How to Create a Culture of Recognition! Easy Steps + Best Practices + Examples – 2024

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There are some concepts in performance management that are on everyone’s to-do list, yet are easier said than done. Creating a culture of recognition is most certainly one of those concepts.

On paper, creating a workplace atmosphere where everyone is receiving pats on the back, exchanges words of appreciation, and feels noticed for their work is a dream come true. A real utopian workplace. Guess what? That is perfectly accurate in practice too!

Sure, creating and implementing a culture of recognition isn’t simple. It is a long game of consistency, resistance, and creating the right circumstances by providing your team with the right tools. That is why we took a look at that and boiled all of it down to 9 simple and easy-to-follow steps.

Don’t let our overuse of the word easy fool you. This will still take a lot of effort on everyone’s part. After all, when you are trying to implement a recognition culture, you are trying to break down a long chain of habits.

So without further ado, let us dive into how you can create a culture of recognition in the workplace!

Make Employee Recognition Accessible

Teamflect as an employee recognition software, allows you to send appreciation messages or virtual rewards to your employees. With Teamflect you can provide feedback according to your company goals and your employee’s progress.

Continuous feedback from managers and HR teams will support the professional development of your team members. As a result, they will be more driven to improve their skills and accomplish more.

Manage performance inside Microsoft Teams
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How to Create a Culture of Recognition

Step 1: Understanding Your Team

A culture of recognition starts with understanding your employees.

It’s important to know what drives and motivates each individual so that your recognition efforts are well received and appreciated. Understanding your employees can be as simple as taking the time to ask and listen to their opinions, feedback, and suggestions.

To get a better understanding of your employees, you can conduct surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one meetings.

Asking open-ended questions can help you gain valuable insight into what each employee values and how they want to be recognized.

Some questions to consider include: What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you wish was different? How do you prefer to be recognized for your hard work?

Change your approach accordingly.

Employee motivation can differ greatly from person to person, and what drives one employee may not have the same effect on another.

Just because your employee recognition strategy worked with a particular group before, doesn’t mean it will again!

Some employees may be motivated by monetary rewards, while others may prefer public recognition or time off.

It’s important to note that recognition is not a one-size-fits-all solution. To create a culture of recognition, you need to tailor your efforts to each employee’s needs and preferences. This not only shows that you value each employee but also increases the impact of your recognition efforts.

How to gather information about your employees

  • Employee Engagement Surveys: Surveys can be an effective way to gather information about employee preferences. Make sure to include questions about recognition and ask for specific suggestions on how employees would like to be recognized.
  • Focus groups: Focus groups are a great way to get a better understanding of employee preferences and opinions. Consider inviting a small group of employees to participate in a discussion about recognition.
  • One-on-one meetings: One-on-one meetings with employees can provide valuable insight into their preferences and motivations. Take the time to listen and ask questions about what they would like to see in a culture of recognition.
360 degree feedback in performance appraisal with 2 questions and answers is a great way to implement a culture of recognition

Step 2: Encouraging Employee Feedback

Promoting employee feedback is essential for developing a culture of appreciation. By doing this, you may improve your recognition programs while also demonstrating to your staff that their thoughts are valued.

Employees are more likely to participate in a culture of recognition and be inspired to produce their best work when they feel heard and respected.

To encourage employee feedback and employee engagement in said feedback, consider implementing an anonymous suggestion box or conducting regular surveys.

Make sure to show your appreciation for employee feedback by responding to their suggestions and making changes where possible.

It’s also important to let employees know that their feedback has been heard and what steps have been taken as a result.

  • Open-door policy: Gaining insight from employees who are encouraged to express their ideas and opinions honestly and openly can be beneficial. Consider establishing an open-door policy so that staff members feel free to provide management with feedback and suggestions.
  • Anonymous feedback: Consider developing an anonymous feedback method for staff members who might be reluctant to provide it. Employees can express their ideas and opinions without worrying about negative consequences thanks to this.

How to make feedback accessible in the workplace?

Teamflect's feedback templates, used in creating a culture of recognition.
Teamflect’s Employee Feedback Templates provide users with a great method of streamlining feedback.

No matter what the context is, feedback shouldn’t be something people go out of their way to exchange. Feedback should always be in the flow of work, and constantly accessible.

Using fully integrated employee feedback templates is a great way to ensure you are giving your employees the tools to create a recognition and feedback culture within your organization.

