The Impact of Employee Recognition in Different Industries: Case Studies and Key Takeaways


March 14, 2023

Taryn Hart

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6 min

Employee recognition differs by industry - there’s no one-size-fits all approach. But understanding how to leverage recognition within your industry can have an undeniable impact on your business’ success.

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You can find employee recognition across all industries in many different forms. Most organizations have learned that recognizing employees for their hard work is an essential business practice. Some organizations have implemented employee recognition software, while some are still embracing the old classics like free lunches, birthday cards and company gifts.  

Different industries face different challenges. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach – recognition differs between industries, and it can be challenging to find the perfect solution. What we do know is when recognition is done well, it can have an even greater impact on your business.  

Healthcare Services

In healthcare, employee recognition often centers on patient care and satisfaction. Recognizing employees who go above and beyond in providing compassionate care or who achieve excellent patient outcomes is common.  

Creating an engaging work environment is especially critical in healthcare because that engagement directly affects patients and their experience. Hospitals with a high percentage of engaged nurses pay $1.1 million less in malpractice claims every year than those with less engaged nurses.  

Kudos Case Study:

LMC Healthcare, a Kudos client since 2012, has proved that incorporating employee recognition into healthcare culture leads to better patient care. With the help of Kudos, LMC designed a values-based culture where team members are committed to quality work and to delivering the best patient experience.  

With clinics distributed across Canada, staff and physicians can recognize each other through Kudos desktop and mobile applications – making maintaining a healthy culture easy with recognition.  

“A great culture is the foundation for a successful business. A strong culture encourages staff to be actively engaged, do their best, and come to work every day to support the company’s mission. With a focus on culture, employee performance can then translate into business success – hitting whatever key performance indicators that have been set, including revenue and positive patient outcomes.” Leah Topic Director of Human Resources at LMC Healthcare.

Key Takeaways for Recognition in Healthcare:

Financial Services

A study done by SLD found this industry has the highest amount of employee recognition and reward programs. This study also discovered that employees ranked top-down acknowledgement and social recognition significantly higher than their executives.

In this highly client-focused industry, employee recognition often centers on meeting or exceeding sales targets or providing outstanding client service. Recognizing employees who demonstrate exceptional financial knowledge or who develop innovative financial products is common. Interestingly, keeping customers happy through exceptional customer experience is linked to a critical business challenge – retaining your best talent.  

A great customer experience only comes when employees are engaged. When employees are happy and satisfied with their jobs, they are more capable of ensuring customer satisfaction. Companies providing financial services should consider focusing their efforts on employee engagement through recognition if they want happy customers and loyal employees.  

Kudos Case Study:

In 2020, CAAT Pension Plan discovered their traditional approach to company culture wasn’t working. With significant company expansion planned for the future, CAAT knew they weren’t going to get there if their employees weren’t engaged and committed.  

Since implementing Kudos, CAAT is now an award-winning employer whose employees have redefined their customer experience and led them to tremendous success.  

Key Takeaways for Recognition in Finance:


At the beginning of 2022, the U.S. technology industry reached a market value of $1.6 trillion. The tech industry has had explosive growth, and this means many organizations have had to evolve and keep up with the never-ending demand of better applications, software, services, tools, platforms, etc. Recognizing employees who develop new products, solve complex problems, or seek more efficient solutions is highly common.  

According to the Velocity Global Report, 72% of the tech companies have employees working remotely. Tech companies will need to place emphasis on investing in services that will support their remote workforce, especially in a rapidly growing, and competitive industry.  

The tech industry is also known for periodic layoffs that can leave  remaining employees feeling insecure and burnt out. Recognition can provide certainty and reassurance for employees who are feeling uneasy. This reduction in stress can translate in turn to lowered turnover, less absenteeism and more productivity.

Kudos Case Study:

Telarus is one of the largest privately held technology services distributors and has seen significant ROI since implementing Kudos in 2019. They have also ensured recognition is accessible to all employees whether in the office, working from home, or on the road.

