Sustaining a Recognition Program for Continued Success

An engineer uses a computer to view data in a factory

A culture of recognition develops fulfilled, committed employees. Research shows that workers who feel appreciated are more productive, more motivated, and stay longer with the company. This overall sense of job satisfaction improves business outcomes across the board.

You can fully integrate employee recognition into your workplace culture through meaningful and intentional practices. Let’s take a look at why a structured recognition program is a smart investment. And then we’ll show how Culture Cloud offers more ways to appreciate more people around the world than any other recognition platform, while offering you ideas to incorporate effective appreciation.

Studies have shown that when employees are more satisfied with their organization, they are more productive and less likely to leave, and that recognizing employees can increase motivation and improve performance across the organization.

Why Recognition Is an Impactful Investment

Increased Employee Fulfillment

A recognition program conclusively leads to higher employee fulfillment. Fulfillment at work is now an expectation of employees, which means organizations must adjust accordingly.

In all of the research for our 2023 Global Culture Report, more than anything else we measured, personal fulfillment had the most decisive impact on an employee’s choice to stay in their job, do great work, and define their organization as a great place to work. Highly fulfilled employees plan to stay three years longer at their organizations than unfulfilled employees.

A table showing that when employees reach a high level in certain areas, the odds of fulfillment are far better

But how can you actively improve something as broad and subjective as fulfillment? We’ve identified four main levers that influence employee fulfillment:

  1. Balance. How we actually spend our time compared to how we want to spend our time, and the impact of those activities on other aspects of our lives. It requires having the time and autonomy to accomplish the things at work and in our personal lives that matter most to us.
  2. Community, connection, and belonging. How we interact with the individuals and groups around us. A feeling of acceptance.
  3. Growth. A progression, enhancement, increase, or improvement in one or more areas of our life. The sense of mastery, developing and applying skills to contribute to a project or goal.
  4. Purpose. The reason for the actions we do and choices we make. The importance of our activities and why they matter.

Employees feel a greater sense of fulfillment at work when organizations create a culture of balance. Employees need to feel supported in their efforts to manage work and personal needs.

To further build community at work, leaders must evolve beyond the typical team building activities. By nurturing a sense of inclusion in a supportive community, leaders can help employees connect to purpose, accomplishment, and each other.

Organizations should also provide ways for employees to grow outside of pay increases and promotions. Employees today want opportunities to expand their careers by learning and diversifying their skill set. Mentorship, tuition reimbursement, and special project assignments can all help employees master skills and feel that they’re making progress.

An engineer uses a computer to view data in a factory

Employees also greatly increase the meaning they take from work when they feel connected to the organization’s purpose. This requires leaders who clearly communicate purpose and reward employees for making it possible.

When employees rate high in all four of these areas, there is a 21x increase in the likelihood of fulfillment. The feeling of appreciation is a fundamental need that enhances all four fulfillment factors.

Reduced Turnover Rates

Recognition helps to strongly root people in their organization, because it makes them feel valued and more likely to stick around.

Yet, nearly one third of employees are unfulfilled in their jobs. And unfulfilled employees are less likely to promote their organizations or help their organizations succeed, and more likely to leave.

It takes considerable resources to find, recruit, hire, and train talented employees. High turnover rates become incredibly expensive for companies. By giving frequent and intentional recognition, employers may be able to reduce turnover and boost employee loyalty.

Studies show that it can cost six to nine months of an employee's salary to replace them. A SHRM study reports that 68% of HR professionals believe that employee recognition improves retention, while 56% said it helps with recruitment.

Financial pain isn’t the only cost of losing an employee. It also costs recruiting resources, referral bonuses, interview time, and onboarding for the replacement. Perhaps the biggest downside is the institutional knowledge an experienced, talented employee takes with them. This is the kind of business savvy that only comes with time—and it is priceless.

Highly fulfilled employees plan to stay three years longer at their organizations than unfulfilled employees

Recognition practices have a positive effect on employee tenure. As employees feel fulfilled they develop a sense of belonging that leads to 43% better retention. Integrating a robust recognition program as a company priority helps employees and improves business outcomes.

World-Class Recognition Solutions with Culture Cloud

Custom Awards

It’s more important than ever to celebrate employees not only for the length of time they've been with your organization but for regular achievements large and small. Research from our 2023 Global Culture Report shows that frequent recognition is often more powerful and effective than recognition that happens once a year.

Custom awards tell the story of your company and the specific experiences employees have working there. Creating these symbols is a process that matters. With Culture Cloud, you can create your own collection of iconic awards that honor important events, define your culture, and add significance to an employee’s career.

At work, symbols that take the form of recognition or an award are extremely valuable for numerous reasons: they communicate a company’s values and purpose, reflect the significance of employee contributions, and build a sense of community by increasing our emotional connections to each other.

A selection of custom symbolic awards designed by O.C. Tanner for companies

Likewise, our research found workplace symbolism has the power to build connection. When a career recognition experience includes a symbolic award, it increases the employee’s connection with their team, leader, and the organization. Conversely, when a career recognition experience omits a symbolic award, the probability of connection to each decreases.

