18 Good Rewards & Recognition Quotes About Employee Value From Industry Leaders

December 15, 2022 Sarah Bloznalis
quotes about employee value

In today’s fast-paced work environment, there is always an opportunity to stop and appreciate employees for their hard work. Not only is it good for employee satisfaction and employee engagement, it’s also beneficial to the company’s bottom line.

So much so that many business leaders have trouble keeping this worthwhile investment to themselves.

In this article, we will take a look at recognition quotes about employee value from thought leaders that share just how important rewards and recognition are in moving your business forward.


Why is employee recognition necessary for company success?

How do you get your best work done?

While each person is different, you are likely at your best when you have the information and support you need, while also feeling trusted to accomplish the task at hand.

And it’s the same for your employees.

That being said, it isn’t much of a surprise to find out that there are many benefits to employee recognition. When employees feel like they have the support and trust of their employer, they produce better work and are more engaged.

And the best way to help employees feel valued and trusted is simple: value and trust them. Luckily, with an employee recognition program, it’s easy to show that to employees in real time.

As written by Workhuman’s CEO Eric Mosely and SVP of strategy and consulting Derek Irvine in their book, “Making Work Human”:

“Social recognition is the practice of people recognizing and rewarding each other’s efforts, using positive feedback to unlock human potential… It’s the foundation for creating a more human workplace because it reinforces shared purpose and gives individual meaning through gratitude.”

Eric Mosley quote on recognizing efforts to get satisfied employees and highly engaged employees

In the end, satisfied employees mean a stronger company brand, not to mention stronger financial statements. And it can have a huge impact on an employee’s motivation. What’s not to like?

So, now that we know why putting employees first is so important, let’s move on to the next step: how to make it happen in your own organization.

How to effectively show appreciation to leaders, employees, and teammates

There are millions of ways to show appreciation for an employee’s behavior and build human connection throughout your organization; a thank you note from satisfied customers, a gift card to celebrate a new talent contract, a pat on the back for better safety records, the list goes on.

And while many ‘thank you’s’ are absolutely free, recognition is most effective — and delivers the greatest return — when the organization is financially invested in a comprehensive, strategic social recognition program.

However you choose to recognize your people, the bottom line is this: When employees feel recognized, they are better equipped to thrive and realize sustainable success.

In order to make the most meaningful impact through recognition, however, there are five key elements that should be taken into consideration when building your strategy.

The 5 pillars of recognition

Treat people with kindness. Is recognition that simple? Not quite.

According to a recent Workhuman-Gallup report, “Unleashing the Human Element at Work: Transforming Workplaces Through Recognition,” for recognition to hit the mark, it must be specific, authentic, equitable, personalized, and embedded into company culture.

Download the report for FREE!

employee motivation leads to customer satisfaction


Recognition moments, while individualized and genuine, must create a consistent, reliable experience for employees across teams, departments, functions, and locations. For example, how much recognition is enough recognition?

From the Workhuman-Gallup report:

“The data show there is no such thing as “too much” recognition – as long as it’s genuine and appropriately given… More than 40% of employees [surveyed] view the right amount of recognition as a few times a week or more.”

quotes about good employees and how to prevent disengaged employees through recognition according to Gallup report


Employee recognition messages must be timely and be about something both the giver and recipients find meaningful.

From the same report:

“What makes recognition impactful is what it means to the individual… Yet, only about one-third of employees strongly agree the recognition they receive is authentic.”


While every award message should be unique and express gratitude, employees should be recognized in an equitable way – especially when it comes to monetary rewards.

As the Workhuman-Gallup reports states:

“Recognition can reflect inclusivity at an organization, or reveal underlying attitudes and biases with serious downstream repercussions. Just as importantly, where recognition is bestowed illustrates what — and who — an organization values.”


No two employees are alike, meaning each employee has their own personal brand. Within that, employees have different preferences on how or where they receive appreciation.

Despite this being relatively obvious, “only 10% of employees strongly agree they have been asked by someone at their current workplace how they like to be recognized.”

Embedded in the culture

Timely and consistent recognition must be weaved into employees’ immediate culture to build an intricate network of gratitude.