Telarus chose Kudos for its values-aligned peer-to-peer recognition, which has helped support the culture they’ve designed around three pillars: Innovation, Partner Success and Team Success.  

“The Telarus team, at every level, enjoys using the platform. We’ve noticed that in months where our revenue spikes, so does the volume of our awarded recognition in Kudos.” Dawnell Unsworth, Telarus.

Key Takeaways for Recognition in Technology:

  • Integrating recognition into the communication systems your company already uses  
  • Ensuring recognition is easily accessible to remote employees
  • Recognition can provide reassurance in a sometimes-volatile industry

Construction & Manufacturing

Recognition has become increasingly more important in areas like construction and manufacturing due to the direct impact engagement has on health and safety in the workplace. Engaged employees are less likely to be injured or cause an accident on the job than those with low engagement.  

As a result, recognition is being included more and more as a key component of an effective health and safety program – some standards like ISO 45001 and ESG reporting require employee engagement metrics. The bottom line is; engaged workers are safe workers.  

Offering ongoing opportunities for learning and development can increase engagement, while also recognizing employees for their accomplishments. Celebrating when an employee reaches a new training milestone will not only encourage participation in professional development but will keep employees productive and efficient.  

Kudos Case Study:  

Russell, a Kudos client since 2019, has seen a tremendous impact on their culture by focusing on individual development.  

Their people-development strategy has four key pillars: Coaching, 360° Feedback, Core Competency Focus, and Career Development. Kudos allows employees to recognize the strides being made by their peers and encourages others to continue to learn and grow.  

Russell has been recognized for their safety practices, including by the Association of General Contractors of America, National Contractor’s Insurance, Ltd., and by the National Safety Council. In 2020, Russell achieved, for the second time, one million hours with zero lost-time incidents.

“In the construction industry, our people are our product. Our value proposition in the market is our people; without great people, we can’t build buildings and satisfy our clients. Like most industries, the competition for talent is fierce; it’s imperative that we attract and retain team members whose skills we develop in order to meet our company goals.” Melissa Pepper, Chief Strategy Officer of Russell.

Key Takeaways for Recognition in Construction & Manufacturing:


Retail is a customer-oriented industry, which means employee recognition often focuses on providing excellent customer service. Employees are more motivated to produce better quality work when they feel appreciated. For customer-facing employees, that means providing an experience that clients appreciate and remember.

Studies show that companies with at least 50% employee engagement retain more than 80% of their customers. According to PwC’s Future of Customer Experience Survey, 73% of customers agree that customer experience is central to their purchasing decisions. Among U.S. customers, 65% find a positive customer experience more influential than great advertising.

Retail employees, especially front-line staff, who work for an organization that has a program for recognizing milestones (Birthdays, work anniversaries, promotions, etc.) are twice as likely to thrive at work. Thriving employees are more likely to stay longer at an organization, and in an industry where the turnover is quite high, retaining employees for a better customer experience is critical.  

Key Takeaways for Recognition in Retail:  

The sky's the limit when it comes to industries. Consider customer-focused sectors like higher education and hospitality, for example, where employee recognition often focuses on providing excellent customer service. Employees are more motivated to produce better quality work when they feel appreciated. For customer-facing employees, that means providing an experience that clients appreciate and remember.  

Even though these industries are facing different hurdles, all of them have demonstrated that employee recognition leads to business success. Whatever approach your business takes on employee recognition – ensuring it’s unique, customized and empowering for your employees is when you will see the greatest impact on your organization.  

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About Kudos

Kudos is an employee engagement, culture, and analytics platform, that harnesses the power of peer-to-peer recognition, values reinforcement, and open communication to help organizations boost employee engagement, reduce turnover, improve culture, and drive productivity and performance. Kudos uses unique proprietary methodologies to deliver essential people analytics on culture, performance, equity, and inclusion, providing organizations with deep insights and a clear understanding of their workforce.

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