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Integrating Employee Recognition with Organizational Culture

One of the most important factors that employees today consider while deciding on where to work is the organization’s culture. Integrating employee recognition with the organizational culture can make the organization attractive to prospective employees and help retain top talent.

Importance Of Organizational Culture

What are the Key Benefits of Effective Employee Recognition Programs?

Organizational culture is the umbrella term used to define the core values, beliefs, work environment, and workforce behaviors of an organization.

It is deeply influenced by various external factors including company size, industry, national cultures and traditions, economic trends, and even international trade.

Advent of Customer-driven Employee Rewards System

It is also expressed in different ways, ranging from the way business decisions are made and implemented, to how the employees work and interact with customers and with each other.

Workhuman Survey Report found that in organizations having a values-based recognition program, employees are much more likely to embrace the core values and behave accordingly.  On the other hand, when there’s no recognition program at all, employees are much more likely to not even be aware of the core values.

Having a good organizational culture is extremely important as it impacts almost every aspect of the business.

Event-based Employee Recognition

In addition to influencing employee performance and productivity, the culture also has a lasting impact on hiring and retention goodwill, and profitability.

Importantly, organizational culture plays a decisive role in defining the organization’s ideology and business practices.

Impact Of Employee Recognition On Organizational Culture

Employee recognition is one of the key contributors to building a great and progressive organizational culture.

When organizations reward and recognize employees for their hard work and desirable behavior, they establish the foundation for a culture of appreciation.

Most importantly, rewards and recognition impact different aspects of the workforce, which help in strengthening organizational culture:

1. Enhances Employee Motivation Levels

2. Boosts Collaboration And Teamwork

3. Improves Employee Relations

4. Reinforces Core Values


1. Enhances Employee Motivation Levels

Advent of Customer-driven Employee Rewards System

Spot awards and other forms of recognition play a significant role in keeping employees motivated.

It assures the employees that their efforts and contributions are well appreciated and valued. This gives employees a sense of pride and contentment.

Hence, they are inspired to continue their good work and behavior.  

This helps in creating a positive organizational culture.

2. Boosts Collaboration And Teamwork


Also, recognizing employees collectively for their contribution to the business helps in boosting the sense of teamwork among employees.

Hence, team awards and recognition help in strengthening their sense of belonging to the team and the organization.

Therefore, it encourages employees to cooperate and coordinate with their co-workers to achieve their business goals.

3. Improves Employee Relations

Top Management Role in Employee Rewards and Recognition

Additionally, rewards and recognition help to improve employee relations and help build a strong organizational culture.

Both manager and peer-to-peer recognition help enhance trust and camaraderie between members of the workforce.

Therefore, it eliminates any negative sentiments and enables them to work together with their supervisors and peers toward common business goals.

4. Reinforces Core Values

Converting Organizational Core Values into Tangible Behaviours

Also, rewards and recognition can help promote positive behaviors in the organization.

It motivates them to integrate the core values and ethics of the organization into day-to-day work and behavior.

Hence, this helps in building the desired culture across the organization.

A pioneering brand in the radio space with a network across 30 cities, owned by a large media conglomerate is leveraging the HiFives platform to run its peer-to-peer recognition program based on the company core values across its workforce, comprising of radio jockeys, programming staff, sales and marketing personnel and other functional staff.

Best Practices Of Integrating Employee Recognition With Organizational Culture

An employee rewards and recognition program has a profound and lasting impact on the organizational culture.

Hence, organizations need to understand the most effective ways of leveraging recognition to build culture.

Here are 6 best practices that can prove helpful for organizations: 

1. Encourage Spot Recognition

2. Promote Peer-to-Peer Recognition

3. Drive Social Recognition

4. Utilize Digital Recognition Platforms

5. Provide Monetary Rewards

6Involve The Top Management

Best ways of building Organizational Culture through Recognition

1. Encourage Spot Recognition

Non-monetary Awards for Employees can work great

Encouraging managers and supervisors to recognize employees on the spot for their good work and behavior can go a long way in creating a positive organizational culture.

It ensures that the employees do not have to wait weeks or even months before they are appreciated for their efforts.

At the same time, it inspires other employees to push up their performance levels. Hence, spot recognition assures employees that they are valued by their organizations.   

2. Promote Peer-to-Peer Recognition

HiFives Employee Recognition Platform

Promoting peer-to-peer recognition is another effective way of building a good organizational culture.

This empowers employees to appreciate and recognize their co-workers publicly. It helps build trust and improves coordination among the members of the workforce.

Most importantly, peer-to-peer recognition helps to minimize feelings of cynicism, jealousy, and brooding among employees.

Hence, it helps create an atmosphere of happiness and contentment at the workplace.  

3. Drive Social Recognition

Enable Social Recognition for Innovators 

Organizations should not ignore the importance of social recognition in building a great organizational culture.

Social recognition helps to highlight the efforts and achievements of employees across the organization.

Social recognition could take the form of in-person or virtual award ceremonies or simply recognizing employees during team meetings or other gatherings.

4. Utilize Digital Recognition Platforms


Integrating digital recognition in the everyday working of the organization also helps to promote a positive organizational culture.

Digital recognition strategies may include sending ‘thank you’ notes instantly through messengers, appreciation e-mails, and the use of employee recognition software.

Importantly, these methods allow instant recognition, irrespective of the time of the day or the employee’s location.

Also, digital recognition helps to simplify and streamline the whole process.

5. Provide Monetary Rewards

Monetary Rewards

Monetary awards as part of the employee recognition program, can contribute significantly to the development of a strong organizational culture.

Employees tend to feel motivated by such rewards for a longer time. It also becomes aspirational for other employees to emulate such performance and behavior. 

This creates a virtuous cycle that results in strengthening the organizational culture.

6Involve The Top Management

Awards Event

Finally, organizations need to ensure the involvement of the top management in employee and recognition programs.

Their participation in the program creates a deeper and longer-lasting impact.

Therefore, it assures the employees that the top management is willing to invest their time and effort in recognizing their good work.

This, in turn, helps in building a strong organizational culture.

Final Thoughts

Integrating employee recognition with organizational culture can provide a major competitive advantage to organizations. It can help them build a motivated and committed workforce that can drive business growth. It also enables them to attract and retain top talent.

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.