In the report, we asked the employees who report receiving recognition how it feels to work at an organization with a culture of recognition.

Among the answers:

  • “I think overall, having more of a culture of being recognized and knowing that people appreciate your work just in general is going to make me work harder.”
  • “A culture of gratitude has the amazing ability to bring people together and connect under a common goal.”

Hypothetically, these pillars seem easy to follow, yet even just having the opportunity to share sincere words at work isn’t a given.

Aptly explained by Science Director at the Greater Good Science Center, Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D.:

“One of the biggest problems with workplaces is how transactional they tend to be… In other words, I only work because I get paid for the hours that I work and I get rewarded for the accomplishments that I complete in the workplace. My motivation for that work diminishes. And that becomes less interesting, less meaningful, and less inspiring over time.”

disengaged employees break employee motivation - treat your employees well quotes from Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas

She continues: “My motivation for that work diminishes. And that becomes less interesting, less meaningful, and less inspiring over time.” Despite best intentions, without emotionally invested leaders and an environment that values connection, not all moments of recognition are created equal – nor will they have equal impact.

Employee recognition quotes about employee value from industry leaders

Now that we’ve gone over why appreciation at work is needed to cultivate great organizational cultures and the five pillars needed to sustain it, let’s hear from the leaders who shaped the concept into what it is today.

5 employee appreciation quotes from industry thought leaders

Here are five recognition quotes from thought leaders in the rewards and recognition arena on the importance of recognition.

Workhuman® CEO Eric Mosely on the Dare to Lead podcast:
“Thanks is gratitude, and it’s so much more powerful when it comes from peers. A simple ‘thank you’ creates a very authentic, human moment that matters for two individuals… Now, if you multiply that by tens of thousands of those occasions, just think of the social fabric, the deepened relationships, how everyone is lifted up.”
Meisha-ann Martin, Ph.D. in Workhuman’s Back to Basics series:
“My answer to people who ask, ‘should we just thank people for doing their jobs?’: Absolutely, yes, you should. Because every leader’s job is to coach their people. You say thank you to people for doing something that you want them to do, and guess what? They’ll repeat it.”
Brene Brown on the Dare to Lead podcast:
“When we create environments where we’re allowed to be who we are and be authentic and vulnerable, we create space for innovation, for real change and disruption. That is the key.”
Adam Grant at Workhuman Live Online 2021:
“A lot of people who are doing important work in organizations are going unrecognized and unnoticed… A lot of the critical work people do, especially if it’s not in their job description, is invisible to senior leaders. And it’s one of the reasons why peer recognition programs are so important.”
Cy Wakeman in “Life’s Messy, Live Happy: Things Don’t Have to Be Perfect for You to Be Content”:

“Gratitude fused with generosity expands the blessing. A practice of gratitude that fuels generosity can change other people’s lives in an impactful way. Breathe in gratitude, breathe out generosity. Repeat. A vital, virtuous cycle.”

even a brief interaction can create highly engaged employees with gratitude and generosity - Cy Wakeman on why you should treat all your employees great

4 recognition quotes from experts on the power of a few sincere words

While treating every employee in an organization as a whole person with unique ideas and strengths may sound daunting for companies with thousands of employees, it’s as simple as taking timely and accurate praise and turning it into a moment of recognition.

The best part is, anyone can do it!

Jason Lauritsen on the Workhuman Blog:
“If we hope to sustain employee performance and retention today and into the next year, we must support employee well-being more effectively than in the past. One of the most powerful ways to do this is to equip your managers and leaders with a new competency. It’s called compassion.”
Emiliana Simon-Thomas on Measures of Gratitude:

So, what are the tangible benefits of gratitude? People who are more grateful in that broader dispositional way are happier… their lives are better.

