How Recognition Transforms the Workplace

In this article, we’re going to talk about how the power of recognition changes workplaces for the better and share four examples of enterprises that transformed themselves through employee recognition initiatives.

April 27, 2023 By Ivo Jurcic Share on Twitter! Share on Facebook! Share on LinkedIn!

When people think about transforming workspaces into more connected, productive places, they imagine recognition plays a huge part in the process. 

The most experienced managers across all industries are well aware of the power of recognition. After all, a business is only as good as its employees. 

And nothing drives top performance like recognition and rewards. 

But first things first.

How the Power of Recognition Drives Change 

The paradigm shift occurs when businesses realize recognition addresses several workforce challenges and translates change into tangible results. 

Of course, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions for meeting employee goals, but it’s well-understood among battle-hardened HR professionals and organizational psychologists that people need to be recognized in order to thrive. Here are the three befits that stem directly from recognizing your employees.  

Recognized Employees are More Productive 

Productivity doesn’t solely rely on skills. 

Granted, skills enable employees to complete various tasks in less time compared to their less-experienced colleagues, but it also largely depends on individual employees’ attitudes toward their daily work. 

If a skilled employee doesn’t feel recognized for the effort they put into completing every task, their productivity will drop and they will complete less work, regardless of their skill level. 

They’ll have trouble focusing, being time-efficient, or coming up with creative solutions for more demanding assignments. 

They won’t have a positive, can-do attitude towards their work and their company. 

And most importantly, it will impact their approach to cooperation with their colleagues. 

You can easily imagine their dissatisfaction will lead to other employees becoming less productive as well. 

As many companies have discovered, their relationships with individual employees don’t function in a vacuum. Other employees notice the drop in their co-worker’s productivity and it impacts the entire team. 

Recognized employees are the mirror image of this scenario. 

When workers feel appreciated, they have a more positive attitude toward their work and have an attitude that actively contributes to a culture of excellence and cooperation within the organization. 

This is why recognition yields terrific results in productivity. 

According to a study by the University of Warwick, happy employees are 12% more productive and work harder compared to unhappy employees. 

The study included over 700 participants across four different experiments. Having a happy, recognized workforce is a proven productivity booster that should never be ignored. For this reason, the most successful enterprises have adopted a systemic approach to employee recognition. 

Let’s continue the conversation by speaking about the motivation for progress, and it’s affected by recognition.

Recognition breeds Motivation 

An integral part of successful workforce management is understanding the importance of employee journeys. The best businesses have a long-term vision for the progress of their workers; they want them to learn, hone their skills and move up the ladder in the organization. 

We’re all aware of how much thought and effort goes into planning employee onboarding programs and career progression paths. 

When HR departments think about progress, they think about sustaining progress; the practices that support it. 

As you can imagine, motivation is central. 

Employees need to feel like they are progressing in order to stay motivated. In fact, people are more likely to become frustrated during a learning process if they feel stuck. 

On the other hand, when employees are recognized and rewarded for their efforts in learning and professional development, they are more likely to stay motivated and focused on their progress. 

Additionally, incentivizing employees to learn and rewarding them when they take the initiative is a trait of a positive, development-centered culture where people seek to better themselves. 

According to LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning report, 58% of respondents prefer to learn at their own pace, and 49% of employees prefer to learn at the point of need. In addition, 68% of surveyed employees prefer to learn at work. 

When employees are recognized or rewarded for their learning efforts, they are more likely to feel better about themselves. They’ll be encouraged to learn more and stay motivated. Even when they stumble or hit a learning roadblock. 

In this case, motivation can be the make-or-break difference between progress and failure. It’s well understood that reaching learning milestones is a critical Moment that Matters in an employee’s journey. Organizations with a mature conception of Employee Experience celebrate MTMs to maintain motivation throughout their employee’s journey. 


This is a bright example of the power of recognition in the workspace and how it moves to secure learning goals.

