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Create a Culture of Recognition to Drive Engagement, Improve Retention, and Increase Profitability

Establish informal recognition to create a high-return culture of recognition.

  • According to a 2013 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Globoforce, 81% of organizations currently have a recognition program.
  • Despite the prevalence of recognition programs, employees want more recognition than they currently receive:
    • “52% of employed workers do not feel their efforts are recognized or valued” (WorldatWork).
    • 65% of Americans surveyed had received no recognition in the preceding year (Gallup Organization).
    • 85% of employees feel overworked and underappreciated (Dr. B. Nelson).

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Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Recognition is a significant employee engagement driver. For every 10% increase in recognition:
    • The engagement score increases by 3.6%
    • The performance commitment score increases by 4.7%
    • The intent to stay score increases by 10%

Impact and Result

  • Clearly, the existence of a recognition program isn’t enough. The program must be widely used to create business benefits. To realize benefits and maintain them, you must create a culture of recognition.
  • Recognition doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. Appreciation is more effective in impacting key behaviors and performance.
  • To create a culture of recognition, empower people to recognize one another on an ad-hoc basis. This will ingrain the notion of appreciation. Therefore, the best way to create a culture of recognition is by developing training & support and providing resources for informal recognition.

Create a Culture of Recognition to Drive Engagement, Improve Retention, and Increase Profitability Research & Tools

1. Make the case for recognition

Get buy-in for recognition initiatives by outlining the extensive business benefits.

2. Discover the keys to effective recognition

Form a recognition project team and drive home the eight keys to successful recognition.

3. Design recognition initiatives

Isolate key behaviors, set nomination criteria, layer recognition initiatives, set a budget, and create a measurement baseline with an engagement survey to ensure optimal results.

4. Operationalize recognition initiatives

Set guidelines, create a communication plan, train managers, and plan for ongoing measurement to ensure long-term success.

Workshop: Create a Culture of Recognition to Drive Engagement, Improve Retention, and Increase Profitability

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Create a Culture of Recognition

The Purpose

  • Understand the rationale for recognition, as well as how to create a strong foundation for a culture of recognition.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Uncover the substantial benefits of recognition.
  • Discover the eight keys to recognition success – and the basis for a recognition culture. 




Focus on the day-to-day and informal recognition that create a culture of recognition

  • Agenda

Understand the keys to successfully building recognition into our culture

  • How the keys to recognition can be applied in your organization

Module 2: Select and Operationalize Recognition Initiatives

The Purpose

  • Design informal recognition initiatives that target key behaviors and train managers to apply liberally.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Identify behaviors to be recognized.
  • Establish nomination and selection criteria.
  • Select appropriate types of recognition.
  • Set a recognition budget.
  • Use the engagement survey to track recognition outcomes.
  • Assess if online recognition is right for your organization.
  • Establish recognition guidelines.
  • Get ready for manager training.
  • Document a communication plan.




What behaviors should we recognize?

  • Identified behaviors

Establish nomination and selection criteria

  • Documented nomination and selection criteria

Drive a recognition culture by layering all four common day-to-day and informal recognition types

  • Documented appropriate types of recognition

Decide on a recognition budget based on either a percentage of salaries or a cost calculation

  • Established budget

Establish informal recognition to create a high-return culture of recognition.

About McLean & Company

McLean & Company is an HR research and advisory firm providing practical solutions to human resources challenges via executable research, tools, diagnostics, and advisory services that have a clear and measurable impact on your business.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your HR problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 1-phase advisory process. You'll receive 3 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

  • Call 1: Make the case and discover the keys to effective recognition

    We will discuss the many business benefits of recognition; how to create a culture of recognition through informal recognition initiatives; how to gain stakeholder buy-in for employee recognition programs; and the keys to recognition success.

  • Call 2: Design recognition initiatives

    We will discuss setting a foundation for recognition initiatives; isolating key behaviors and setting nomination criteria; layering day-to-day and informal recognition; the superiority of non-cash awards; setting a recognition budget and planning for taxation;and how to measure recognition success.

  • Call 3: Operationalize recognition initiatives

    We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of an online platform; establishing recognition guidelines; creating a communication plan; training managers to effectively recognize; planning for ongoing measurement.


Webinar expert panelists

  • Cal Barber, Founder and Principal, Cal Barber Consulting
  • Chuck Csizmar, Founder and Principal, CMC Compensation Group


  • Joseph Chan, Senior Manager of Benefits, Wal-Mart Canada
  • Rose Douglass, Executive Vice President & Director of HR, Central Bank and Trust Co.
  • Julie Lockington, Recognition Specialist, Region of York
  • Michael Rose, Rewards Consultant & Author