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A complete resource about Company Culture by O.C. Tanner
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Appreciation and Employee Recognition


What it is:
Employee appreciation and recognition are often used interchangeably but have different meanings. Appreciation is seeing the worth and value of someone. It’s an emotion, the feeling of being valued for your unique talents, skills, and contributions.

Recognition is the act of showing appreciation. It’s using words or actions to show gratitude, and it fuels the feeling of being appreciated. Employees' efforts and accomplishments must be appreciated through acts of recognition.

Unfortunately, recognition is not happening often and employees are not feeling appreciated:

Is recognition happening? In the past 30 days...

57% of employees received a "thank you" from a leader or peer

27% of employees received spontaneous praise for their work

26% of employees received formal recognition

20% of employees were assigned a special project

28% of employees did not receive ANY of the above

How it impacts culture:
Recognition acts like a rocket booster, kicking in to enhance the things people look for in a job and elevating the entire organization to higher levels of success. In fact, 76% of employees who feel appreciated believe they can take on anything. Simply recognizing great work elevates engagement by as much as 50%.

Recognition improves engagement, inspires innovation, builds trust. When asked “what is the most important thing your manager or company does (or could do) to cause you to produce great work”, the number one response was “recognize me.”

“Appreciation for my work” was also the number one attribute that job seekers across the globe said was most important in their new job.

And recognition has a big impact on the 6 essential elements of workplace culture (called the Talent Magnets as they are what make an organization a magnet for great talent). When employees are recognized for their work, they also feel a higher sense of purpose, opportunity, success, appreciation, wellbeing, and have a more positive perception of leadership.

Talent magnets include: Leadership, purpose, opportunity, success, appreciation, and wellbeing.
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How to do it well:

While recognition may seem easy, many leaders and organizations struggle to effectively show appreciation. Here are a few ways to build recognition into your company culture:

1) Show appreciation deliberately. Give thanks, spontaneous but purposeful praise, and formal recognition. Recognition must be specific and timely for extra effort or above and beyond work. If recognition is not given when an employee does great work, there is a 71% decrease in feelings of appreciation.

2) Make recognition a priority. It can’t be an afterthought, so change when it occurs. Give recognition at the beginning of meetings, not at the end. At the top of the newsletter, not the bottom. On the front page of your intranet site, beginning of the email, or even during a special meeting where the only item on the agenda is showing appreciation.

3) Enable leaders to give recognition in a genuine and personal way. Provide training and best practices on the why and how of recognition. Have tools and resources to give recognition effectively. Use recognition champions that can model, remind, and inspire everyone to show appreciation whenever great work happens.

4) Recognize holistically. This includes recognition for extra effort, great work, innovation, career milestones, company milestones, and personal milestones. Use recognition as an opportunity for leaders to connect with their teams, and peers to connect with each other.

Read more about how to build employee recognition into your workplace culture.

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