Feedback templates like the ones provided by Teamflect let users exchange crisp, accurate, and constructive feedback, mapped out in the most helpful way possible, right inside Microsoft Teams.

Step 3: Using Recognition Software

One of the most effective ways to create a culture of recognition is by using recognition software.

Recognition software can help to streamline and automate your recognition efforts, making it easier to recognize and reward employees for their hard work and contributions.

Recognition software provides a variety of features and tools that can help you create a culture of recognition, including:

  • Automated recognition: Automated recognition allows you to recognize and reward employees for their hard work and contributions in real time.
  • Customizable recognition: Some recognition software let users customize your recognition efforts to meet the needs and preferences of your employees.
  • Reporting and analytics: Most recognition software provide reporting and analytics tools that can help you track and measure the impact of your recognition efforts.

Here is a list of some of the best recognition software out there today:

10 Best Recognition Software

The Right Tool for the Job

 teamflect recognition module screen with customizable badges inside microsoft teams

If you are in an organization that uses Microsoft Teams and are looking to implement a culture of recognition, there is no better recognition software available than Teamflect.

Teamflect is an all-in-one performance management solution that celebrates employee recognition by giving its users the ability to completely customize their recognition, and feed them into their Microsoft Teams channels without effort.

Virtual employee recognition is a scary puzzle to solve. Teamflect is the right partner to help you solve it.

The best employee recognition software for Microsoft Teams!
No sign-up required.
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Step 4: Celebrating Milestones and Accomplishments

A wonderful method to let workers know that their efforts and contributions are valued is by celebrating employee achievements.

Birthdays, anniversaries, and work anniversaries are examples of milestones that should be honored by the employer. This may contribute to fostering a supportive and upbeat work atmosphere.

Celebrating employee success is another crucial component of developing a culture of recognition. Celebrate employee successes including promotions, project completions, and achieving individual or group goals.

This can help your recognition efforts have a bigger impact and foster pride in the company.


Part 2 of our Employee Recognition Series! As promised here are 10 Recognition Software! #hr #humanresources #employeerecognition #hrhumor

♬ original sound – Jack&The HR Guy

Step 5: Being Genuine and Specific

Since employee praise is essentially compliments in a working environment, their principles are virtually the same.

When we receive compliments we need to know what we heard was genuine. Similar to compliments, employee recognition should be sincere as well. Otherwise, they won’t have the desired impact on your employees.

Being specific helps with giving genuine employee praise because when people see that you specifically know about what they care about they will understand that you’re being genuine.

If you recognize your employees in a generic way on the other hand, they might question your sincerity.

Step 6: Recognizing in Real-time

Employees tend to receive recognition when they finish an important project or meet a deadline. However, you don’t need to wait for these periods to recognize your employees.

To establish a solid employee recognition culture, you can praise your team members more frequently and when you notice they are making meaningful contributions .

Step 7: Focusing on Shared Values

As one of the employee recognition culture tips, focusing on shared values can be extremely useful. They also serve as a reference point for recognition.

To achieve this, you can simply establish a list of team principles. And to make these principles stick with your employees, you can turn them into catchy expressions.

Step 8: Making Sure Your Recognition is Inclusive

Uniqueness brings value to your team. Being fair at work involves appreciating people regardless of their background, role and identity.

You can promote the inclusive culture of recognition by encouraging peer-to-peer appreciation as well. This can transform your workplace into a positive environment.

Step 9: Setting a Great Example for Your Employees

When it comes to establishing culture of recognition the management should set a great example for the employees because employees will be influenced by their leaders.

If their management is fair, genuine, and encouraging, employees will try to alter their behaviors in a more positive direction. Employees will give more positive and fair peer-to-peer feedback and have an inclusive mindset.

What Damages the Culture of Recognition?

1. Absence of alignment

You have to align your recognition culture with your company values and culture. Otherwise, you will praise actions that are irrelevant to your organization’s vision and mission.

A company that values collaboration and teamwork should build its culture of recognition based on this value. If they focus entirely on individual accomplishments, they might end up creating unwanted competition.

2. Absence of transparency and fairness

When you apply the rules inconsistently and have unclear expectations your employees may feel distrust and resentment. For this reason, you should make sure that everyone is appreciated for their contributions instead of focusing on a single group or a person.

