Topic: Employee Recognition


Transforming Culture Through Recognition With Guest Andrea Procaccino

season 2, episode 17

Welcome to The Work Place, where we’re hot on the trail of what makes great workplace cultures tick, and what we can all do to make the ones we work in better.

This episode, we’re talking with Andrea Procaccino about the work she’s done to transform and strengthen the culture of recognition at one of the nation’s top hospitals.

Andrea Procaccino is the Vice President of Talent & Diversity and Chief Learning Officer at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. In her dual roles, Andrea provides strategic direction and oversight for training and development, diversity/inclusion, workplace culture, learning solutions, leadership and organizational development, talent management, employee engagement, and awards and recognition programs. Suffice it to say, she has a lot on her plate.

Andrea was interviewed by me last fall, so it’s safe to say the challenges of her work have only become more complex since the onset of the global pandemic and rising economic uncertainty. And while she won’t be addressing the new normal in this interview, she WILL be addressing them in her Master Class presentation at O.C. Tanner’s free, virtual recognition and culture conference—Influence Greatness 2020, launching September 29. Shameless plug, I know.

Andrea and her teams have managed to create a culture defined by dynamic, exciting employee experiences in an environment traditionally known more for its long taxing hours and emotionally draining circumstances. Quite the feat.

So without further ado, let’s get to it.

Tangible Takeaways:

Now it’s time for Tangible Takeaways, where we take big ideas to a serene forest retreat and let them sit meditatively next to a babbling brook as they consider the ever-expanding universe and how we’re all just, like, cells in one giant organism. Woah.

1. The first is that any program created to shape the employee experience MUST take into account the unique particulars of the organization. If, like New York-Presbyterian, your employees are typically on the go, you’ll want to make sure your programs can be accessed easily via mobile devices. As Andrea says, “On your hip.” If you have a more traditional office environment, look for programs that fit into people’s flow of work with plug-ins or integrations with the apps they use every day. Giving people access to a frictionless, in the moment experience is crucial to ensuring that they engage with your learning and recognition programs.

2. The second is that when it comes to learning and development, don’t be afraid to use the f-word. Not THAT f-word. I’m talking about FUN, people. At a top hospital like New York-Presbyterian, fun might seem like a bad word, but Andrea is a huge proponent of the power of keeping things light and interesting to get people engaged. After all, work environments are made up of humans. And humans just wanna have fun! Especially if they’re so often bogged down by expectations and stereotypes about hospitals being somber, serious environments. Andrea wasn’t afraid of trying new things, like NYP’s Recognition Fairs, and you shouldn’t be either. You don’t have to break out the dunk tank, but there’s nothing wrong with games or even parties. Work and play go hand-in-hand, and anything you can do to brighten moods or relieve a little stress can go a long way towards establishing a thriving culture.

3. The third is just a reminder that recognition isn’t just for workplace culture. Showing people you appreciate them is as important in everyday life as it is at work. Whether it’s air-fiving your bagger at the local grocery store or sending a thank you card to your aunt for sharing the secret family recipe for seventeen layer dip, even the smallest expressions of gratitude can make a big difference. Especially now, when the most connection we get with our fellow humans is that weird eye contact between two masked people as we both try to figure out if the other is smiling or . . . snarling? It’s hard to tell.

As always, this episode was written and read by yours truly—with additional writing, production, and sound design by Daniel Foster Smith.

If you liked this episode, or even if you didn’t, please rate, review, and, of course, subscribe to The Work Place on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. If you have a burning question about workplace culture, or a story about why YOUR workplace culture is the best (or worst) send it to

The Work Place is sponsored by O.C. Tanner, the global leader in engaging workplace cultures. O.C. Tanner’s Culture Cloud provides a single, modular suite of apps for influencing and improving employee experiences through recognition, career anniversaries, wellbeing, leadership, and more.

related Resources

Insurance Company: Elevating Culture with Recognition

See how one insurance company elevated their recognition programs from good to best-in-class.

ICF: Making the World a Better Place, One Recognition Moment at a Time

See how recognition can predict turnover at ICF.

Sustainable Workplace Awards

Learn how O.C. Tanner incorporates sustainable practices into the sourcing and creation of custom symbolic awards for recognition moments that help both people and our planet thrive.