Employee Recognition is the Future of Workplace Culture

Employee Recognition is the Future of Workplace Culture

Competitive pay, benefits, and flexibility all influence employees’ contentment and productivity in the workplace; however, recent studies show that employee recognition is potentially the most important.

In the corporate world, it’s easy to feel like a little fish in a big pond. Employees drive a business, but they are also people who work hard and like to be recognized for that work. One article from Thrive Global discusses the fact that many workers nowadays value employee recognition as one of the biggest factors for staying at a job—and working towards a company’s success.

Employee recognition is difficult to define. Some workers describe it as allowing them to use their strength, not treating them like faceless robots, and not letting others’ egos overshadow colleagues. The article even notes that some might argue that not providing flexible working opportunities where possible could be a failure to recognize individuals, too.

Employee recognition really goes hand-in-hand with employee engagement. Many sources will tell you that when your employees are engaged and committed, a company is much more like to thrive.

“Organizations that are the best in engaging their employees achieve earnings-per-share growth that is more than four times that of their competitors,” according to a Gallup article. “Our research among millions of employees worldwide shows that firms that score highest for engagement achieve 2.5 times the revenue growth of those that rate lowest.”

However, the importance of engaged and recognized employees is not always valued the same in every hierarchy level of a company. In 2012, Deloitte found that “83 percent of executives and 84 percent of employees rank having engaged and motivated employees as the top factor that substantially contributes to a company’s success.” However, there was a disparity between what elements executives and employees identified as impacting workplace culture.

Executives identified elements like “financial performance (65 percent) and competitive compensation (62 percent)” whereas employees pointed to “candid communications (50 percent), [and] employee recognition (49 percent).”

While pay, bonuses, and perks are all part of the happy-employee equation, a culture of employee recognition is just as important—if not more. Employees want to understand how they are valued within an organization and team. Employees want to feel like they are contributing towards something that matters to them.

In the thought leadership piece titled “The New Rules of Employee Engagement,” Korn Ferry discusses six megatrends that are “fundamentally changing how we work, what we care about in the workplace, and what we need from our employers.”

One megatrend is “individualism.” Korn Ferry emphasizes that money will no longer be the main influence on life and career decisions. Employees are prioritizing other things like fulfillment, meaning, self-development, recognition, and work-life balance.” Really, employers need to start focuses more on the individual and employee engagement if they want to improve company performance.

What’s the key to employee engagement, however? Open communication.

The Thrive Global article explains that managers need to know their staff on an individual level. One-to-one dialogue is critical, conversations are so important, and open communications allows managers and employees to understand one another on a personal (non-business) level.


Any workplace culture should value the very force that keeps a company afloat: the employees. This means making sure employees are heard, listened to, and valued. This means fostering employee engagement and employee recognition.

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