Topic: Company Culture


Capital One: Building a Company Culture That Fuels Personal and Organizational Success

Capital One




of associates recognized


different business units using ONEderful

*Capital One won the 2022 Influence Greatness Breakthrough Award for Elevating Culture

For over 25 years, Capital One has revolutionized the credit card industry with data and technology, while still maintaining ingenuity, simplicity, and humanity in banking. And they do the same every day for their 51,000 associates.


Capital One knew they wanted to synthesize data, technology, and humanity in their company’s recognition efforts.

“When people know they matter to the organization they feel better about the work they are doing, they are more productive, and they’re more likely to stay with us,” says Cathy Diskin, Senior Director, Total Rewards.

The company took an inventory of all their associate recognition programs and solicited feedback from their business units to learn best practices they were doing and what additional support they needed. Armed with this data, the team began to create a recognition strategy and vision that gained a high level of executive support.

Capital One worked with O.C. Tanner to develop their ONEderful recognition program, powered by Culture Cloud. The HR Director, explains: “It's such a good partnership because both our companies have gone through this transformation to think not just about a specific technology, but what is the recognition experience we want to create? How do we make it an experience for our associates? We bounce ideas off each other, we often test things…it’s a true partnership.”  

Capital One employees looking at a printed ONEderful recognition program brochure, powered by Culture Cloud


ONEderful launched in 2010, giving associates the ability to recognize one another for all types of great work. It simplified the number of recognition programs and provided a consistent recognition experience through one platform, while still giving autonomy to the different business units. “One of the things we love about ONEderful is the ability to use it in different ways for different organizations, and the ability for us to customize that for our businesses and what they need to do,” says Diskin.

The program is designed to meet associates where they are. It includes multiple integrations to ensure it is easy to use and associates can recognize immediately when they see great work happening. Capital One integrated the multiple tools their associates use every day with the Culture Cloud platform so associates can send appreciation in their flow of work—whether they are on Outlook, Slack, or Chrome—without having to use another system.

“We put tools where those moments happen because the power of recognition is magnified when it’s timely versus when you give it three weeks later,” explains Lynch. The company also built a Slack bot to answer recognition questions and provide information on ONEderful, which allows Lynch’s team to focus more on recognition strategy, education, and awareness rather than process questions

Capital One's printed ONEderful recognition program brochure, powered by Culture Cloud


“ONEderful aligns so well to our values and our culture. From our leadership levels to every associate in the organization, we support each other and this kind of program works really well where you have associates who look for a community in their workforce.”
—Cathy Diskin, Senior Director, Total Rewards

Even as the company is at the forefront of recognition technology, they still heavily focus on making recognition more than just a transaction—it’s about the humanity of appreciation. Rather than just handing out their service awards to associates, they use best practices to create a recognition experience for their people. Associates and leaders tell stories of associate accomplishments when they recognize one another. And they understand the need to show appreciation not just for the work an associate delivers, but also for who they are each and every day.

“I think we've reached that pinnacle now with the pandemic where people have become even more aware of their identity, their value, and their sense of purpose. So being able to tie our strategy with that shift in focus has allowed us to really maximize what's been a challenging time for all of us,” says Lynch.

Capital One's online ONEderful recognition program, powered by Culture Cloud

Capital One’s keys for recognition success:

  • Recognition and appreciation as a strategy, not just a program
  • A comprehensive, thoughtful communication plan that leverages multiple channels and is tailored to each business unit
  • A clear understanding of associate perspectives through ongoing associate surveys and listening
  • Strong executive support
  • Leveraging data and technology to make recognizing easy, timely, and meaningful
Custom eCards in Capital One's online ONEderful recognition program, powered by Culture Cloud


High usage of ONEderful has fueled both personal success for associates and has impacted Capital One’s culture to drive business success:

  • 75% of associates in 145 different business units have been recognized through the program.
  • Continued uptick in recognition, especially peer-to-peer.
  • Recognition is given more consistently, and business units are now using ONEderful for all their individual recognition programs.
  • Associates are feeling more motivated to contribute to the success of the company. According to feedback on an associate survey, recognition at Capital One “motivates people and puts the organization at the same level as some of the other well-known technology companies that reward associates.”

Listening to associate feedback has been an important part of measuring success, and making improvements, for Capital One. They are currently developing new analytical tools to enhance reporting, tell associate stories, and further their recognition strategy. Says Lynch, “the power of recognition and appreciation can impact engagement. It impacts attrition, it impacts net promoter score. There is a business return when you do it the right way.”

A Capital One employee receiving a ONEderful recognition award, powered by Culture Cloud

Capital One is looking forward to using recognition and appreciation to build belonging and fulfillment for their people. Whether it’s appreciating the effort associates have made holistically over the life of their careers with the company, making connections and building belonging through peer-to-peer recognition, appreciating associate passions, or telling their stories, the company wants to leverage the power of appreciation to help associates find fulfillment at work.

“Recognition is more than a system. We have a great tool to help us facilitate that, but it’s really about a program of elevating awareness and education; where we can learn and share and grow because appreciation and recognition are always going to be something that people need to help them find fulfillment at work.”
—HR Director

Outcomes are everything

We’d love to share what we’ve helped Capital One and thousands of other clients achieve. Reach out to us to start your employee recognition journey.

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