What goes around, comes around: A take on employee recognition

What goes around, comes around: A take on employee recognition

Have you ever pondered on what truly motivates an employee at their workplace? Of course, different people have varying priorities, such as one’s salary and benefits or work hours, but there may be underlying factors that employers might not even realise are the key to a low turnover and a cohesive company culture.

Employee recognition in itself is quite a simple notion. The concept is based on recognising your fellow colleagues for a job well done. This small gesture in turn, reinforces several behaviours and practices through positive reinforcement, leading to a constructive workplace environment. We must all realise that being acknowledged is a form of respect that motivates us to want to do better.

The power of positive feedback is one that has often been discussed from a psychological perspective. We as human beings thrive off needing to be valued, seen, and appreciated as so we are able to feel worthy and recognised. This very much plays into our professional lives as in reality, this is where we spend 65% of our time. A company’s culture can be built on the employee’s respect which successively creates a common goal that everyone would work towards.

There are many benefits to creating a personalised employee experience, such as motivating employees to do their best (as to attain a certain standard of work within the company) or bettered employee retention, resulting in a lower turn over and longer lasting workplace relationships. These two factors, paired with positive and personalized work relationships, create a more cohesive and closer work environment that employees thrive in. Lastly, efficient performance, in turn, results in enhanced skills through continuous practice, leading to improved productivity of the company.

There are several ways to show employee appreciation and recognition, such as offering a word of thanks upon a finished task. Continuous improvement and dedication can also be awarded with certain physical gifts such as a personalised card, voucher or even a performance bonus. Every token of appreciation counts. Respect can even be showed by acknowledging extra effort that was put into a project or even approaching an employee regarding their progress and offering a helping hand. Creating a company culture that promotes such a notion can also lead to boosted employee morale and productivity.

Implementation of such a notion is quite simple to execute, especially with an employee recognition plan set in place. One must ensure that when passing on a word of appreciation, it should be timely, as so it truly carries meaning with it.  The devil is in the details when it comes to providing feedback, therefore one must be specific with the words given. The appreciation must actually be tied to an achievement rather than them being empty words as to truly make a difference within the company culture.

During a study conducted by misco, employees were asked what company values appeal to them the most.  Employee Orientation and Recognition was the most popular option, coming first at 69%! This shows how companies should create personalized experiences for their employees which will in turn help build a unified culture as and attract prospective candidates (Job Seekers’ Behaviour and Expectations, 2021, misco).

Positive reinforcement starts from base, specifically one’s company culture. Once the foundation of engagement and recognition is built, a culture of skill improvement, retention and people development is created.


Thea Bharwani Scicluna, Trainee Executive