Topic: Employee Recognition

The Power of an Employee Recognition Brand


Employee Recognition

Updated on: 

February 12, 2024

 Min read 

 Min read 

A single pink sphere surrounded by wooden cubes.

Your company culture is specific and unique. Shouldn’t your employee recognition program be too?

So many tech solutions look and feel the same. Your payroll system, survey tools, learning and development software, and benefits platform likely all feel the same as other companies using those same providers. Moment to moment, company to company—employees know they are using an outside vendor’s website.

But with something as important, and impactful, as employee recognition, it shouldn’t all feel the same. Recognition experiences are elevated when your solutions look like your organization and feel organic to your culture.

Your brand and culture are incredibly valuable—they’re some of the main reasons your employees decide to join, stay, and keep giving their best every single day. When you bring that brand into your employee recognition programs and tools, those tools come to life.

45% of employees say their recognition program feels stale and disconnected from what’s important to the organization


AAA employee recognition program custom branded experiences for career anniversary yearbooks, award certificates, and mobile app.

Majid Al Futtaim

Majid Al Futtaim employee recognition branded materials from career anniversary yearbooks to employee recognition software.

What is an employee recognition brand?

Having a recognition brand is more than putting your logo on your employee recognition software—it’s about customizing the entire recognition experience: 

  • The values and behaviors employees are recognized for 
  • The communication and promotion of your program
  • The awards and brochures they receive when they are recognized
  • The offline tools you use. 

The entire recognition experience should look and feel like you. 

Sadly, 45% of employees feel their recognition program is stale and disconnected from what’s important at their organization and only 17% of organizations have deeply embedded recognition programs.  

An employee recognition brand can help your recognition solutions feel like an integrated part of your culture: employees are 3x more likely to report an extraordinary employee experience when recognition is embedded in their culture.

A recognition brand increases the effectiveness of recognition solutions

Having a recognition brand or an employee recognition program theme, can increase the success of your recognition efforts in several ways.

1. A recognition brand enhances the employee experience. 

Branding your employee recognition solution creates a more fulfilling user experience. It ties the recognition back to your values, purpose, and culture, and increases awareness of and connection with your recognition tools. The way your employees perceive and experience recognition is highly dependent on how that recognition looks, sounds, and feels.

2. A recognition brand increases program usage. 

Having branded communications makes your recognition program feel approachable, familiar, and exciting. Custom branding turns a third-party tech solution into a trusted tool, which increases participation and usage of your recognition programs.

3. Recognition brands can accelerate adoption of values. 

Not only will employees use your solutions more to recognize one another, they’ll also better understand and remember the behaviors and values being recognized. Recognition reinforces what’s important to the company and helps employees adopt your purpose and values.

Organizations with highly integrated recognition are: 13x more likely to have great work happening; 9x more likely to have highly engaged employees; 8x more likely to have a thriving culture; 30% less likely to have employees leave; 80% less likely to have employees suffering from burnout

BHP’s products, culture, and tools they use every day are integrated into all aspects of their Big Thanks recognition solution.

BHP’s custom employee recognition experiences - branded employee recognition software, custom pins for years of service, and a personalized career anniversary yearbook.

Ritchie Bros’ creates a branded recognition experience for employees who achieve excellence.

Ritchie Bros showcases its company story through branded employee anniversary yearbooks and custom awards.

How to create a recognition brand or theme

Branding goes beyond putting your logo on your recognition vendor’s website. It’s about including your brand voice, colors, names, and stories—and having photos that showcase your employees, your locations, your workspaces, and your products.