Recognizing Employees is a Natural Retention Booster

Companies across all industries are struggling to fill their ranks with skilled employees. Unemployment rates have been steadily dropping over the past decade, with occasional spikes during recessions. 

However, the number of unfilled job positions has been rising consistently and is currently at an all-time high. 

Image source: Statista 

Statista reported that in the U.S. there are roughly 10.5 million job openings and about 6 million people currently unemployed, which means there are more than 1.7 unfilled positions for every job seeker. 

Despite the loss of business, widespread market disruption, and inflation, the demand for skilled workers has never been greater. 

Source: CompTIA

For instance, U.S. tech companies hired 14,400 workers, and tech jobs in all sectors grew by 137,000 positions, according to Tech Jobs Report published by CompTIA.

CHROs are well aware of the situation. 

With the demand for workers reaching a peak and the labor market becoming more competitive, achieving low employee turnover rates has never been more important. 

Employees with long tenure have invaluable experience and skills that they’ve amused during their time in their organization. 

When they leave, their skills, ideas, insight, and experience leave with them. 

But when a new employee fills their position, it can still take months for them to get properly onboarded and become productive. 

Additionally, the manager has to dedicate their attention to them, which inevitably takes a toll on the collective productivity. A far better alternative would be to prevent employees from leaving in the first place by maintaining an excellent Employee Experience. It’s been proven times again that showing recognition and appreciation at the workspace is one of the best ways to make sure employees stay in their company. 

According to a study by Bersin & Associates, organizations with a strong culture of recognition have a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate

By the same token, in a landmark survey published by SHRM, 68 percent of HR professionals agreed that employee recognition is important for employee retention. Another 56% of surveyed HR professionals said that recognition programs also help with recruitment. This is the power of recognition. 

If enterprises want to achieve record-low employee turnover rates, they have to master it. 

Real-life Examples of Recognition-driven Cultural Transformation 

Every enterprise has a culture. More often than not, companies use cultural interventions to improve their workplaces and create environments where people will want to work every day. The four enterprises below are masters of transforming and maintaining their culture. 


Cisco is a digital technology global conglomerate and a global leader in the tech industry. Between 2011 and 2021, Cisco’s global employee count ranged from approximately 70 000 to 78 000 employees. In terms of geographic distribution, approximately half of Cisco’s employee count is in the U.S. ranging between 35 000  and 40 000 employees. The rest of its workforce resides in Asia Pacific regions, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). As mentioned, the tech sector has some of the most competitive labor markets and frequently struggles to find employees because of the overwhelming demand. In 2016, Cisco implemented a brand-new employee recognition program called Connected Recognition. The program allowed employees to recognize each other and send peer-to-peer recognition. Managers could reward employees with reward points that could be spent on a wide range of employee rewards, gift cards, or cash rewards. 

Within a year of implementing the program, Cisco has reported a 14% increase in employee engagement. Reward and recognition (R&R) technology is the engine that drives the power of recognition and empowers HR and the workforce to transform the culture. Cisco is a champion of this practice. 


It’s hard to imagine an enterprise C-level executive that’s never heard of Deloitte. The company is a household name in the consulting industry, with clients spanning over 20 different industries. Deloitte has a global workforce of over 400 000 employees and leverages the power of recognition to maintain an exceptional company culture. 

Source: Statista

Between 2006 and 2022, Deloitte increased its number of employees by over a quarter of a million people worldwide. Massive, geographically dispersed workforces most certainly have cultural needs that have to be maintained with dedicated solutions. 

Today, the organization is a recognized employer of choice and regularly hosts global events, such as Future of Work

In 2018 Deloitte implemented a new recognition program called Simply Say Thanks, which allowed employees to recognize each other for their work using an online employee recognition platform. The program also included a wide range of employee rewards, such as extra time off and gift cards. Within one year of implementing the program, Deloitte reported a 13% increase in employee engagement. 

It’s clear why Deloitte is widely considered a leader in employee recognition; the organization is committed to culture, the use of recognition technology, and appreciation at the workspace. 


