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5 min

5 min

Improving Customer Service Through Employee Recognition

Improving Customer Service Through Employee Recognition  Improving Customer Service Through Employee Recognition

When employees feel appreciated, they become motivated to do more —and better quality— work. For customer-facing employees, that means providing an experience that clients appreciate and remember.

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Think about a time when a friend or family member said “thank you” for helping them. It may have made you feel appreciated and motivated to do more for them – this same concept applies equally in the workplace.

When employees feel appreciated, they become motivated to do more and better quality work. 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. That is the impact of employee recognition.

“There’s no CEO on the planet who’s responsible for the customer. They’re just not. They’re responsible for the people who are responsible for the people who are responsible for the customer.” -Simon Sinek

Understanding employee recognition and why it matters to businesses

Employee recognition describes any formal or informal acknowledgment of an employee’s contributions to a team or organization’s success. It can come from a peer, direct report, manager, or leader.    

Organizations approach employee recognition in different ways. Some do it in more informal ways: a shout-out during a meeting, on social media, or through the company’s intranet; thank-you notes, or an employee lunch. Others are using robust employee recognition platforms like Kudos to streamline the process and make sure everyone benefits.  

Employee recognition matters because it directly impacts critical aspects of the organization. Several studies have shown that employee recognition is a powerful driver of retention, productivity, and motivation. For example, let’s consider the following facts:

When structured efficiently, recognition can reinforce a company’s organizational values, which in turn helps to keep employees aligned with their objectives and their coworkers.

Creating an ideal customer experience

“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” – Stephen Covey

Customer service teams play a crucial role in driving profitability in many industries, such as retail, hospitality, food service, and technology. 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.    

Therefore, you need employees – especially those in customer-facing roles – to prioritize customer satisfaction by offering “speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service.” These employees assist customers by anticipating concerns, preparing solutions, responding quickly, and going above and beyond to ensure that customers are satisfied.

How employee recognition impacts customer service

Consistently and effectively Recognizing your customer service teams for their contributions can yield incredible results:

  1. Customer rapport: Data from Bain & Company shows that companies that excel at the customer experience increase their revenues by 4% to 8% above their market. Recognizing employees helps them maintain positive relationships and do what is right for the customer. This can improve revenue because customers will be willing to pay more and are likely to refer other customers.  
  1. Employee satisfaction: According to a Harvard Business Review article, “customer and employee satisfaction should be seen as two sides of the same coin.” When employees are happy and satisfied with their jobs, they are more capable of ensuring customer satisfaction.  
  1. Employee and knowledge retention: The risk with employee turnover in customer service teams is the loss of product knowledge – which helps employees respond to customers’ questions or close sales. According to Panopto’s research, 42% of an employee’s knowledge in a given role is unique to that person. It comes from self-learning and discovering new efficient and effective approaches on the job. When that employee leaves, the customer experience suffers because the new or existing employees may not be as efficient as the employee with the unique knowledge. So, recognizing employees encourages employees to stay longer on the job and keep their expertise within your organization. Recognition is proven to reduce turnover by over 30%, according to Bersin & Associates.

Simple ways to recognize customer service employees

  • Share positive feedback in real-time.
  • Recognize them regularly, not just during annual reviews.
  • Encourage peer-to-peer recognition.
  • Give casual monetary rewards like gift cards.

Final Thoughts

Building a culture of recognition comes down to the common-sense practice of not taking your people for granted. To keep your customers happy, make your employees happy by recognizing them with Kudos’ help.


5 min

5 min

The Science Behind Employee Recognition

The Science Behind Employee RecognitionThe Science Behind Employee Recognition

Human beings are wired to feel connection, belonging and acceptance. Employee recognition isn’t just becoming an industry standard, it’s an essential requirement for an employee’s well-being, motivation and performance.

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Human beings need recognition

In 1943, Abraham Maslow theorized that human beings make decisions and partake in motivational behavior based on a hierarchy of needs. This pyramid of needs consists of basic physiological needs like water and food, the need for safety, the need for love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization. A core requirement in the esteem level of this pyramid is appreciation.  

Figure 1: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

As human beings, we have the need to accomplish things, and in turn, have those accomplishments appreciated and recognized. In addition to feelings of accomplishment, we need to feel that our efforts are valued and that we are making contributions to the world. Without this recognition, we begin to feel our actions or hard work have no purpose, and this leads us to feel unappreciated, undervalued, and unmotivated.  

