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AI-Powered Insights: Understanding Employee Recognition

Organizations must recognize their employees’ exemplary achievements and beneficial business actions. To this end, we at HiFives analyzed what employees are recognized for in their organizations using AI tools and techniques. The results of this analysis were quite exciting and intuitive. So, let’s walk you through the analysis and the insights that we garnered from this exercise.

Methodology and Key Findings

What Motivates Gen Z Employees

To do this, we examined about 250,000 messages of recognition sent to employees by their managers and co-workers through the HiFives platform.

Sample Recognition Messages

In fact, these recognition messages are from 50+ organizations across different industries and geographies.

They relate to various types of recognition, such as manager-nominated and peer-to-peer recognition, formal and informal recognition, planned and unplanned, or spot recognition.

We analyzed them using various AI tools and techniques, such as Natural Language Processing (NLP)

So, here’s a summary of the steps that we followed: 

Methodology for AI Analysis of Recognition Messages

Finally, we identified only 9 categories and 33 subcategories of achievements for which employees were recognized

What are Employees Recognized for?

Employee Recognition

So, here are the 9 categories of achievements recognized: 

Employee Achievements Recognized

1. Enhanced Customer Satisfaction

Customer Satisfaction

The following employee achievements related to improving customer satisfaction were recognized:

Enhanced customer satisfaction leads to positive outcomes, benefiting organizations through increased loyalty, revenue, and reputation while improving internal operations and employee morale.

2. Boosted Financial Performance

Financial Performance

The following employee achievements to boost the financial performance of the organization were recognized:

Essentially, a boost in financial performance gives organizations the resources and flexibility to innovate, expand, and improve, ultimately leading to sustained growth and success.

3. Successful Project or Work Delivery

Project Delivery

The following employee achievements related to successful project or work delivery were recognized:

In fact, successful project or work delivery is a cornerstone of organizational success.

It drives customer satisfaction, financial performance, operational efficiency, and strategic growth and builds a solid foundation for reputation, market opportunities, and long-term sustainability.

4. Demonstrated Adaptability or Innovation

Adaptability and Innovation

The following employee achievements related to the demonstration of adaptability or innovation were recognized:

In summary, adaptability and innovation provide organizations with the tools and capabilities to stay competitive, satisfy customers, grow revenues, enhance operational efficiency, engage employees, manage risks, build a strong reputation, and ensure long-term viability.

These benefits collectively contribute to the organization’s overall success and sustainability.

5. Impactful Leadership or Teamwork

Teamwork and Leadership

The following employee achievements related to leadership or teamwork were recognized:

Impactful leadership and teamwork are foundational to an organization’s success. They drive productivity, innovation, employee satisfaction, and retention while fostering a positive organizational culture and ensuring sustainable growth.

Hence, these elements create a resilient, efficient, and competitive organization.

6. Effective Stakeholder Management

Stakeholder Management

The following employee achievements related to effective stakeholder management were recognized:

Effective stakeholder management enhances trust, improves decision-making, mitigates risks, and fosters innovation, contributing to an organization’s overall success and sustainability.

It also ensures that the organization’s goals stay aligned with stakeholder expectations, leading to better support, improved reputation, and long-term growth.

7. Effective Problem-Solving


The following employee achievements related to effective problem-solving were recognized:

In summary, effective problem-solving enhances efficiency, reduces costs, improves quality, and fosters innovation, all contributing to an organization’s overall success and sustainability.

It strengthens team collaboration, employee engagement, customer relationships, and organizational reputation while ensuring compliance and supporting sustainable growth.

8. Impactful Learning and Development

Learning and Development

The following achievements related to impactful learning and development for what employees are recognized for:

Learning and development benefits organizations by enhancing employee performance, engagement, and retention, fostering innovation, improving customer satisfaction, and providing a strategic advantage.

It supports adaptability, leadership development, compliance, and overall organizational performance, contributing to long-term success and sustainability.

9. Enhanced Company Reputation

Company Reputation

The following achievements related to the enhancement of the company’s reputation for what employees were recognized for:

In summary, enhanced company reputation drives customer loyalty, attracts top talent, increases sales and revenue, fosters better investor and partner relations, and provides a competitive edge.

It also supports operational efficiency, innovation, crisis management, and market expansion, contributing to long-term success and sustainability.

Bottomline: How can these insights help?

Top Management

So, understanding what employees are recognized for is one of the first steps in fine-tuning existing employee recognition programs.

Here are a few thoughts:

It can help organizations reexamine their employee recogniton policies to identify gaps and opportunities, redefine recognition criteria, and re-align policies with critical business objectives and metrics.

How can analysis of Recognition Messages help
Sagar Chaudhuri

Lead author: Sagar Chaudhuri, the Co-Founder and CEO of HiFives. He is an HR Tech Evangelist with over 25 years of corporate and entrepreneurship experience. In the past, Sagar has worked in leadership roles with companies such as Genpact, Infosys, and ICICI Bank. He has an engineering degree from IIT Kharagpur and an MBA from IIM Lucknow. Connect on LinkedIn

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HiFives is a global employee rewards, recognition and engagement SaaS platform that enables organizations to digitize, automate and transform their employee experience. It is used by 100+ large enterprises, small businesses and startups in manufacturing, retail, technology, financial services and media, across 25+ countries.