Intuit is an industry leader in the fintech sector and currently has a workforce of over 17000 employees dispersed across the world. 

The company is globally recognized for its efforts to create a culture of appreciation for its workforce. Intuit has a formal employee recognition program called Applause which enables employees to receive various rewards and benefits whenever they show outstanding effort in the workspace. 

They also have peer-to-peer recognition programs where employees can send each other kudos for their contributions and achievements. Employees participate in virtual recognition through the same platform, where they also receive applause points which they can redeem for gift cards, company swag, or charitable donations. As with every great R&R solution, the goal is to encourage a culture of appreciation where everybody feels valued. 

According to data from Comparably, Intuit’s employee engagement score is 86%. Their employer brand is comprised of an A rating for Retention and an A+ rating for Happiness. This indicates that employees are generally satisfied with their work. It’s also worth mentioning that Intuit has been recognized as a “Great Place to Work” for several consecutive years. A culture of recognition seems to be an integral part of their respectable employer brand. 


Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. is a multinational hospitality company that operates a variety of hotel brands across the globe and is a renovated name in the industry. The hospitality sector is particularly challenging and The company has a strong focus on employee recognition and has implemented various programs and initiatives to foster a culture of appreciation. 

In 2018 Hilton launched a recognition program called Thanks a Million that allowed employees to recognize each other. The program was launched on their employee recognition platform where employees nominate their co-workers for rewards. In 2022, Hilton was ranked #2 on Fortune’s Best Places to Work list and remains the only hospitality company on the top 25 list. 

How JobPts fosters the Power of Recognition 

JobPts is a best-of-breed Employee R&R solution that empowers enterprises to transform their company culture and harness the power of recognition. 

Using JobPts, enterprises can deploy monetary and non-monetary employee recognition programs to express gratitude to their employees and reward them in a plethora of ways. Jobpts is built natively on top of SAP technology, which means that it can be flawlessly integrated with SuccessFactors and expand its capabilities. It looks and feels familiar to what SAP users are already used to, but instead of adopting a new, standalone solution, JobPts helps HR get more out of the HR tech stack enterprises are already using. 

Besides outstanding monetary and non-monetary recognition programs, JobPts users can tailor their version of JobPts and include their personal branding and other elements unique to their culture. This also includes features such as recognition calendars that list all the important employee appreciation days and noteworthy events that are related to employee appreciation. All current celebrations become instantly visible on the celebration page, where every employee can participate in public praises, which includes celebrating employee Moments that Matter. 

It’s worth mentioning that JobPts has an extensive no-markup reward catalog which ensures employees get the most out of their point-redeeming experience while effectively saving on reward budget price inflators. Employees can pick rewards that cover the entire product catalog from the largest online sellers such as Amazon or eBay, alongside many redeem options, including donations or experiential rewards. 

The solution has adoption support features that are instrumental in securing long-term adoption from all the stakeholders, especially deskless and frontline employees. For instance, nudging technology that uses subtle, low-cost interventions to influence an individual employee behavior, and achieve desired outcomes, while respecting the freedom of choice of its end users.

In addition to nudging features, JobPts has SMS recognition enabled to help HR and managers deliver company-wide recognition program access to all employees, regardless of their work environment. 


Working at a company and making a cultural contribution is not necessarily the same thing. The best managers and CHROs know very well never to underestimate the power of recognition because it can fundamentally employees engage with work. Workplaces have fundamentally changed over the past few years.

There’s no going back to how things were. 

Source: KKR

Enterprises that rely on skilled laborers and blue-collar workers are facing severe challenges in hiring. The leading companies are trying to stay ahead of the curve by implementing employee recognition and reward solutions. 

According to Gartner, by 2025, 50% of large organizations will have an R&R system in place but will achieve mixed long-term results. The report identified Semos Cloud as a point solution provider, along with all the greats.

Companies that can create a connected Employee Experience will be the ones winning the war for talent.