What happens in our brains when we feel appreciated

Human beings are wired to feel connection, belonging and acceptance. When we experience appreciation and gratitude, our brains release dopamine and serotonin. These are crucial neurotransmitters responsible for making us feel ‘good’ and helping us regulate our emotions and immediate stress response. Gratitude acts as a catalyst for these neurotransmitters, and actively experiencing gratitude and appreciation allows us to manage our stress levels better.

Feeling and expressing gratitude activates several parts of the brain. When we verbalize thoughts of appreciation and gratitude, the prefrontal cortex is activated, which is responsible for positive emotions and decision-making, as well as reward and motivation. The more we practice expressing appreciation, the more we activate these gratitude circuits in our brain. Over time, it takes less effort to stimulate those pathways.  

Scientists have also suggested that by activating the reward center of the brain, gratitude exchange alters the way we see the world and ourselves. When we give and receive ‘thank you’ notes, our brain automatically produces motivational thought patterns. This means that practicing acts of recognition in the workplace improves employee's mental well-being and increases their motivation to continue to contribute value to their organization.  

The relationship between recognition and well-being

Employee recognition promotes positive psychological functioning and its absence worsens it. Positive psychological functioning (PPF) is comprised of the positive feelings that lead to self-acceptance, personal growth and social contribution. The absence of recognition can lead to the deterioration of an employee’s psychological health and, ultimately, their performance.  

Feeling unappreciated affects not only your emotions but also how you think and act, so it’s no surprise that a lack of appreciation can influence your mental health and lead to mental illness. If others ignore what you do for them, it can feel devastating. You might start to wonder why you bother putting effort into a task if you never feel appreciated for it, or worse, don’t feel your work contributes value to your organization.  

In a UK study, 78% of respondents said they would work harder if they had more recognition. In that same study, 94% said that employee recognition is critical in retaining talent. The solution to keeping your employees is becoming simple – if you want to keep your employees, it’s critical you recognize them.  

The importance of employee recognition  

The results of a study conducted on over 1800 employees found the effect of recognition is two times greater with peer-recognition than with top-down supervisor-recognition. This study highlights the importance of promoting employee recognition in organizations for the impact it has, not only on well-being, but also on the positive psychological functioning of the employees.

Technology now exists to make recognition accessible, simple and impactful for any organization. Cloud-based platforms that work in browsers and mobile apps allow remote, field and in-office employees a place to share regular, meaningful recognition.

Kudos, an employee recognition and engagement platform, harnesses the power of peer-to-peer recognition and helps organizations boost employee engagement, reduce turnover, improve culture, and drive productivity and performance. Employee recognition isn’t just becoming an industry standard, it’s an essential requirement for an employee’s well-being, motivation and performance. It’s been almost 80 years since Abraham Maslow theorized that human beings require appreciation. The science has always been there, now it’s time to take it seriously and implement the recognition your employees not only deserve but need.  


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6 min

Why Nomination Programs Aren’t Enough

Why Nomination Programs Aren’t EnoughWhy Nomination Programs Aren’t Enough

While on the surface nomination programs seem like a simple solution to employee recognition, in order to be successful, they need to work in conjunction with a more robust suite of tools to deliver results.

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A nomination is an official endorsement for someone to receive an award or prize. The first step in a nomination program is for the organization to determine and communicate the criteria for their program. Employees can then nominate colleagues they feel meet the criteria, with one nominee then being selected as the winner. Some organizations have employee nomination programs for awards like “Employee of the Month,” “Most Hard Working,” “Most Innovative,” etc. While on the surface nomination programs seem like a simple solution to employee recognition, in order to be successful, they need to work in conjunction with a more robust suite of tools to deliver results.

Nominations are a Small Piece to a Bigger Solution

Traditional employee nomination programs give employees an opportunity to tell a story about the peer they are nominating and how their accomplishments have delivered something impactful for the business. Nominations can bring acknowledgement of standout achievements in a workplace where they may otherwise go unnoticed, especially by outside members of that team. They can be an opportunity to communicate expectations, or curate awards and prizes that encapsulate your company values. Nominations can also deliver a morale boost, especially for those employees who win.  

However, nomination programs are not without their challenges. Why only allow employees to give recognition whenever there is an award present? These types of programs are only one piece to a complete solution – which doesn’t mean you need to abandon your nomination program altogether, but simply include it in a deeper, more impactful and effective employee recognition strategy.  

