Employee Recognition Program can drive Cultural Change

Making desired employee behavior an integral part of organization culture often proves challenging for organizations, especially if the organizational culture is not aligned with other programs for employee engagement, especially employee recognition. An employee recognition program can drive cultural change – the organization needs to focus more on such programs and create engaging and collaborative workspaces.

How organization culture influences employee engagement

Organization culture can be often trivialized as a set of social behaviours and activities that employees indulge in at the workplace. This is mainly due to the fact that culture is not tangible and is about the kind of collective experience of employees while interacting and collaborating with their co-workers.

In fact, culture can be defined as the glue that holds a workplace together by enabling transparent two-way communication, recognition, and feedback.

These factors help in improving employee engagement as they enjoy the freedom to express their ideas and opinions in an unhindered manner and feel truly valued for their efforts and achievements.

Significance of Recognition in driving Cultural Change

Setting up rewards for employees to motivate them to repeat desirable behaviours plays a key role in initiating cultural change within an organization. By recognizing the efforts or achievements of employees responsible for improving the overall work environment or even improving business reputation, organizations can send out a positive message to the entire workforce.

In addition, an employee reward program helps in establishing the standards for expected as well as acceptable workplace behaviour from employees.

The employees naturally feel motivated to emulate the performance efficiency, skills, and behaviour that their peers have appreciated and rewarded for.

When implemented in the right manner, an efficient employee recognition program can enhance the overall happiness and satisfaction level of the workforce, which in turn can prove critical for creating a positive organizational culture.

Tips for Driving Cultural Change through Employee Recognition

Getting the organization culture right is an ongoing process thanks to the constant changes that organizations go through. However, by aligning culture with the values, business objectives, and recognition programs, organizations can get the desired results faster and in a more effective manner.

Discussed below are some key aspects that organizations need to focus on while trying to drive cultural change through recognition:

1. Ensure the involvement of the top management

In order to implement any lasting change within an organization, it requires the complete support and encouragement of the top management. This is true even in case of building a culture based on recognition.

The involvement of business leaders at various levels and types of employee recognition activities can have a major impact. Getting the support of the management makes the entire process much more effective as the employees feel inspired to become part of something that the top managers show an interest in.

2. Let the employees have their say

Listing the views and opinions of the employees with respect to the reward and recognition being offered is essential to bring about the desired change in organization culture. Such initiatives, help in assuring the employees that their opinion is valued and in turn, results in better engagement.

Free discussions about employee recognition also provide the management with insights about the current perception of the organizational culture among the employees and the changes they would like to bring about.

3. Encourage managers to practice what they preach

One of the key aspects of driving cultural change is to encourage managers and supervisors to practice what they preach. This is especially true in terms of recognizing and appreciating the hard work and achievements of peers and juniors.

Watching their superiors praising their co-workers for their hard work and contribution towards organizational growth is more likely to motivate them to do the same than any instructions from the managers.

Even simple measures like leaving a note of appreciation on the desks of the employees can promote a culture of appreciation and collaboration.

4. Add an element of fun to the process

Employees tend to get bored over time, which is why it is important to make the whole process exciting and fun-filled. This can be ensured by opting for creative employee recognition ideas that are both innovative and fun. It is basic human nature to feel attracted to something that tends to make them feel relaxed and happy.

By adding a fun element to the employee recognition programs, organizations can inspire their employees to embrace cultural change more effectively.


The implementation of an effective employee recognition program can drive cultural change in an organization over time. Such cultural changes can provide long-term benefits for an organization and fuel business growth.

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