Boost Employee Morale and Performance with a Recognition Culture

CLAIRE HASTWELL

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A culture of recognition develops engaged and loyal employees. Making employee appreciation integral to your workplace culture can be achieved through meaningful and intentional practices. 

Employee recognition has long been a cornerstone of effective management. But today, as the competition for talent escalates, the ways organizations show that they value their employees have become more important than ever.  

Creating a recognition program is a start—so if you don’t have one, that’s a good first step!—but great companies go further, constantly reevaluating the ways they reward employees. As companies grow, this becomes even more of a challenge, and leaders must rethink the way they add value to the employee recognition experience. 

What is employee recognition?

Employee recognition refers to all the ways an organization shows its appreciation for employees’ contributions. It can take many forms and may or may not involve monetary compensation. Companies recognize employees for things like:

  • Achievements 
  • Exhibiting desired behaviors 
  • Going above and beyond expectations 
  • Milestones such as tenure 

Why employee recognition matters

From a very early age, we crave recognition from parents, teachers and friends. So strong is our desire for positive affirmation, particularly during developmental periods, that we can even perceive a neutral reaction as a negative one. 

This continues to hold true as we move into the workplace. Employee recognition helps to: 

  • Retain top talent 
  • Increase employee engagement 
  • Encourage high performance 

Great Place To Work Certified™ company O.C. Tanner studied employee engagement and how managers can tailor their workplaces to promote it.  

An employee survey included the question, “What is the most important thing that your manager or company currently does that would cause you to produce great work?”  

Respondents answered in their own words, providing a variety of responses, but a clear pattern emerged. 37% of respondents said that more personal recognition would encourage them to produce better work more often. 

While other themes like autonomy and inspiration surfaced, recognition was the most common theme that emerged from responses. The study showed that affirmation, feedback and reward are most effective for motivating employees to do their best work. 

See the complete results in the chart below: 

creating20a20culture20of20recognition_key20drivers

By narrowing in on several statements in Great Place To Work® Trust Index™ survey that measure how much employees feel recognized at work, we were able to see the impact of recognition culture on employee experience. 

Great Place To Work analyzed 1.7 million employee survey responses gathered between 2018 and 2020 across small, mid-sized and large companies. 

Recognition makes employees feel promotions are fair, spurs innovation and extra effort

After comparing the overall experience of employees who received recognition to those who don’t, we found that recognition was strongly tied to several areas of positive company culture. 

Compared to those who do not consistently feel recognized at work, people who do feel recognized at work are: 

–  2.6x more likely to think that promotions are fair 

–  2.2x more likely to drive innovation and bring new ideas forward 

– 2.0x more likely to say people here are willing to go above and beyond 

Employee appreciation is linked to higher job satisfaction 

In the same Trust Index™ survey, when asked what makes their workplace “great,” employees who responded positively to survey questions measuring recognition say that they are “incredibly lucky,” “enjoy hanging” and that the company has “excellent integrity,” “uplifting environment” and some mentioned their “career success.”

Employees who don’t feel recognized also struggle to describe what makes their workplace great

Conversely, employees who don’t feel recognized at work responded to the same question with phrases such as “plays favoritism” and “popularity contest,” indicating there isn’t much that makes their workplace great. The only positive theme was “match benefits.”  

When asked what would make their company better, the employees who felt unrecognized responded with phrases that indicated feelings of unfair treatment and a manipulative work environment. Words such as “rampant favoritism,” “scare tactics,” “stop eliminating” and “job tomorrow” were most common among the “unrecognized” group.

How to create a meaningful employee recognition culture

Many Great Place To Work® clients, even those with strong company cultures, face challenges when it comes to team and individual employee recognition. 

While there is no universal program for every organization, all managers can use five key elements of meaningful employee recognition. 

Creating a culture of recognition: 5 keys to meaningful employee recognition programs 

1. Be specific, be relevant

Recognition is more meaningful when tied to a specific accomplishment or business objective. When recognizing employees, explaining what the recognition is for help employees relate the recognition to their behavior. This encourages continued strong performance.  

Authentic appreciation is also tailored to the individual. Which of the five languages of appreciation in the workplace you choose to express should depend on what people prefer.

2. Be timely

Recognition that arrives months after the fact isn’t nearly as meaningful as recognition received promptly. 

The longer it takes for managers to recognize employees, the less likely employees will see the affirmations as authentic. Make employee recognition a priority and have formal recognition systems in place so you can strike while the iron is hot. 

3. Recognition comes in many shapes and sizes

There is a great deal of research that indicates people are motivated by more than just cold hard cash. It is also important to note that everyone has their own preference or style when it comes to giving and receiving appreciation. 