3. Lack of variety

You should take individual differences in recognition preferences into account while creating a culture of recognition. For example public recognition may not be the preferred recognition method for some employees andthey might prefer private recognition.

Some of your team members may prefer informal ways of recognition but others may feel more comfortable when you praise them formally.

To eliminate this, you can ask your employees about their preferred ways of recognition and have different formats and frequencies.

4. A lack of investment from leadership

One of the significant hurdles in creating a culture of recognition is the lack of buy-in from leadership. If leaders do not prioritize or model recognition behaviors, it’s challenging to embed these practices across the organization.

Leadership commitment is one of the most important aspects in setting the tone and demonstrating the value of a recognition culture.

5. Inconsistent recognition practices

Consistency is key to building a culture of recognition. Inconsistencies can manifest in multiple different forms when it comes to employee recognition. Recognition can be delivered too sporadically to matter to the recipients.

Another form could be that the inconsistency can be in the criteria for the recognition as opposed to the frequency in which employees are recognized.

Regardless, an inconsistent practice of employee recognition can easily lead to employees being disillusioned by the system quickly, taking away from the impact of each praise and damaging the culture of recognition.

6. Not tailoring recognition to individual preferences

People have different preferences for how they like to be recognized. While some may appreciate public accolades, others might value private or written acknowledgment.

Understanding and accommodating these preferences can enhance the effectiveness of recognition efforts.

Beyond the recognitions themselves, not every employee praise methodology can be suited for each organization. Leaderboards may work like a charm at a company with a more competitive culture but they may end up driving a wedge between employees in other organizations.

The best recognition culture for an organization is one that is tailored specifically to the individuals that the organization is composed of.

7. Not making recognition accessible

If the recognition tool you are using isn’t in the flow of work and people have to go a bit too far out of their way to recognize their peers, direct reports, or managers, then chances are they simply won’t bother.

The modern employee already has way too much on their plate. As excited as they may be to recognize their teammates, using a recognition platform that isn’t intuitive may drain that excitement in a matter of minutes.

For Microsoft Teams or Outlook users, this can be easily fixed through the implementation of Teamflect, since it was designed specifically to be integrated into those very platforms.

Employee Recognition Examples

The answer to the question, “How to create a culture of recognition?” will be incomplete without providing you with examples of employee recognition. Below you can find 10 examples that you can tailor according to your needs.

Performance appreciation: ” Your exceptional performance on our recent project was very impressive. Your attention to detail had a positive impact on the success of the project.”

Peer Appreciation: ” Your colleagues have been praising your enthusiasm when it comes to collaboration. We appreciate your teamwork.”

Leadership Recognition: “You skillfully navigated our team and ensured that your team members were focused on the goals.”

Creativity Recognition: “Your innovative solution for streamlining our processes has not only saved time but also improved the quality of our work. Thank you for your creativity.”

Customer Feedback Highlight: “I received a message from a satisfied customer today, and they specifically mentioned the excellent service provided by you. Your dedication to our customers is greatly appreciated.”

Milestone Celebration: “Congratulations, on your five-year anniversary with the company. Your commitment and contributions have been invaluable.”

Extra Effort Recognition: “Your extra effort on the last-minute project request did not go unnoticed. Your dedication to meeting our client’s needs, even under tight deadlines, is impressive.”

Cross-Functional Collaboration: “Thank you, for your outstanding collaboration with the marketing team. Your insights from the sales perspective have been invaluable in shaping our campaigns.”

Customer Impact Acknowledgment: “Your patience and thorough explanations with a challenging client turned a potentially difficult situation into a success story. Your customer service skills are exceptional.”

Training and Mentorship Appreciation: “A big shoutout to Lisa for her commitment to mentoring new team members. Your guidance has accelerated their learning curve and has been instrumental in their success.”


If you are already using Microsoft Teams you should check out our video that talks about the implementation of reward and recognition in Microsoft Teams.

We have also provided you with the best practices as well as challenges when it comes to creating a culture of recognition. With these recognition culture tips and examples in mind, you will be able to build a more positive working environment that will motivate your employees at work.

If you’re interested, you should give Teamflect a try. It has a free version without any feature limits and it’s the best Microsoft Teams performance management software!

Written by Emre Ok

Emre is a content writer at Teamflect who aims to share fun and unique insight into the world of performance management.

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