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Topic: Appreciation

10 employee recognition quotes to
power your culture

Inspiring quotes that provide a new perspective on appreciating your people.

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The research speaks for itself: workplace culture thrives when great work is accomplished and celebrated. In a survey commissioned by the O.C. Tanner Institute, employees were asked: “what is the most important thing your manager or company currently does (or could do) to cause you to produce great work?” The top answer:

“Recognize me.”

Managers who recognize when employees give attention to detail, go above and beyond, and contribute meaningfully across many years of service build powerful cultures that motivate and inspire. In fact, Cicero did a compelling study that found the amount of engaged employees doubles when leaders give strong performance recognition—that means increased drive and determination, strong connections to the company, healthy work relationships, and positive self-esteem.

Employee recognition is a proven way to attract, engage, and retain great talent—which is why so many thought leaders believe appreciating and recognizing the efforts of employees is pivotal to their success. These quotes explore how the modern workplace is improved by appreciating people who do great work.

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Employee recognition quotes

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person—not just an employee—are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”

—Anne Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox Corporation whose HR strategies and innovative ideas pulled Xerox out of near demise.

“Paychecks can’t buy passion.”

—Brad Federman, Chief Operating Officer of F&H Solutions Group, leadership coach, and author of multiple employee engagement books.

“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” 

—Stephen R. Covey, American businessman and the widely renowned author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

“No matter how busy you are, you must take time to make the other person feel important.”    

—Mary Kay Ash, esteemed founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc. who self-made her legacy from the ground up.

“The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers.” 

—Sybil F. Stershic, marketing advisor and author known for engaging employees through internal marketing. 

“Dispirited, unmotivated, unappreciated workers cannot compete in a highly competitive world.” 

—Francis Hesselbein, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA until 1990 and an icon of leadership to this day.

“You can’t sell it outside if you can’t sell it inside.”    

—Stand Slap, corporate culture guru and author of New York Times bestseller “Bury My Heart at Conference Room B.”    

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” 

—Simon Sinek, author of five leadership books, including “Start With Why” and “Leaders Eat Last.”

“Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.”

—Sam Walton, founder of major retailers Walmart and Sam's Club, and at one point the richest man in America.    

“People want to know they matter and they want to be treated as people. That’s the new talent contract.”

—Pamela Stroko, executive coach for C-level executives and leaders and recognized expert in the talent management arena.

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Reading these quotes, it’s almost impossible not to be inspired to look for ways to recognize the efforts of your employees. Use them as inspiration to fuel a culture of appreciation in your workplace—the kind that motivates employees to put their all into every project.

For more inspiration, read our Global Culture Report with insights on employee recognition in the workplace.

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