Cultures of Recognition Don’t Create Themselves

May 28, 2015

by Traci Pesch

Recognize This! – Leadership, involvement by all, and strong communications are critical to making recognition and appreciation part of the daily rhythm of work.

During my career at Globoforce, I’ve had the pleasure of working with dozens of companies across nearly every industry type. While my role is consult with and guide them on their recognition journey, I’ve also learned from them over the years.

One of my current customers is a great example of this. They’ve taken to heart our critical message about the importance of metrics to measure success in achieving their ambitions for recognition, sending out weekly metrics scorecards and key learnings to the core recognition culture team.

One such recent scorecard highlighted key learnings as they’ve achieved a milestone in social recognition availability. We see these key learnings across customers as they are fundamental for most any company to achieve their own ambitions for recognition.

Here they are as reported by our customer along with my own additional comments.

Key Learnings

1) “Building a culture of daily recognition and appreciation

It doesn’t happen overnight. [Our recognition program] puts the power of thanks into the hands of our employees (or into their mobile devices).”

All employees must feel they own the responsibility of sharing recognition, appreciation and praise with their peers, colleagues and superiors. True “everyone-to-everyone” recognition is the foundation for building a culture of daily recognition, which encourages everyone to “catch someone doing something good” and thank them for it. When everyone’s involved, achieving a true culture of recognition happens much more quickly.

2) “[Recognition program] adoption, as measured by unique nominators and unique recipients, is highest when senior leaders express, model, and reinforce the importance of recognition.

  When senior leaders use [the recognition program] to recognize employees, we see increased usage.”

The number one item in the blueprint for successful social recognition is “The Tempo Starts at the Top.” Executive and leadership modeling of the recognition behaviors desired from all employees is the most effective way to communicate to everyone, “This matters to our success. It’s important. Take a few minutes to notice the great work happening around you and thank your colleagues for it.”

3)“Senior leaders who have used [the recognition program] to recognize employees have been surprised and amazed to receive heartfelt thank-you responses.”

Recognition and appreciation quickly becomes a virtuous circle with those receiving praise reaching back out to those who recognized them to express gratitude for “having been noticed.” The power of thanks is palpable, especially when you know the boss sees and values you and your work.

4)Communication is key to success.

  When we use well-placed messaging, we see an immediate increase in [recognition program] usage.

A well-structured social recognition program is a font of great news and stories to share beyond the system to continually communicate and reinforce desired behaviors and the importance of celebrating others. Establishing a strategic communications and change management plan then executing against it flawlessly ensures recognition becomes “just a way we do business around here.”

As Derek Irvine recently mentioned, if you’re constantly talking about your culture rather than pointing it out as you see it happening around you, then you likely haven’t achieved the culture your truly seeking to create.

These key learnings help make your desired recognition culture a reality that’s easy to see blossoming around you every day. What other ways do you see your culture of recognition coming alive?


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