How to Create a Culture of Recognition in the Workplace: 5 Best Practices

Jul 07, 2021 · Blog

Have you ever finished a task or job that you are super proud of? Didn't get any thanks? It sucks doesn't it?! The need to feel appreciated is a human need that many of us seek from a young age. Am I right, or am I right?!

We’re taught to crave attention from parents, teachers and friends.

It confirms that our work and our presence is valued by others and gives a sense of security and belonging. Employees respond to appreciation in the same way, so more and more successful businesses have come to realise that gratitude in the workplace is absolutely vital.

Can I get a hell yeh!!! Finally some thanks!  

What is employee recognition?

Employee recognition is the act of acknowledging your staff for their effort and business achievements in order to encourage, support and value their work within a team. Employee recognition has been recognised as one of the most important factors in driving workplace engagement, productivity and employee retention. But yet, we still seem to be a little shy in expressing our thanks!

When a company starts to recognise its employees, it will lead to increased employee morale and lower turnover. Who doesn't want that!

Why is employee recognition important?

Recognising the hard work of employees through their salaries and the occasional bonus is obviously going to make them feel good, but for them to feel valued it’s vital that their work also gets recognition. If your a business owner or leader in charge of a team who need some recognition, the good news, for you - it doesn't take much to do this!

The importance of employee recognition is in the data that has proved time and time again that appreciation and recognition are integral to creating a positive work experience. Based on a study of more than 23,000 workers, results showed that when employees receive recognition for doing good work, 83% report a more positive employee experience. This dropped to only 38% when they don’t receive employee recognition. The results speak for themselves!

Employee recognition will motivate your employees to perform at a higher level and keep them engaged with the company on bigger level.

5 Best Practices to create a successful employee recognition program:

1.    Recognise the big and the small

Employee recognition doesn’t always have to come wrapped in ribbon!

One of the biggest mistakes you could make when rolling out an employee recognition program is only rewarding your staff for their major accomplishments with a lavish gift or prize. No, no no!

Great successful recognition programs acknowledge that daily thank you's and words of encouragement and recognition can ensure employees never lose sight of their purpose and role within the team. Whether it’s by email, in-person or on a sticky note – (who doesn't love coming back to their desk to find a bright sticky note saying thanks!) a little goes a long way and there’s are more than one way to say thank you! Hurrahh!!

Feeling a little stuck for words? We've got you covered! Chest out our list of some of the best way's to kickstart your employee recognition...

Here are some of the best employee appreciation quotes to help get you started.

Gift box with the words thank you inside on paper

2.    Be specific

How will an employee remember that they’ve done something well if you aren’t specific about what you’re praising them for?

Employee recognition should be given for behaviours, efforts and accomplishments, so make sure the employee knows what they were. This way they’re encouraged to keep up the good work as well as giving their co-workers a positive role model that’s showing good behaviour.

3.    Make sure employee recognition is well-timed

Being timely with employee recognition is another way to make it as meaningful as possible.

When employees are recognised for their work immediately, it helps them assess the recognition as authentic. If something they did months ago is brought up it might result in them believing their work went unnoticed. Make sure you put a system in place that helps you keen on track with the progress and accomplishments of your employees, so they never feel left out.


4.    Get everyone involved

Encouraging employees to share recognition amongst themselves is a great way to unite a team.

Being responsible for sharing out their own appreciation, and praise to peers and colleagues builds a great foundation for a successful employee recognition culture. Peer recognition helps create stronger bonds amongst employees as well as their superiors. This could be done by getting employees nominate a winner for selected tasks and accomplishments.

Teamwork high five

5.    Connect to the company values

The whole point of employee recognition at work is to help them see how they contribution to the success of the company overall.

Making sure that employees know how their involvement and efforts support the long-term success of the company won’t just benefit them, it will benefit the entire organisation. Regularly share company updates with staff so that they can focus on the same business goals that earn them appreciation and recognition for their work.

Lightbulb idea

3 Simple employee recognition ideas:

The best employee recognition programs don’t take a lot of effort, just time and preparation that could transfer the whole company!

1.    Trophies are still fun!

Get everyone involved and set up a light-hearted awards ceremony. I promise you, this will be lost of fun and a brilliant way to get the whole team excited! Team members could nominate each other for different company related accomplishments as well as fun joke awards too. Get mini trophies for the event and make it memorable and enjoyable. Employees will also appreciation the effort.

2.    Bring your dog to work day

If you know loads of staff live with furry companions and the office space allows for it – let employees bring their dogs in to work on Friday! This is a simple appreciation event that can make a lot of people smile. Guaranteed to bring smiles and positive vibes to the entire office.

3.    Let employees decorate the staff room

Show employee appreciation by recognising what makes them happy – any keen plant people amongst them? Letting them bring in a plant will make the space more pleasurable for them and it’s one of the most simple employee recognition ideas/

Creating a culture of recognition doesn’t have to be rocket science, it’s about thinking about what motives people to keep working and treating staff with respect and admiration.

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