According to a study by Harvard Business Review, workers who received a custom award reported feeling “significantly more valued, more recognized for their work, and more supported by their organization.” HBR further notes, “Clearly, symbolic interventions can be effective. But to maximize their impact, it’s important to customize these efforts to your organization’s unique context.”

The effect of symbolic awards on engagement, great work, and retention is similar. When recognition experiences include symbolic awards, the odds of employees feeling engaged, doing great work, and staying with the organization improve.

Group Deposits

Culture Cloud includes a fast and easy way to appreciate everyone at once—from entire teams to the whole company—thanks to Group Points Deposit.

A Group Deposit allows leaders to create celebrations where everyone on the team or in the organization gets points all at once. This gives employees a sense of fulfillment that makes them more likely to stay.

Group Deposits are fast and easy. Showing appreciation shouldn’t be complicated, even if you have employees spread out across multiple locations, are working in a hybrid model, or are remote. By using the O.C. Tanner recognition solution you already use every day, recognition is at your fingertips. You can create a meaningful company-wide recognition moment in just minutes, and employees will receive a recognition experience through a platform they are already familiar with. Once you decide on a budget and get approval, follow these 6 easy steps and start recognizing. There’s no waiting, no setup, and no purchasing anything new.

An image of O.C. Tanner's Culture Cloud group deposits experience. Employees receive an email from a leader with points to redeem in an online award catalog.

Group Deposits include everyone, and work for any occasion. You can thank them all with Group Deposits—recognition that reaches everyone, no matter what their location, job level, tenure, or team. Make it part of a company-wide celebration, whether it’s for an occasion like Employee Appreciation Day or the holidays, a recent company anniversary or milestone, a new corporate partnership or accomplishment of an important goal. Maybe you want to show appreciation just because your people deserve it. Don’t limit special recognition to just one team, one location, or one business unit. Thank them all.

Whether it’s reaching your annual sales goal, new product launches, winning a big client, or exceeding financial metrics, a group points deposit from your company’s recognition program, like Culture Cloud, is a great way to say thank you to all your employees who worked hard to help the company achieve this success.

Flight Risk for Employee Retention

Today’s job market is more dynamic and fluid than ever. Talented employees keep their options open and regularly explore new opportunities. With our Flight Risk Dashboard, you can track who is planning to stay or go and ensure people feel valued in a community that cares.

Employees who feel appreciated stay longer. Recognition gives people a sense of belonging in a work culture they enjoy. There is a statistically significant relationship between an employee’s retention risk and the amount of recognition they receive. The Flight Risk Dashboard provides real-time analytics to help you understand the effect of recognition on attrition and the state of your people.

How Culture Cloud Transformed Recognition at CIBC

How does a respected company use Culture Cloud to fully integrate recognition into their workplace culture on a day-to-day basis? Let’s take a quick look at CIBC to see how Culture Cloud transformed their work community.

CIBC's MomentMakers Recognition Program


CIBC is a leading North American financial institution committed to creating enduring value for its stakeholders. A fundamental component of CIBC’s approach is investing in its team and recognizing employees for bringing its purpose to life.

CIBC wanted a platform that would track and increase recognition across the organization. Employees also requested a points-based program that provided personalized, timely, peer-to-peer recognition.


Through Culture Cloud, O.C. Tanner helped CIBC create MomentMakers, a recognition program tailored to their specific needs. CIBC brought their recognition efforts to the present with an internal social wall where employees share recognition and appreciation in real-time. Everyone can see and participate in the joy of gratitude and praise.

Purpose Awards and eCards bring CIBC’s brand to life. “We can take the most important element of our culture—our purpose—and have it be visible throughout the platform,” explains Jackie Goldman, Senior Vice President, Rewards, Recognition & Performance. The Wall of Fame provides the recognition visibility employees needed.

“We can take the most important element of our culture—our purpose—and have it be visible throughout the platform”


CIBC employees felt the impact of MomentMakers almost overnight. Leaders take ownership and offer meaningful recognition more frequently. Employees are recognized for daily efforts, big and small, instead of waiting for quarterly awards or perfunctory milestones.

Within a year of launch, the bank recorded high usage of the program and registered a huge shift in its recognition culture:

  • Over 215,000 recognition moments happened in 2021.
  • Over 70% of employees received individual recognition in the first year.
  • 88% of employees have logged into the system.
  • eCard usage increased 5x compared to the previous program.
  • Award nominations increased 9x compared to the previous program.

MomentMakers recognizes the entire employee lifecycle, from onboarding to daily great work, major accomplishments to career milestones. Recognition has become an integrated part of the entire employee experience and CIBC culture.

A chart showing that recognition integration increases as the frequency of recognition increases


In today’s highly competitive world, a structured, intentional employee recognition program is absolutely essential to create a stellar workplace culture. The art of appreciation has come a long way. Recognition is now very much a practice and discipline in its own right. Recognition is an impactful investment that helps people thrive at work and significantly improves business outcomes.

Culture Cloud offers more ways to recognize more people around the world than any other recognition platform. Schedule a demo today to see firsthand how it can transform community and culture at your company.