When was the last time you generously gave or received recognition in the workplace?   

Being genuinely appreciated is perhaps one of the sweetest sentiments we all cherish and anticipate. Be it through words, a positive gesture, a monetary reward, or a plaque; the experience brings utter joy, contentment, and pride.   

This could not be truer than in the workplace. Whether new or tenured, employees fondly remember and beam with pride for the moments they received recognition for a job well done. They consider this as a milestone in their career.   

A timely article from the Harvard Business Review says that positive reinforcement, such as rewards and recognition, motivates employees more than negative reinforcement, like punishments and sanctions. Giving employees the recognition they deserve inspires them to do even better. It also enhances the relationship between the employee and the employer.   

Why is Employee Recognition Important 

If employee recognition is extremely important, then every company must practice it. But unfortunately, this is not the case across many companies and organizations in the U.S.   

A survey conducted by Gallup revealed that only 1 out of 3 American employees feel that they received recognition for something good they accomplished in a week. That is only 33 percent of the surveyed population. Furthermore, most employees feel that their best efforts often go unnoticed. The survey also revealed that employees who feel routinely ignored despite consistently producing quality work output are twice as likely to quit the company.   

Indeed, this is a missed opportunity for many companies and organizations, considering many benefits of recognizing employees. Here are just five of the top benefits of employee recognition and why building a culture of recognition in the workplace is vital in retaining top talent and attracting new ones: 

1. Increased Productivity and Engagement 

An article in Psychology Today revealed that employee recognition is one of the top 3 factors that affect employee productivity and engagement, together with peer motivation and commitment to produce good results. It only shows that you are directly setting them up for even more success by recognizing them for a well-done job.    

2. Higher Employee Retention 

Creating a culture where employees are recognized for a job well done gives the impression that your organization is a great place to work. Perhaps, no employee or job candidate will not be magnetized to work and stay in a company where employees feel recognized. 

A culture of recognition also promotes employee satisfaction. When they are satisfied, employees tend to stay longer and refer other top candidates to work for the company. 

3. Enhanced Team Culture 

When was the last time you recognized your fellow team member at work for a job well done? In the study by Psychology Today, camaraderie or peer intervention took the top spot on what motivates employees to excel and do their best in the workplace.  

This result is enlightening because it not only shows that employee recognition must solely be between a superior and a subordinate but also peer-to-peer recognition. Vertical and horizontal employee recognition is equally important.  

4. Higher Potential to Attract Top Talent 

When your employees become company ambassadors themselves because of the organization’s stellar workplace culture, it also increases the chance for you to find new talents of the same caliber as your top-performing employees. That is why building a culture of employee recognition is such an excellent investment. 

5. Greater Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty 

By regularly recognizing your employees, especially the top-performing ones, you are also increasing their chances of bringing in more clients for your company and, therefore, more revenue. When employee engagement is high, and the company culture lends itself well for employees to become more productive, your customers and other stakeholders will feel the positive vibes.

Building a Culture of Recognition in the Workplace 

Now that you know the importance of employee recognition in the workplace, it is also important to realize that incorporating this into the company culture is not exactly a walk in the park. It is not just about encouraging a colleague or giving gift vouchers to your top-performing employees. It has to be institutionalized and become part of the company culture for everyone to benefit from it fully. 

Here are some solid steps to take for you to build a culture of recognition in the workplace and embrace it fully. 

1. Create Momentum and Consistency 

Manley Feinberg, renowned corporate speaker, and author, encourages employers and managers to create momentum and consistency in recognizing employees.  

Consistently highlight your employees’ accomplishments, from the minor feats up to the major feats. Then, make your reward system commensurate to the actual accomplishment–small rewards for small feats and big rewards for big achievements. 

2. Always Present the Big Picture and Stay Future-Oriented 

Omer Molad, CEO of Vervoe, a trusted recruiting software firm out of Melbourne, Australia, highlights the importance of understanding the company’s big picture, how employees can align their roles, and what they should deliver in connection with the big picture. 

When employees understand the big picture and commit to the work fully, they are more likely to produce excellent results. This will give them more opportunities to be recognized by the company and their colleagues. It is a symbiotic process. 

Also, understanding the big picture and being recognized for an excellent job are surefire reasons to stay longer in the company and resist the temptation of quitting even when the going gets tough. 

3. Ask for Feedback from Your Employees 

As managers, you need to know what kind of positive reinforcement works for your employees and what does not. Aside from monetary rewards, what other types of recognition work for most of them? Is it gift cards? Is it extended time off? Is it a formal celebration? Know what works best for the people you work with regularly. 

4. Make the Recognition as Public as Possible 

Give your employees more than just 15 minutes of fame. Make sure that everyone knows about their accomplishments and that everyone gets to celebrate them. Do not keep it just between you and your employee or colleague. It will also send a strong message to other employees on what kind of results or outputs are rewarded in your organization. 

5. Be Prompt on Recognition 

Recognize your employee at the appropriate time and do not delay it for an extended period. Postponing recognition also diminishes its positive impact not only on the employee to be recognized but also on the rest of your employees.   

Great managers must realize that you can never give too much recognition to your employees as long as the distinction is truly deserved. That is the beauty of meritocratic company culture. However, this also challenges your employees to do so much better. When you give back to your employees and duly recognize their efforts, you and your company stand to receive so much more in return.


Should you be a manager looking for top professionals or a job candidate looking to connect with a company that genuinely recognizes a job well done, consider amplifying your search via the Fox Search Group. We can connect you with top talent and employers with potentially good employee recognition programs looking for candidates to hire. Reach out to us now!