Creating a culture of recognition

Recognising ColleaguesRecognising employee performance is one of the best ways to drive desired behaviour changes. It also leads to engaged, satisfied employees, who deliver better customer satisfaction and improved bottom line results.

So if you want all these great benefits, how do you create a culture of recognition in your organisation? Here are some tips:


Ensure your managers give regular praise and support others in their recognition efforts

The primary reason managers don’t use recognition is because they report “they aren’t sure how to do it well,” according to research by Dr Bob Nelson. It’s, therefore, no surprise that recognising employees is something that languishes near the bottom of managers to do lists.

“Many know how to flatter; few know how to give praise.”
– Greek proverb

If you want to create a culture of recognition, you need to ensure that your managers know how to recognise their employees. Start by training your managers how to look for opportunities to recognise employees’ efforts on a daily basis.

How managers give praise and recognition is also important as it makes the recognition more meaningful and is, therefore, more likely to result in positive behaviour changes. Making recognition meaningful is as simple as 1-2-3 when you know what to say:

  1. I saw what you did and I appreciate it
  2. This is why what you did is important to the success of the organisation
  3. This is how what you did aligns to our values


Download guide

Read our guide on Engaging Managers To Recognise Employees



Learn from the best practices of other organisations

There are plenty of companies that already do an excellent job when it comes to embedding recognition within their company culture. Here are a five examples of what other companies are doing:

  1. Creating a recognition committee who can focus on recognition within the company and ensure employees at all levels are engaging in recognition
  2. Recognising managers who recognise others to encourage managers to engage in recognition
  3. Tracking the use of recognition tools and issuing reports to the senior leadership team and managers about where recognition is being used, or not used, in the business
  4. Encouraging peer to peer recognition with a social recognition programme
  5. Training managers how to use recognition correctly and showing them what is in it for them

You should also do some of your own research to find out how companies you are inspired by recognise their employees.


Market your recognition efforts

The Importance Of CommunicationCommunication is essential when it comes to creating a culture of recognition, and there are several ways in which you can embed recognition into your company culture through your company communications:

  • Promote and advertise your recognition programme throughout organisation using the communication tools you have available, for example, company newsletters, email, posters and staff website
  • Highlight successful projects, celebrations and the rewards that are available to employees
  • Capture and share employees’ success stories with real-life case studies
  • Publicly use recognition, for example, start individual, team and company meetings with recognition


Elements found in organisations with strong cultures of recognition

Organisations that have strong cultures of recognition have several things in common:

  1. The senior leadership has bought into recognition as a business strategy and actively engage in recognition
  2. The recognition programme is aligned with company objectives and individual performance
  3. Managers actively recognise their employees through formal or informal recognition or daily feedback
  4. Employees are encouraged to recognise their co-workers and engage in peer to peer recognition
  5. The programme is tracked and measured, and improvements are implemented.
  6. There are clear, continuous communications promoting the scheme and highlighting employees’ success
  7. The organisation offers training for managers in how to recognise their employees so it has meaning for employees


Download our guide to reward and recognition

Reward and recognition guide

This guide will assist programme managers to develop a scheme that will improve the performance of your people, engage them and make best use of your available budget.

Click here to download


John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.
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