Your recognition brand should also extend beyond just your employee recognition software and online tools. You should be able to see your organization and your culture in the following:

  •  Recognition website
  • Communication pieces (emails, posters, brochures, digital screens, campaigns, events, etc.)
  •  Awards (certificates, thank you cards, cards that come with awards employees receive, symbolic awards that reflect your company’s history and culture)
  • Training guides (not just how to use your employee recognition program, but also why and what to recognize)
  • The recognition presentation experience (virtual backgrounds for virtual recognition, public recognition presentations, social media feeds)

While a recognition brand should be authentic and aligned to your corporate brand, it should also include some fresh and distinctive elements to help it stand out. A great recognition brand includes a unique recognition name and a visual and verbal identity. These foundational elements inform the energy and core messages of your recognition experience and differentiate your recognition program from anyone else’s.

Think about your company’s history, purpose, and values. 

  • What do you celebrate? 
  • What stories do you tell over and over again? 
  • Are there important elements in your culture that you want to include in your recognition experience?

Incorporate these meaningful aspects into your recognition solution. If you are working with a recognition provider, they should understand you and be a true recognition partner who can help you create your recognition brand.

Inspirational recognition brands

GE Appliances

GE Appliances was looking for a new recognition solution that looked and felt like them, so they chose a recognition provider who understood their organization and their culture. Together with O.C. Tanner, their team discussed the company’s purpose and values and how to reward employee contributions based on those values. 

The resulting employee recognition program, Recognize YOU, has a brushed nickel and steel look that replicated GE Appliances’ product finishes and used actual employees in program photos. Everything is made to look and feel like GE Appliances and embody its culture.

GE Appliances branded employee recognition software, "recognize you," and custom employee anniversary yearbooks.

Employees love their recognition tools and are empowered to use them. We know that employees who are recognized are 80% more likely to feel trust in leaders and 180% more likely to feel their managers communicate well. And likelihood of attrition decreases 58% when employees receive recognition in the prior month.

Because Recognize YOU is integrated into the GE Appliances culture, they’ve seen these statistics in action and tracked measurable impact on employee engagement and turnover.

“Your recognition solution should reflect who you are. The look and feel, examples, photos…it’s an extension of us at GE Appliances. Companies should make recognition a part of their value proposition and engagement strategy—make it about who you are.”
– Natalie Snyder, Senior Director, Compensation and Benefits, GE Appliances


CIBC creates recognition moments that matter through their recognition solution, Moment Makers. eCards and Purpose Awards bring CIBC’s purpose and brand to life.

“We can take the most important element of our culture—our purpose—and have it be visible throughout the platform,” explains Jackie Goldman, Senior Vice President, Rewards, Recognition & Performance. 

Recognition through MomentMakers is included in every aspect of the employee experience, from onboarding to daily extra effort, big and small acts of great work to career anniversaries and retirement. 

Because MomentMakers helps create a unifying recognition experience tied to CIBC’s culture and brand, recognition activity has increased (9x compared to their previous program) and 85% of employees feel their personal contributions are recognized (8% higher than the industry benchmark).

CIBC's custom employee recognition program, Moment Makers, includes branded company swag, employee anniversary yearbooks, and mobile app.

Treasury Wine Estates

Treasury Wine Estates’ recognition program is tied to their new corporate values of courage, care, and inclusion. Everything about their solution, from program names like “Cellerbrate” and “Vintage Awards”, to their tools and awards reflects the winery’s rich history, products, brand, and culture. They have a recognition rally cry aligned with their values that unifies employees and is adopted in all their communication and messaging about recognition. 

Because of this branding, 75% of their global workforce is actively participating in everyday recognition and 92% of managers have used the new recognition tools.

“We’ve seen an increase in nominations for various awards. It’s a simple metric, and a good indicator that our people have embraced the awards and actively seek opportunities to recognize their peers and colleagues,” says Leon Butler, Global Manager Performance & Reward.

Treasury Wine Estates custom years of service numerals featuring images of wineries and working employees.

We make employee recognition reflect your unique culture, from our tech to awards, insights to design. Culture Cloud offers configurable tools and communication templates that enable you to align recognition to your brand in meaningful ways. Our tested approach ensures recognition feels familiar and relevant to your people—making recognition experiences even more impactful, meaningful, and memorable.

Learn more about recognition branding in Culture Cloud.

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