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Crafting a Culture of Real Recognition

Creating a culture of real recognition isn’t something that can be done overnight. It takes a consistent and thorough approach to allow these systems to flourish. A few questions come about when establishing a culture of real recognition, and one of the first to answer sounds simple. When and for what should employees be recognized?

When to Recognize

Let’s start with when. Many companies will point toward the major milestones such as retirement, years of service, or some variance of numerical achievements. When your top salesperson hits two million dollars a plaque honoring such a feat is called for. Moments such as these do not come around more than once in a career, so to enshrine these for the achievers with awards and some amount of spectacle is appropriate.

Go beyond the retirement cake (though certainly don’t forget it!) and show your employees that you truly appreciate those who give a 110%. Ensuring every major moment feels special spurs others to aspire for these great achievements for themselves. This contributes to the recognition culture in your workplace by creating significant pillars to build around. These milestone celebrations become a shining example for others to follow.

Incorporating Peer-to-Peer

Once you’ve established consistent milestone recognition, the next step is to encourage real recognition amongst your employees. If celebrating major milestones creates pillars of recognition culture, peer to peer recognition creates the foundation. It is vital to make peer-to-peer recognition commonplace for a culture of real recognition to take hold.

By engaging in peer-to-peer recognition you create a culture that doesn’t treat small assists or brief bursts of exceptional work as ignorable. Even the tiniest care shown to another employee could spark them to reward you with a badge or ecard simply to show they appreciate you giving them the time of day. As this becomes the norm in your organization, you develop a web of engagement that feels natural. Individuals feel more seen and your employees develop stronger bonds with each other.

So what should peers be praising each other for? It sounds more complicated than it is. Employees acknowledge each other for anything that is helpful or appreciated. Did a coworker help you solve a problem, even if only by prodding about it in a way that made you see it differently? That’s a great time to say thanks with a digital badge on a social platform, such as Carousel. Did another coworker put in some extra effort to complete a task on time? Fantastic opportunity to call out their positive behavior, throwing a badge and some points their way while also placing a brief spotlight on their accomplishment.

Between major milestones and peer-to-peer recognition, your organization will quickly create a culture where recognizing each and every special moment, no matter how small, is standard. By combining the two you make the possibility for stagnation much less likely. Day-to-day recognition from peers is highly flexible, while the celebration of major milestones takes a more rigid but spectacular role.

Tie all of these into your company’s purpose and you create a pipeline of real recognition that encourages employees to embrace your values. A few examples might include peer-to-peer acknowledgment citing integrity or perseverance for above and beyond work, retitling your employee of the month award to a “Values All-Star” award, or simply tying ecards on your social platform to company values. Integrating your values into the recognition environment you create familiarizes and normalizes them to your employees as they learn to embrace your values in new, exciting ways.

Remember When You’re Thankful

When trying to remember when, where, and why to recognize people in your organization, remember a simple concept. Did what they do make you feel thankful? Anything from a loaned pen to a lifelong company commitment to hard work creates varying levels of thankfulness. Convert that feeling into badges, ecards, and personalized awards to give a tangible token of real recognition to the people who make you thankful. Step by step this will bring your organization positivity, productivity, and purpose-driven culture reinforced by your milestone pillars and your peer-to-peer foundation.

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