If you’ve ever hung around the water cooler chatting up human resources issues, there’s no doubt that employee engagement and recognition were discussed. With only 34% of U.S. employees engaged at work, according to Gallup, the majority of employees aren’t “cognitively or emotionally” connected, meaning they show up, do the minimum, and leave. That’s hardly a plan for profitability and growth.

Quite simply, engaged employees perform at higher levels. But how do you engage employees? One way is to build a culture of appreciation and recognition. According to LinkedIn, 69% of employees claim they would work harder if their employer recognized their efforts. And, younger generations demand it. Eighty percent of millennials prefer on-the-spot recognition as opposed to annual or bi-annual reviews.

More than 75% of recent survey respondents claimed that consistent and regular feedback is helpful, yet only 30% receive such support. Let’s look at three ways to build a culture of recognition, helping you boost your employees’ engagement as well as your bottom line.

  • Walk the TalkHuman resources professionals can emphasize the need for recognition all day long; however, to be truly effective, a culture of recognition must come from the top. Without buy-in from company leaders, recognition will fall flat.

    Business leaders must not only communicate the company’s values, such as appreciation and recognition, but they must also model this behavior. When leaders model recognition values, employees understand that this behavior is part of the company’s very fabric, not just empty words, according to HR Drive. When leaders walk the talk, the company’s culture will begin to shift, creating a positive, impactful workplace through recognition.
  • Celebrate Efforts, Not Just Results Often
    When establishing a reward-based culture, employers focus on end results. Was the project finished successfully? Did sales increase by 5% last quarter? Did the company launch a new product? All of these instances represent ideal times to recognize and reward those who contributed. However, not all efforts result in big wins, where others take months or years to achieve positive results.

    By rewarding early and often, employees receive valuable feedback about their performances along the way, ultimately improving the result. When recognizing employees, company leaders and managers should recognize specific behaviors, allowing employees to understand what actions are encouraged and expected. Through consistent recognition, your employees will feel seen, heard, and valued, directly contributing to their engagement and performance.
  • Listen and AdaptBuilding a culture of recognition is not a one-and-done event. To continually adapt to employees’ needs and well as the growth of the company, employers should talk to their employees (novel idea, huh?), asking them what works and what doesn’t.

    Each workplace is different. If a recognition program works for one location or business, that doesn’t mean it will work for another. Through communication and feedback, employers can tailor their recognition programs to the employees at one particular worksite, allowing for a personalized approach to regular feedback.
There’s no doubt that your employees are your most valuable asset. Creating a culture that instills recognition, appreciation, and gratitude will help your employees feel empowered, knowing that they matter.

Assembly is a peer to peer employee recognition platform where coworkers can easily recognize each other with meaningful messages and rewards, and companies can manage culture spend with a positive and justifiable ROI. Assembly has a 95% employee engagement and can be easily integrated with Slack. Grow and sustain your culture with Assembly. For more details, please visit Assembly.

About the Author, Jennifer Kiesewetter


Jennifer is the founding and managing member of Kiesewetter Law Firm, is a seasoned attorney in the field of employee benefits and welfare benefit plans. Her work has appeared in Forbes, and she's produced content for ADP, Anthem, LegalZoom, Teamable, eleap Software, and Sure Payroll, among many others. Jennifer has been awarded many achievements throughout her career:
  • U.S. News & World Report - Best Lawyers 2016-2018 "Best Law Firms." KLF has received a metropolitan tier 2 ranking designation in the practice areas of employee benefits (ERISA) law and litigation (ERISA).
  • The Best Lawyers in America – Litigation – ERISA: 2013-2018
  • The Best Lawyers in America – Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law: 2015-2018