Nominations Do Not Reflect Consistent Recognition

For employee recognition to be effective at motivating and communicating the value individuals and teams offer your organization, it needs to be consistent and meaningful. Nomination programs are often monthly, quarterly or yearlong initiatives so your employees are not receiving this communication frequently enough to create lasting meaning. In addition, when you nominate someone for an award, you’re not directly recognizing them for their work or efforts – you’re only giving them a chance at recognition. If someone deserves recognition, then they should receive that recognition to keep them feeling appreciated day-to-day. When you nominate employees for an award or prize, what you’re doing is comparing their accomplishments to someone else’s instead of celebrating and appreciating their work individually. While being nominated is considered recognition, it can increase unhealthy competitiveness between employees and lead to resentment. Your employees deserve to be recognized constantly and not just periodically whenever an award or prize is up for grabs.

Nomination programs also prohibit you from reaping the benefits of wider recognition. When your organization partakes in a nomination program, it’s usually comprised of certain award categories, which over time can become disassociated from what employees are working on or dealing with. If an organization implements an Employee of the Month program, that means only 12 employees will receive that recognition in a single year. Programs like this also only focus on one person winning something at one time – why limit employee recognition to just one person? Recognizing teamwork or collaboration amongst a group of people is just as important as recognizing an individual.  

The Solution is in Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Incorporating an employee recognition platform will allow your employees to be recognized regularly. Platforms like Kudos allow employees and leaders the freedom to recognize anyone, for anything, at any time. Adding a peer-to-peer recognition program to your strategy offers a more consistent and accessible motivational experience. Enabling all your employees to recognize impactful moments regularly, timely and specifically ensures that recipients know the value they bring to the organization. No matter how small the achievement is – even if it’s a simple thank you – peer-to-peer recognition has a better overall impact on improving employee morale and engagement.

A recent Forbes study found that 66% of employees will leave their jobs because they do not feel appreciated. A strong company culture is an increasingly crucial factor for employees, and a recognition solution directly contributes to building an impactful company culture where employees feel recognized and appreciated.  

An employee recognition platform does not mean leaders can no longer create employee awards or prizes, but they shouldn’t take away the ability for peers or leaders to give and receive constant recognition. Offering more nomination options by building levels of nominations with high level prestigious, and quarterly or monthly nominations can still exist, but should be supported by regular recognition. Add more social or community nominations that bring creativity and fun to your employee recognition solution, instead of putting focus on traditional nominations that are only centered around recognizing select employees. Nominate employees for awards like “Most Likely to Be Late for a Meeting”, or “Most Creative Zoom Background” and have them for entertainment or enjoyment purposes instead of centered around performance.  

Choosing the Right Employee Recognition Solution

Nomination programs are a small piece to a bigger solution. Giving regular recognition should become a habit within your organization and should be used as a building block to help retain talent, form healthier work relationships, and strengthen company culture.  

We know that selecting the best recognition solution for your organization can be challenging, so we’ve made it simple for you with our Employee Recognition Buyer’s Guide. Our guide gives a comprehensive overview of how to choose the right employee recognition solution for your company’s culture, goals, and budget. Remember that consistent and authentic employee recognition should always be the priority, and the awards and prizes should come secondary.


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5 min

The Future of Work Hinges on Employee Recognition

The Future of Work Hinges on Employee RecognitionThe Future of Work Hinges on Employee Recognition

A ‘return to normal’ is not in the cards, but something more transformational could.

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This article was originally published on

Working toward a return to normal, however, is just as probable and effective as hoping for a return to the good old days. The reality is that a new normal is unfolding in front of us – and there’s no shortage of opportunities for organisations that are adapting to it.

At the heart of the Great Resignation is a fundamental need that has gone largely unmet: the need for employees to go beyond simply existing in their job roles and thrive. The talent of today’s world wants to be treated well and to be recognised for their contributions. The benefits for companies that realise this and take the steps to act on this are massive in terms of employee engagement, retention, and ultimately organisational growth.  

Conversely, the organisations finding themselves bearing the brunt of the Great Resignation are often the ones offering outdated solutions to modern problems. A common one is focusing solely on compensation to solve deeper issues. When attracting talent, money is a huge part of the equation, but a strong company culture is an increasingly important choice factor. Many struggling companies overlook the importance of fostering a strong, recognition-filled work culture. Increasing compensation may be a quick fix, but if money is the primary thing keeping talent motivated, they’ll be easily lured away by better offers. But while improving company culture takes a greater commitment from leadership, it has a lasting and more substantial effect on those factors organisations worry about most today: retention and engagement.

It’s both as complex and as simple as this: The desire for fair and robust recognition in the workplace will define the future of work during the pandemic and post-pandemic. Here’s how.

