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Employee Rewards and Recognition for Culture Change

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Employee Rewards and Recognition for Culture Change

The short and sweet answer to this question is an absolute yes! Provided the desired behaviors that should be a part of the organizational culture are mapped correctly and employee rewards and recognition are used to reinforce them. It can be one of the most effective tools for creating and transforming organizational culture.

Employee Rewards and Recognition for Culture Change

Example 1: Creating a Culture of Honesty and Hardwork

Factory Worker

Let’s take an example – as an organization if you want to create a culture of honesty and hard work, you might want to formally recognize employees who had the option of not being fully honest in the course of their work by taking the easy way out but decided to stay on the right path even if that meant putting in a lot more effort and maybe even a slight delay in achieving their goals.

Such examples can help build integrity and transparency within the organization. Employees will be less inclined to take shortcuts to achieve their goals. Hence, recognizing such employees can go a long way in creating such a culture.

Example 2: Leaving the Workplace on Time

An HR Guide to Recognizing Millennials at Work

Another example could be an organization that wants to discourage employees from staying in the office till late either because they are inefficient or they want to impress their superiors. If the organization recognizes genuinely efficient employees, they consistently complete their work on time and leave the office on time.

While it might be hard to rank and stack employees based on their efficiency, there could be a self-nomination process and the claims of the nominees could be easily validated based on feedback from their managers and the attendance system data.

Example 3: Building a Culture of Innovation


An organization that is looking to build a culture of innovation where employees are keen to explore, fail (if need be), and learn, then such instances should be recognized. Such recognition motivates employees to try out new ideas and methods. This can ultimately result in new product ideas and process improvements.

Employee recognition can be an effective tool to drive cultural changes in an organization. It can help reinforce certain behaviors that the organizations want their employees to display.


Our view is that employee rewards and recognition can play a pivotal role in initiating a change in the organization’s culture.  It is really basic human nature to gravitate towards behaviors rather than giving them the maximum benefits. 

Organizations should include behavior or value-based recognition in their employee programs in addition to the general outcome-based recognition – that’s our recommendation.

Sagar Chaudhuri

Lead author: Sagar Chaudhuri, the Co-Founder and CEO of HiFives. He is an HR Tech Evangelist with over 25 years of experience in the corporate world and entrepreneurship. In the past, Sagar has worked with companies such as Genpact, Infosys, and ICICI Bank, in leadership roles. 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.