Check out these employee recognition programs from companies where recognition improves workplace culture. Here are 10 employee recognition examples from thriving workplaces.
In times of great uncertainty and high turnover, companies need to build a strong company culture to improve employee retention and attract top talent.
The 2022 Global Culture Report shows when employees feel recognised and appreciated at work, there is an 18x increase in the probability of great work, and employees who develop strong connections at work are 11x more likely to stay with their organisation for another year (and 3x more likely to stay three more years).
Building a best-in-class recognition program doesn’t have to be impossible. By incorporating a few key elements, companies can create effective, meaningful recognition programs that help employees feel appreciated, connected, and want to stay.
Here are ten companies that built thriving cultures by breathing new life into their employee recognition programs. Read about these employee recognition program examples to find the secrets to their success:
1. Make recognition an experience.
Recognition should be more than a transaction; it should be an experience. NewYork-Presbyterian built a fun, exciting employee recognition program that creates recognition moments which reflect their culture of respect. Their program includes Mobile Appreciation Stations around their hospitals so employees and leaders can create genuine and personal recognition experiences through notecards that include a personal recognition message, eCards, points, and nominations through their recognition platform.
These powerful recognition experiences have led to employees feeling more valued and reduced attrition in NYP’s hospitals.
2. Create a flexible program that grows with your company.
Bayer Canada is a highly innovative organisation—so only a highly innovative system would work for them. Their original recognition program was based purely on monetary rewards, but for a company that’s always growing, they needed a more flexible recognition program that could grow with them. Their “You Make Life Better” program was the solution. This adaptable system cultivates a culture designed to evolve as the unique needs of Bayer’s diverse people evolve. Employees are now quickly and effectively rewarded for innovation and great work, resulting in a 92% employee engagement rate.
A flexible recognition solution, like Culture Cloud, should provide a variety of tools to recognise, ensuring there’s always a meaningful and effective way to say thanks.
3. Base your recognition program around your company values.
Recognition should be given when employees demonstrate what’s important to the company. AGL Energy wants their people to believe in their purpose of renewable energy and be part of achieving their strategic objectives together. With that in mind, they build their recognition program around that purpose and their company values.
It was important to create a recognition program that drives their objectives of prospering in a carbon-constrained future and building customer advocacy, so they included a series of recognition categories in their program that reinforced their values and supported those objectives. By recognising employees daily and using public recognition, AGL helps employees feel appreciated and reinforces their company values by sharing stories of how employees are living those values.
4. Build connection with recognition.
After years of workplace disruption and a continuation of remote work, employees are feeling more disconnected than ever from their organisations and each other. Heritage Bank uses recognition to build connection and community with their employees and customers. Their recognition program enables leaders and employees to recognise whenever they see great work happening.
Whether it’s thanking someone for displaying a positive attitude in hard times, recognising an employee for helping a customer or colleague, or celebrating a work milestone, Heritage Bank believes their recognition program can help with encouraging employees and building connection, especially during tough times. Leaders read the recognition being given across their branches and share stories with their teams of great work happening in the organisation. This creates a sense of community for employees and keeps them connected, no matter where they are working from.
“Our workforce has embraced the Celebrate Great program as an effective way to quickly and immediately share stories of great performance and to stay connected with each other across multiple regions.”
5. Center your entire culture around recognition.
Ohio Living set itself apart by centering their entire workplace culture around recognising and appreciating their employees. They make their people-oriented culture their number one priority—so much so, that every new employee’s first day is dedicated solely to introducing them to it. The organisation knows that when they put their people first, their people put their patients first.
Thanks to their investment recognition and culture, Ohio Living was able to lower infection rates, readmission rates, and improve patient outcomes, nursing satisfaction, and nursing turnover.
6. Make every recognition reward personal.
Recognition awards should be meaningful—and personal. Roto Rooter realised this when they needed to provide rewards and recognition trophies to nearly 3,000 employees spread over multiple locations across the United States.
