time so they can keep their fingers on the pulse of the organization.


An effective Employee Recognition program can be a powerful tool for companies looking to improve the employee experience and increase retention rates. By going out of their way to publicly and formally acknowledge and reward the behavior and culture that contributes to a successful organization, companies can drive business results while also maximizing employee engagement.

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