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The ROI of employee recognition

Ready to see ROI in action?

Is employee recognition worth the investment?

Here’s how it impacts organizations’ top HR goals, including retention, productivity, community, and workplace culture.


Turnover costs organizations time, productivity, and money—and high attrition rates can damage workplace culture.


According to Gallup, 48% of employees are actively seeking or watching for a new job.

Employee recognition is proven to decrease attrition

This multinational energy company reported that when employees receive recognition, the probability of attrition decreases dramatically.

When an employee
receives recognition

in odds of

at least 4 times in 12 months


at least 12 times in 12 months


for 9+ continuous months



Productive employees drive value for your business. But over time, a lack of recognition can cause them to feel increasingly unseen and uninspired.


According to Gallup, only 1 in 5 employees feel their work is managed in a motivating way.

Employee recognition directly impacts work quality and innovation

Related read: The Top 5 Questions About Employee Recognition ROI


When organizations score high on the community index, the outcomes include increased estimated tenure, higher odds of great work, and more. However:


McKinsey & Associates found that 51% of people quit their jobs because they don’t feel a sense of belonging at work.

Recognition can increase feelings of inclusion and belonging in the workplace


When recognition happens regularly in teams, the odds of having a strong community increase 508%.


Integrated recognition increases the odds of a sense of community for remote workers by 660%.


Strong communities with integrated recognition see a 72% increase in estimated tenure.

3M's recognition solution (powered by O.C. Tanner) provides consistent, equitable recognition across its global workforce, while still allowing groups to recognize team-specific goals in ways that are meaningful to them.

They’ve seen:

Consistently high recognition scores


recognition moments per hour


of employees using the system

Workplace culture

Workplace culture incorporates—and is evident in—every aspect of your business, from your history, values, and mission to your work environment, policies and programs, and overall employee experience.

A few indicators of a healthy workplace culture:

Employee Net
Promoter Score


Companies with great workplace cultures are 4X more likely to have employees that are Promoters.

Employee engagement


Companies with great workplace cultures are 4X more likely to have highly engaged employees.



Companies with great workplace cultures are 72% more likely to have increased in revenue in the past year.

Research shows that recognition impacts
key workplace culture metrics

See how giving recognition throughout the employee lifecycle helps Southwest Airlines build an irresistible culture.

All research points come from The O.C. Tanner Institute

On average, O.C. Tanner clients see ROI in 0.45 years with Culture Cloud.

Here are just some of the companies that have seen ROI in <1 year of partnering with O.C. Tanner.

Logos from some of the companies using Culture CloudLogos from some of the companies using Culture Cloud
Logos from some of the companies using Culture Cloud

Want to join this list? We’d love to help you build a recognition program that delivers similar ROI results.

Get the quick partnership guide to learn why O.C. Tanner is the best choice to help you reach your recognition goals.