Every Roto Rooter recognition award is specifically created with the employee’s individual location in mind, ensuring their employee’s great work is appreciated with unique gifts that reflect their individual preferences. After their recognition program refresh, 75% of Roto Rooter employees say they love their awards, and over 66% plan to keep and display them.
Great examples of employee recognition awards that are personal include customised awards, awards with personal messages from peers and leaders, and symbolic awards that reflect the company’s culture and history.
7. Celebrate every work anniversary.
Work anniversaries are a great way to ensure everyone feels seen and appreciated. Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) learned this when they realised only their customer-facing employees were receiving recognition—while people in supportive roles went unappreciated.
The solution was a recognition program that focuses on something every dedicated employee experiences: workplace anniversaries. Starting on their third year, YBS employees receive a personalised Yearbook with notes and photos from both peers and leaders. Within the first six months of their new recognition program, over 3,700 comments and 1,100 photos were added to employee Yearbooks.
8. Offer timely, immediate recognition.
Research shows there is a 71% decrease in feelings of appreciation when recognition is not given after employees make an extra effort —which means recognition’s impact diminishes the longer you wait to give it.
Hindalco understands the importance of immediate recognition. Their recognition program, Praise, celebrates the everyday wins and day-to-day achievements of their team members instantaneously. Through Praise, recognition can be given minutes after great work happens, and accomplishments are immediately shared across the organisation via a social wall.
There are no approvals or special authorisation needed to recognise, and a mobile app ensures employees can give recognition anywhere, anytime. Immediate recognition has now become part of day-to-day life at Hindalco, leading to a 5-point increase in employee engagement and a recognition score that is 6 points higher than other high-performance companies.
9. Build a multidirectional appreciation system.
As a bank that caters to entrepreneurs, The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) knows a thing or two about innovative ideas. In 2016, they took their old, top-down recognition strategy to new heights by launching a program that centered around peer-to-peer recognition.
When companies encourage peer-to-peer recognition, they experience 2X greater odds of retaining employees. BDC’s new recognition program, “Exclamat!on,” allows their colleagues spread across Canada to recognise and reward each other for great work—in both English and French.
10. Integrate recognition
The best employee recognition program examples are from companies that have integrated and embedded recognition into their culture. Indegene’s Aspire program does just that. Indegene uses API connections to integrate the Aspire program throughout the company. They stream real-time recognition instantaneously on television screens in the lobbies of all their offices around the world, so clients, potential candidates, and business partners can see the great work employees are doing when they visit an Indegene office.
The recognition feed is also prominently displayed on the homepage of their Intranet along with a link to the Aspire program so employees can easily recognise at the same time and place as they access other programs for work. There’s a citation library available so managers can find examples of recognition messages they can customise for their employees. This integration has led to an overall happiness score of 75% on Indegene’s employee survey, and a 3% increase in recognition satisfaction (in the middle of a global pandemic).
Integrated recognition led to a 3% increase in recognition satisfaction despite being in the middle of a global pandemic, contributing to an overall happiness score of 75% at Indegene.
Revolutionise your own recognition program
Now that you’ve seen some great employee recognition examples, it’s time to revolutionise yours. Use these companies’ examples of employee recognition awards, programs, and strategies to inspire your own thriving workplace culture that can help you keep your best talent. As Samik Basu, CHRO at Hindalco says, “Recognition takes such little effort and creates instant joy.”
More Employee Recognition Resources
There are so many different ways to recognise, appreciate, and celebrate your employees. Here are more resources for guidance:
• Guide to Employee Recognition Programs
• 22 Awesome Employee Recognition Gift Ideas
• 9 Tips for How to Choose Employee Recognition Software
• Heartfelt Employee Appreciation Quotes to Say "Thank You"
• Benefits of Peer to Peer Recognition
• Best Practices for Virtual Employee Recognition
• Tips to Celebrate Work Anniversaries
• Employee Recognition in the Modern Workplace
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