Values over money

To help inspire employees to work toward a common goal, companies must have clear core values that employees know and care about. But it doesn’t stop there. Companies must also associate behaviours to these values, with leadership demonstrating these behaviours every day. With that in place, all employees should be given the tools and much needed support to recognise their colleagues when they see moments that exemplify these values. The old way of recognition was sporadic and top down, but a strong value-based culture seeks to make this recognition a daily habit among peers as well as managers.

This practice not only reinforces the behaviours that move organisational goals forward, but it makes employees feel they are direct contributors to an irreplaceable company culture.

In addition to incorporating behaviours and values in recognition, there is a slightly differ-ent connection between monetary rewards and recognition. If the recognition system is set up to be predominantly monetary, so is the employee’s motivation. Employees who feel empowered to give and receive continuous recognition in their workplace will not only feel a strengthened commitment to the organisation, but they will be incredibly difficult to poach with monetary incentives alone. Instead, they will see their everyday contributions in a far more meaningful way than they might at companies where recognition is sporadic, scarce, or nonexistent.

Fuel intrinsic motivation through connection

Motivation can come in many forms, but employers today must learn to spot the differ-ence between intrinsic motivation and traditional motivation through rewards. Traditional incentives get people through the day, but it rarely makes them care about their work beyond a paycheck. It doesn’t motivate them enough to fully engage and innovate. It’s why a rewards-centric approach can backfire on companies where incentives can be seen as an opportunity reserved for the elite few.

On the other hand, when people feel a deep connection to the company’s values and their coworkers, their inner motivation kicks in. That’s when we see creativity, innovation, and growth unfold in the organisation. The cohesiveness and connection within teams doesn’t have to be limited to small groups either. It can be shared across the organisation by creating a space for everyday recognition that can come from anyone. A robust recognition ecosystem among teammates and managers is an invaluable catalyst in promoting a culture of trust, self-confidence, and innovation.

A generational challenge that’s here to stay

In 2021 48% of American workers actively looked for jobs. We are facing a historic challenge of retention and recruitment. The pandemic is one factor, but the causes of the talent drought go deeper than that, and the effects are not going away once we are through the worst of it. Millennials make up the majority of today’s workforce in the United States, and they are unafraid to leave a bad workplace for a better one, with 21% reporting that they switched jobs in 2021. For employers and HR leaders, retention efforts are more critical than they have ever been. Holding on to talent is not only important because it helps organisations innovate and grow, but having a constantly understaffed organisation raises the risk of employee burnout, which directly translates to a negative employee experience.

A strategic, values-driven approach to culture increases employee engagement, happiness, and performance, but the benefits go beyond that. Word gets around about great culture at an organisation, and recruitment efforts suddenly become easier for HR. With Gen Z changing jobs 134% more now than they did in 2019, the talent pool is open – and looking for better work prospects.  

As the internal culture improves, and employees begin to feel like they are truly a part of the company, it naturally leads to an excellent client and external stakeholder experience.

No looking back

It’s time for a new approach to recognition – one that helps organisations and employees adapt to today's reality. For companies looking to learn crucial lessons from the pandemic, rather than hoping for a return to the old ways, the path to sustained success involves investing in a recognition-centric culture where all employees feel connected and valued. In other words, embodying ‘the future of work’ is actually just answering the call of the present day.


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The Secret To A Winning Employee Recognition Strategy

The Secret To A Winning Employee Recognition StrategyThe Secret To A Winning Employee Recognition Strategy

Your cheat sheet on what today’s employees expect, want and need.

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This article was originally published on

Employee recognition is an age-old practice dating back to the Industrial Revolution when employers sought to make employees more efficient at work. While much has changed since then in terms of management styles, organizational structures, and workplaces (the last one especially, given the last two years) – many organizations still haven’t adapted their recognition practices to meet changing employee expectations, relying instead on dated, rewards-focused, infrequent recognition for a select few employees.

Employee recognition is a powerful tool that, when used correctly, leads to better employee engagement, improved organizational performance, and reduced turnover, among many other benefits (Gallup).

So, how can you modernize employee recognition at your organization this year?

As Muni Boga, President and CEO of Kudos®, a popular employee recognition platform, put it, “it’s not as simple as getting your managers to check recognition off their to-do lists – it’s about building a culture of recognition, where recognition has a deep-seated place in your organization.