Get a clearer picture of the primary language of appreciation (in a work setting) of every individual. Then, recognize them accordingly. 

Beyond a bonus or a raise, consider customized gifts, taking them out for dinner or other acts that show employees their reward is personalized to them.

4. Little things go a long way

While it’s crucial to recognize major accomplishments, don’t overlook the power of the everyday thank-you to motivate employees. 

Writing handwritten notes or using the intranet to promote the good behaviors of individuals, can help instill a regular culture of employee recognition. These thank-yous and shout-outs don’t have to come from managers alone; some employees may find recognition more motivating when it comes from their peers rather than from leadership.

5. Connect to the bigger picture

Recognition helps employees see that their company values them and their contributions to the success of their team and the company overall. 

This is particularly key when organizations grow or change. It helps employees build a sense of security in their value to the company, motivating them to continue great work. 

Regularly share news about how the company is striving to reach the mission, and explain how individual employee goals relate to that vision.  

Organizations on the Singapore Best Workplaces in Healthcare and Biopharma 2023 excel in employee recognition. 

Recognition is absolutely essential in a great workplace, and it doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. 

Ask your employees what type of recognition is most meaningful to them. You may be surprised to discover how simple, genuine expressions of thankfulness inspire them to do their best. 

Do you know if your employees feel appreciated? We designed an employee survey – based on 30+ years of studying employee experience – to measure and track levels of employee recognition, trust, innovation, and more.  Contact us about it today or join our Get Certified(TM) Webinar on 10 May to find out how you can invest in building great workplace cultures. 

CLAIRE HASTWELL

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Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying over 1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting over 4.7 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2021 or early 2022.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

This year, Great Place To Work® Singapore is proud to launch our inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces™ in Healthcare & Biopharma List. This list recognizes exemplary companies in the healthcare & biopharma industry.

Recognized as a global hub for medical technology and research, Singapore has attracted top healthcare and biopharma talents and companies from around the world. It has become the center for essential healthcare services and innovations with its world-class research institutes, academic medical centers, and industry clusters.

In turn, the healthcare and biopharma sectors play a critical role in the country’s economic competitiveness, sustainability, and innovation. These industries have significantly helped in the overall improvement of public health and well-being of the people of Singapore and its neighboring countries.

The inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces in Healthcare and Biopharma List puts the spotlight on the organizations that are dedicated to providing employee satisfaction and engagement, and their commitment to excellence in the industry.

The companies in our Great Place To Work Certified™ community have the premier distinction that helps attract the best talent, build your employer brand, and secure a competitive advantage. To achieve this, they built a working environment that is purpose-driven and people-first. These companies have demonstrated that showing authentic care, prioritizing employee’s holistic well-being, and building a culture of trust go hand in hand with growth and success.

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Healthcare and Biopharma, Great Place to Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore.Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place to Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place to Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry.The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced.To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place to Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place to Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry. The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category.

Methodology

This year, Great Place To Work™ Singapore is proud to launch our inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces in Technology List. This List recognizes exemplary companies in the information and communication technologies industry in four categories:

  • Micro category (10–29 employees)
  • Small (30-99 employees)
  • Medium (100-999 employees)
  • Large (> 1000 employees)

With Singapore’s ambition to be recognized as a regional technology hub, the influx of technology firms (around 80 of the world’s top 100 technology firms have a presence here) and global rankings that place us a leading technology hub outside of San Francisco, the establishment of a Singapore Best Workplaces List in Technology is indeed a timely and needed one. Technology firms in Singapore are characterized by hyper-growth and ambitious expansion plans. This means a continuous war for talent in a highly competitive and rapidly evolving industry.

To maintain our lead as a technology and innovation hub, the ability to attract, retain and sustain skilled talent is critical. We are proud that companies in our Great Place To Work®-Certified community List have built a high-trust culture, engaged employees and maximized their potential to facilitate innovation. They are purpose-driven and adopt a people-first mindset. These are companies that have shown that authentic care and employee well-being need not be compromised for ambitious growth, and that it is possible for businesses to scale up quickly and responsibly. Their culture and core values are embodied in every individual—from senior leadership to rank-and-file employees—and differentiate them from their competitors, priming them to be powerful magnets for top talent.

To determine the 2022 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore.Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry.The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category

 

Methodology

To determine the 2022 Singapore’s Best Workplaces™️, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing close to 70,000 employees across different industries in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place to Work For All™️. 85% of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do.

Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry. The remaining 15% of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry. The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category