7 reasons why you need a recognition culture (and how to create one)

5 min readDec 12, 2022

Our people are human. And humans have needs. Some of these fundamental human requirements show up at the workplace and live in the top tiers of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and come in the form of self-esteem and actualization. A job isn’t responsible for fulfilling all these needs, but let’s be honest — given that the average person spends one-third of their life at work, it is to an extent.

How do you create a work environment where your people feel happy and fulfilled? It starts with creating a space where your people feel appreciated and recognized.

The importance of employee recognition

Creating a culture of recognition can save your organization from high turnover costs. Gallup’s studies have found that voluntary employee turnover can cost organizations in the US up to $1 trillion a year. Yet only 23% of employees believe that they receive the right amount of recognition for the work they do.

It goes without saying that your people are your most important asset. They make critical decisions on a daily basis that shape your business. And how you as an organization treat your people, and how your people treat others, plays a key role in your success. It’s a chain reaction.

To have high-performing teams, employee engagement is vital. A simple act of recognition and appreciation is often all it takes. Employees that receive recognition are :

  1. 73% less likely to “always” or “very often” feel burned out
  2. 56% less likely to be looking or watching for job opportunities
  3. 44% more likely to be thriving in their life overall
  4. 5 times as likely to feel connected to their company culture
  5. 4 times more likely to be engaged
  6. 5 times as likely to see a path to grow at their organization
  7. And 4 times more likely to recommend their organization to family and friends

The bottom line is that creating an environment that fosters recognition helps with employee retention, productivity, and innovation. Employees that feel valued at work are automatically more engaged, committed, and motivated to go above and beyond to help their organization succeed.

How to create a recognition culture

Creating a culture of recognition doesn’t have to be difficult. But creating a formal “program” isn’t going to do the trick. So no, you don’t need a complex system to execute it.

A culture of recognition is an environment where gratitude and praise are openly shared and received by leadership, managers, and peers alike. Make everyone feel empowered to acknowledge and appreciate the skillset others bring to the table, celebrate efforts, and a job well done. It isn’t a one-way street; giving recognition is just as important as receiving it.

But it’s key that leadership and HR walk the walk. By doing so, everyone will be assured that your company takes recognition seriously. It’ll also create a domino effect; encouraging frequent and open peer-to-peer recognition.

How should you recognize people?

Recognition comes in all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t only need to be given to an individual, it can even be provided to a group of people ie. a team, a squad, tiger team, etc.

While many may associate recognition with monetary benefits, ie. a raise, bonuses, gift vouchers, company perks, etc., it also comes in many different forms. These can include verbal or written praises. Or it can be as simple as a “Thank you”.

When should you recognize someone for their work?

There’s no formula set in stone — if you see someone doing a good job, behaving in line with values, or doing anything that you feel is worth communicating to the person or sharing with others, the answer is: just do it.

While the mode of recognition and praise may vary from company to company, or even per individual, there are some standard things you can incorporate into your recognition program.

  • Are people aligned and behaving according to your company values? Call it out.
  • Are their achievements impacting your company’s goals and strategy? Give them a shoutout!
  • Is someone doing a great job at the little unseen, mundane tasks? Make sure their efforts are seen.
  • Did someone help you with a project? Say thank you.

It’s really the little things that go a long way.

How should you share Kudos?

Keep your eye out for good work. Make sure to integrate giving praise into your daily flows. That could mean sending someone a short message, bringing up their achievements or success in your 1:1s, Performance Reviews, or even in a company All-Hands meeting.

In Perdoo we’ve made it easy for you to quickly and transparently share Kudos with your peers. You can “Give Kudos” from within your weekly Check-in form, via a colleague’s or your own profile page, or directly from Home.

Want to centralize shared recognition? Create a Slack channel dedicated to Kudos and we’ll make sure to help you openly celebrate the hard work of your peers.

Once you’ve mastered being aware of those around you and bringing up what’s important to each one of your people, you’ll have created a culture of recognition. Everyone will know that leadership and managers value people as their most important resource. They’ll know that the work they do, and the impact they have on the company’s success will be seen and recognized. As Richard Branson of The Virgin Group said, “Take care of our employees, and they’ll take care of your business.” Guaranteed.

A few things you should bear in mind

We know by now that there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for employee recognition. But to create a continuous environment where your people feel cared for and can be and do their best, here’s what you should keep in mind. When recognizing people:

Be personal

Staying in the loop and conscious of the work others are putting in can be difficult. But this is the only way to truly indicate that you care. So make sure to tie your praise to something that resonates closely with the person or group ie. a specific accomplishment or a business goal that’s been met. Describing what and how their work has impacted an outcome is important. It’ll inspire them to continue their good performance.

Be timely

Timing is key. Receiving praise weeks or months later isn’t as meaningful as praise received right away. Being punctual with acknowledging someone’s hard work will show the employee that it’s authentic.

Be genuine

Frequent recognition is important. Most people want to be recognized at least a few times a month, and this is still on the lower side. have found that there’s no such thing as too much recognition.

At the same time that might be tempting to praise others at the drop of a hat. But remember, empty words are almost as good as none. So make sure when you’re recognizing someone that it’s genuine praise tied to something personal.

Originally published at https://www.perdoo.com on December 12, 2022.




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