How To Create A Recognition Rich Culture

How to Create a Recognition-Rich Culture

Zoe Brankin
Zoe Brankin
June 15, 2022
5 min read

Think about the last time you put your heart and soul into a project or job. Owned it, delivered it, and did your very best. The sense of accomplishment alone is rewarding, but it’s multiplied exponentially when others take notice. The simple act of recognising achievement is an unrivalled boost for employee morale and performance.

And that’s why employee recognition is so critical. 79% of people who resign say that a significant factor in their decision was a lack of appreciation, and 60% of employees say that recognition is more motivating than money. 

It’s a no-brainer. Recognition is key.

Nowadays, however, there’s an added challenge: flexible working. While once upon a time, a team leader could pop their head around the door and give a quick ‘well done’, a shift towards remote working has meant that businesses have had to re-think their recognition strategies. So, how can employers create a recognition-rich culture in the modern workplace?

What is a Recognition-rich Culture?

Workplace culture is the personality and character of an organisation. It’s made up of the company’s values, interactions, behaviours, attitudes, and traditions. When a workplace has a positive culture, performance is better, engagement is higher, and employees are happier.

Many organisations simply let their workplace culture develop naturally – but this is where they might be going wrong. Management, leadership, policies, practices, and people impact workplace culture significantly.

A recognition-rich culture is the embodiment of employee appreciation. It’s the way a company shows how much employees’ contributions are valued. Recognition takes many forms, whether they are recognising an employee for their achievements and behaviours or going the extra mile.

When an organisation has a recognition-rich culture, employees are celebrated and rewarded in a social setting for their achievements and successes. It’s a culture whereby this practice takes place frequently and naturally. 

There might be a formal recognition system in place, but it’s not going to paste over any cracks if it’s not implemented correctly.

Benefits of building a recognition-rich culture

If we can create a culture where employees feel valued and appreciated, they’re much less likely to seek that value and appreciation elsewhere, giving you a good chance at retaining your top talent. 

Employees will be more productive and have greater job satisfaction, which is great for business. Employees will also be more innovative and cohesive when they truly enjoy what they do and feel valued for their contributions. 

So, we know how important it is to build a recognition-rich culture, but where do we start?

How to Create a Recognition-rich Culture

A recognition-rich culture doesn’t happen overnight or by accident. 

Many practices need to be considered to develop a recognition-rich culture. Here are five things to help you get started! 

1. Recognition should start at the top

A change in culture needs to start at the top. Disruptive leadership is imperative when trying to cultivate change in an organisation.

When leaders model the behaviours they want to see in their team, it’s an effective way of communicating the culture the company desires.

When leaders demonstrate the recognition behaviour they want to see, it’s much more likely to happen.

2. Recognition should be easy to do

If recognition took considerable time or effort, it would be easy to let it slide when things are busy. 

Recognition must be easy to achieve and consist of informal and formal practices. This can include positive feedback during an employee’s probationary period, an employee of the month award or a mention on the company Slack channel. When you have an employee engagement software like Mo, recognition becomes easy for management and peers to acknowledge and recognise efforts and achievements. 

3. Recognition should be specific

For recognition to be effective, it needs to be specific and personalised. Employees value being recognised for specific results or efforts. 

So, instead of saying, “Nice work on the web page”, try “I love how user-friendly you’ve made the web page. You’ve clearly listened to customer feedback and paid attention to detail in the layout and functionality.” 

Rather than stating non-committal superlatives, recognition should pay attention, reflect, and analyse what the person has achieved.

4. Recognition should be authentic

For employee recognition to be effective and deliver the biggest impact, it must be authentic. When you recognise your employees, remember to focus on the actual performance, and the qualities/values they displayed and highlight their intrinsic value as a person. 

When you take the time to recognise your employees, they will feel supported and encouraged to go above and beyond. Talk to your employees often about the company’s vision and whether they need additional support or tools to help them do their jobs well. 

Employees need to know that you genuinely care about them, and recognition is part of showing them you value their contribution. It shouldn’t be a case of recognition being seen as a tick-box exercise.

5. Recognition needs to happen early (and often)

Tomorrow’s too late. Recognise your employees in real-time. We live in a world where things can happen in a nanosecond, whether it’s a tweet, Instagram story, Slack message, text or email. This means our working world needs to catch up fast. 

Employees don’t want to wait until the end of the week, quarter, month or year to hear about something they did well so long ago. If you want recognition to be effective, then do it in real-time. 

Also, ensure your employees experience recognition from day one. Because recognition is public and personal, employees can quickly identify the values that they care about, and it will spur on those repeat performances from the minute they join the company. Start as you mean to go on.

Creating a Recognition-rich Culture: Key Takeaways

  • While managers and leaders are responsible for getting a company’s recognition-rich culture off the ground, if you want it to be widely adopted, everyone needs to be on board.
  • Involving all employees in recognition means they can share their appreciation openly and feel part of a culture where respect and recognition are integral.
  • A truly recognition-rich culture has all employees sharing recognition and appreciation equally. 

Transform your culture with Mo

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Mo is an employee recognition and engagement platform that can help leaders improve collaboration and morale, reduce employee churn and drive change. 

Our platform creates a vibrant culture by developing team habits, encouraging people to celebrate success, recognise results and appreciate colleagues. Your complete toolkit for connecting and motivating teams in the new world of work. Book a demo with our team today.

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