“They feel better more often than a person who scores lower on a measure of gratitude. They are less likely to report being disturbed by day-to-day hassles and physical discomforts… They’re less bothered by what’s going wrong in their lives.”
Dan Levy at Workhuman Live Atlanta 2022:
“I’ve come from a work experience previous to [Schitt’s Creek] that didn’t make me feel comfortable, safe or appreciated… When you feel that, you don’t go above and beyond because you feel you’re simply executing something someone is paying you to do. When I was given the privilege of being somebody’s boss – 147 people every season – it was fundamental that nobody on my team felt that sense of displacement or discomfort.”
Workhuman-Gallup from “Amplifying Wellbeing at Work and Beyond Through the Power of Recognition”:
“Recognition is a simple and effective way for managers and leaders to demonstrate that they genuinely care about employees, and see their hard work. In turn, this improves how employees feel about their jobs, their workplaces, and their lives overall.”

4 recognition quotes about the power of program data and analytics

Employee recognition messages are more than just words, they also act as powerful data sources to analyze a company’s workforce.

So, not only do recognition programs have a direct result on things like employee engagement, successful management, customer satisfaction, and team spirit, they also act as an analytical tool to measure your recognition program in order to determine the frequency, reach, and impact of gratitude, among other things.

Ready to go the extra mile?

Workhuman’s Social Recognition® platform not only acts as a foundation for a culture of gratitude, it also provides leaders with the insights they need to maintain an engaged and satisfied workforce.

Eric Mosely in “Making Work Human”:
“Data is the river that runs through everything.”
Meisha-ann Martin, Ph.D. in Authority Magazine:
“Our independent research here at Workhuman is showing that each way of working has its tradeoffs. The trick is to use data… so that the chosen way of working can be as successful as possible in terms of things like productivity, engagement, and connection. And then you use data and analytics again to make sure these outcomes are being achieved.”
Derek Irvine and Eric Mosely in Making Work Human:
“Data analysis can identify which interactions produce which benefits. It can produce ‘aha moments’ for HR and other leaders.”
Jesse Harriet for HRO Today:
“Artificial intelligence (AI) models that leverage predictive analytics help mitigate costs by providing vital data and information that can help leaders proactively retain new hires, objectively identify rising talent, and predict how likely it is that an employee will leave an organization. The data itself can originate from a recognition and continuous performance management platform, which —- in addition to increasing overall employee engagement by creating human moments that matter with gratitude-based awards —- helps executives see which people leaders, managers, and individual contributors are doing excellent work and building connections with their colleagues.”

5 recognition quotes on the ROI of a formal recognition program

If you’ve made it this far, you may already have hopped on the recognition bandwagon — and you’ll be in good company. For those who may need a bit more convincing, here are five quotes focusing on the return on investment (ROI) of recognition.

Simon Sinek via Twitter:

Workhuman research from “Two Years Into COVID: The State of Human Connection at Work”:

“It takes little to no budget — perhaps a shift in mindset — to give praise when you see someone doing something right, rather than waiting for a formal review.

People who were thanked within the previous month are:

  • Half as likely to be looking for a new job
  • More than 2x as likely to be highly engaged
  • More than 2x as likely to feel respected at work
  • More than 3x as likely to see a path to grow in the organization”
Jesse Harriet for HRO Today:
“An analysis of reward activity shows that when people receive 7 to 10 values-based awards per year (a rate of about one every 45 days) the likelihood of turnover can be cut in half. Recognizing new hires just a few times at the beginning of their tenure shows them they are valued, increases engagement and alignment, and helps prevent that costly early turnover.”
Meisha-ann Martin, Ph.D. in Back to Basics:
“Workhuman research says that people disproportionately want to work at, and are more likely to stay at, organizations where they feel like they are appreciated.”
Workhuman-Gallup research from “Unleashing the Human Element at Work: Transforming Workplaces Through Recognition”:
“Creating a culture of recognition can save a 10,000-employee company up to $16.1 million in turnover annually.”


disengaged employees break employee motivation


Gratitude is just a human need, it’s as simple as that. And, as seen from the quotes above, gratitude is good for business, too.

These quotes from thought leaders show how deep gratitude — in its most exquisite form — can move the needle on business metrics across the board, including increased productivity, higher customer satisfaction, and more satisfied employees.

Now all that’s left is to bring these learnings into your own organization.

Ready to discover how a culture of appreciation can impact your business?

With the help of Workhuman Cloud, building — and sustaining — that kind of culture is easier and more impactful than ever.