Attitude of Gratitude: How 5 Companies Regularly Recognize Employee Efforts

While a coworker shoutout on Slack or a “job well done” from a manager may grant some momentary warm and fuzzies, it takes time to truly develop a robust culture of employee recognition. 

Companies that have adopted an attitude of gratitude, however, are finding that these efforts are well worth the investment. 

Studies show that employee recognition, from both peers and managers, significantly impacts team members’ day-to-day operations and long-term career journeys. In a study of organizations with recognition platforms, Deloitte found that employee productivity, performance and engagement were 14 percent higher compared to companies without these programs. According to SurveyMonkey, 63 percent of employees who feel recognized at work are unlikely to look for a new job. 

At the five companies featured below, leaders are committed to making space for and investing in initiatives that validate employees and acknowledge their professional contributions. Before celebrating individuals, these leaders get to know whether their team members prefer to receive kudos one-on-one, in small groups or publicly at all-hands meetings. 

The leaders — from  Attain, CraftyKalderosFusion Risk Management, and Inspirant Group — also stressed that recognition should be timely, specific, consistent and authentic. They connected with Built In Chicago to share these tips and more on the art of appreciation. 

Carmen Meister


 How do you and other leaders at your company recognize employees for their hard work?

One of the benefits of working for a company of our size is the opportunity to collaborate regularly with folks outside of your immediate team. This level of visibility is so rewarding. We are able to see how different parts of the organization are all critical in moving the business forward and advancing our mission.

Over time, we’ve created several ways to recognize and give visibility across the organization. First, is through our companywide Slack channels; this is a really easy way to give visibility and celebrate accomplishments. We have one channel called “Living our values,” where anyone can tag a teammate that did something that aligns with our company values or mission.

Second, is during our cross-functional weekly meetings; our sales team has a weekly meeting, during which we ask folks to present a project or win to the entire team. Giving people an opportunity to showcase something that they are proud of or invested a lot of energy into helps create a culture of sharing, collaboration and feedback.

Giving people an opportunity to showcase something that they are proud of or invested a lot of energy into helps create a culture of sharing, collaboration and feedback.”

As a leader, how do you encourage a culture of recognition on your team?

As leaders, it’s our responsibility to create space for sharing and collaboration. Outside of companywide meetings that tend to focus more on passing along operational information, we dedicate 30 minutes each week to our immediate teams to share projects, celebrate wins and ask questions. Showcasing and celebrating the important work we do together is a core motion that every organization should incorporate. 

One of the things that I always try to do is identify ways that one person’s work can benefit others on the team. Leaders have the luxury of visibility into all parts of the organization, and we can see how to scale someone’s impact outside of their direct purview. Recognizing and celebrating your team’s work is important, but the cherry on top is when that work together helps everyone rise.

When it comes to giving meaningful employee recognition, what is the most important best practice? 

There are three things that are always top of mind for me as I’m supporting and leading teams. One, it is my responsibility to regularly create space to highlight people’s impact on the team, our partners and business. Two, we need to share feedback in the moment when something goes well and progress is made against goals. Three, remain focused on identifying ways to illuminate how one person’s work benefits others on the team or organization.

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