Building a culture of appreciation

Recognizing and Rewarding Employee Contributions: Building a Culture of Appreciation 

Building a culture of employee appreciation in today’s dynamic and competitive business world has become integral to many organizations/businesses. Statistics show that organizations with recognition programs have lower voluntary turnover than those without; nearly 52.5% of employees want more recognition from their immediate manager. More importantly, organizations with refined recognition programs are 12 times more likely to have strong business outcomes. It clearly indicates that employee recognition and reward is changing and needed more than before, especially in today’s new era of work where Millenials, Gen X and Gen Z dominate the workforce. 

What is the meaning of employee appreciation? Employee appreciation is the act of recognizing, acknowledging and rewarding employees’ contributions, efforts or achievements to an organization through formal or informal channels. Let’s explore the importance of employee recognition and rewards and practical ways of building a culture of employee appreciation. 

Why Employee Recognition and Rewarding Matters? 

Recognizing and rewarding employees has many benefits for employees and businesses. They include: 

  • Encourages high performance: There is the possibility that one is likely to perform better or go the extra mile in their work when someone recognizes or rewards their efforts. Deloitte cites that organizations that regularly use recognition see 14% more productivity and performance from their employees than those without. 
  • Boosts employees’ self-esteem and sense of belonging: Recognizing and rewarding employees makes them feel appreciated, respected and connected to their organization. It also boosts their self-esteem. High employee self-esteem and sense of belonging indicate better job satisfaction. 
  • Increases employee engagement: Employee recognition is one tool that increases employee engagement and significantly impacts their performance, productivity, and overall business profitability. A study on the impact of recognition in the workplace showed that employees who receive great recognition are 20 times more likely to be engaged than those who receive poor recognition.   
  • Improved employee retention rate: Employee appreciation makes employees feel valued and acknowledged, thus encouraging them to remain with their employer for a long time. Briefly, employees who feel appreciated tend to be more loyal to their employers: employees who receive regular recognition are 7 times more likely to stay with their current employer for at least a year. 
  • Helps create a better culture in the workplace: Employee recognition and rewards have a great impact on a company’s culture. First, it creates a supportive environment for employees. It also fosters a spirit of mutual respect among employees. More importantly, it helps employees build a sense of security in their value to the organization. 


How to Build a Culture of Employee Appreciation

As outlined earlier, employee appreciation has emerged to be quite vital. However, employee appreciation should never be a one-time event but a continuous process to enhance its effectiveness. Therefore, building a culture of recognition and reward is quite essential. Here are five practical tips and ways to create a culture of employee appreciation in the workplace. 

  • Frequent acknowledgement of employees’ achievements/milestones

Celebrating employees’ small and big achievements or milestones regularly at work is quite essential. It creates a sense of motivation and fosters positive behavior where employees are recognized for their hard work. To ensure consistent acknowledgement of employees, you may opt to automate the process, especially where many employees are involved. 

There are different ways of recognizing employees’ achievements, from giving a shout-out at a meeting, posting on the company’s social media or communication platform and personalized emails from immediate managers to offering various rewards. 

  • Encourage peer-to-peer recognition 

Manager recognition has the largest impact on employees in most organizations. However, if leaders are the only ones responsible for appreciating employees’ efforts and achievements, there is a chance that a lot of great work may go unnoticed. Therefore, peer-to-peer recognition helps create an environment where recognition and acknowledgement flow in all directions, especially among employees. Statistics show that about 41% of employees want to be recognized by a peer. 

  • Timely recognition 

Timely employee recognition is critical to the success and effectiveness of recognition programs in an organization. Employees should be acknowledged as soon as possible after their achievement or contribution. 

Why does timely recognition matter anyway? First, it’s an excellent way to reinforce the connection between their achievement and the appreciation they receive. Secondly, it can motivate employees to repeat desired performance/behavior and encourage their colleagues to do the same. Lastly, it drives motivation for meaningful work. 

  • Offer meaningful and personalized awards 

Building a culture of appreciation is more than just acknowledging and rewarding employees. Employers must design a recognition program/system that offers meaningful rewards: provide employees with rewards that significantly impact them. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. 

Additionally, a good employee recognition program should cater to their employees’ diverse needs and preferences. Usually, when employees receive a reward that resonates with them, they are more likely to feel valued and motivated.

  • Embrace employee recognition on social media 

While some organizations are yet to figure out how to incorporate social media in their HR policies, employee recognition on social media is something most organizations are embracing. Why use social media? It offers a great channel for building relationships and engaging with employees. In addition, social media platforms are among the most effective venues for recognizing employee efforts and achievements, especially in today’s work environment. 

On the other hand, employee recognition on social media could expose confidential information about an employee or related project. Also, some employees may not really like that kind of recognition. Therefore, knowing what to post and establishing the necessary parameters is important. 


Final Thought 

Building a culture of appreciation where employee is recognized and rewarded for their efforts and achievements is extremely important. It improves employee morale, engagement, performance and retention. It also fosters a supportive work environment for employees. 

The best part is that building such a culture isn’t complex. Start by ensuring you offer employees frequent/continuous, and timely recognition for their hard work and achievements on social setups and social media platforms. It’s also good if you give employees personalized and meaningful rewards.