Ideally, its value is understood by your people so that it can flow freely and frequently across all areas of your workplace.”Here are some key things to consider when building your strategy:

1. Peer-To-Peer Is Here to Stay

Historically, employee recognition used to be the responsibility of leaders and managers, or what many know as a top-down approach. Managers would highlight “top performers,” leaving many employees feeling passed over and unappreciated. On the other hand, enabling and encouraging peer-to-peer recognition allows for the democratization of recognition. This approach is not unlike 360 performance evaluation that boomed in the last two decades.

When employees of all levels are empowered to recognize – and receive recognition from – colleagues in all directions (up, down, laterally), organizations see increased employee engagement, reduced turnover, and improved productivity. A study quoted by Gallup found that 66% of employees agreed with the statement, “If I get recognition, I would also like to give others recognition,” the impact is exponential.

Studies have shown that teams that share recognition often create oxytocin responses in their team members, which was strongly correlated to more productivity, innovation, and better work enjoyment ratings.

2. Get Into the Habit of Recognition

We’ve all experienced the effects of the Great Resignation. In the 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the overall turnover rate in the US was 57.3%, but that number drops to 25% when considering only voluntary turnover. That still means a staggering 1 in 4 employees left their job voluntarily in 2021.

Interestingly, studies show that globally, only 1 in 4 employees report receiving recognition in the last week. The urgency to build recognition into daily life at work is evident. Gallup believes that shifting the dial and moving from 1 in 4 having received recognition, to 3 in 5 would deliver employers a 28% improvement in quality of work and a 31% decrease in absenteeism rates.

Another significant trend here is revisiting milestones and anniversaries.

With such high turnover rates in the market, employers should celebrate anniversaries from the first year, recognizing loyalty and hard work. Anniversaries can also be used as a retention tool, incentivizing employees to stay with bonuses at each annual milestone (please, no mantel clocks – see next point).

3. Personalized and Inclusive Rewards

While recognition itself carries many benefits, it often comes hand-in-hand with rewards. The days of rewarding employees with wildly expensive company pens are gone (or at least, they should be). More and more organizations have realized that historic one-size-fits-all approaches no longer cut it; this is evident through the prevalence of flexible work schedules, remote work, and discretionary health care spending accounts.

You hire employees for their unique skills and individuality – why aren't you factoring that into your rewards strategy? One way to do this is to allow employees to choose gift cards for popular retailers or vouchers for local businesses of their choice. This approach is simple, yet it tells your people that the reward is truly for them, which has a more significant impact.

4. Play the Game

Who says work and fun don’t mix? Gamification is an incredibly efficient but sometimes forgotten lever that you can use to encourage engagement in building your culture of recognition. Some friendly competition can help kick-start a sustainable habit of free-flowing recognition in your organization. Gamification expert Yu-Kai Chou shares dozens of gamification examples for you to sift through here.

This is why many modern recognition platforms have leaderboards for both recognition received, and recognition sent to spark everyone’s inner competitor. This philosophy isn’t new – the age-old employee of the month award is a great example. The difference is, when the person sharing the most recognition is the one crowned, everyone wins.

5. Promoting Hard Work

Sometimes, the best way to recognize someone is by presenting them with the opportunity to take on more responsibility via a well-deserved promotion. Publicly acknowledging dedication and hard work via a promotion can lead to higher employee retention and engagement. It shows employees that their efforts will be rewarded, and their careers can flourish with your company (Forbes).

There are many benefits to internal promotions beyond morale, such as reduced recruitment costs and less downtime in open roles. As we migrate to more distributed workplaces, identifying top performers may not be as easy as it once was. A recognition platform can be a great tool in this instance, allowing the organizational leaders to easily see who is receiving consistent positive praise from peers at every level.

6. HR Analytics

You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Most HR professionals know by now that employees don’t leave companies – they leave managers. Keeping a pulse on employee-manager relationships can be tricky, but recognition can serve as a lens into your employee experience at all levels. Some of the most sophisticated recognition platforms provide dashboards that illustrate who is giving and receiving recognition, who stands out, and who might be left behind.
Analytics can also help HR leaders demonstrate the value of recognition to their finance and leadership teams to secure the budget they need to develop a robust program.

As Muni Boga from Kudos explains, “the ROI of employee recognition can be significant in terms of recognition’s ability to improve absenteeism and turnover. An organization’s bottom line can dramatically improve not just in terms of those metrics, but also through the impact of those metrics on your organization’s productivity and innovation. Today, in a world where ESG and DEIB measurement is necessary and needed, recognition also plays an important role in illustrating social impact and inclusion.”

In 2022, an employee recognition strategy is a must-have. Building a culture of recognition is not a simple task, but it pays big dividends if it’s approached in the way your employees want.


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5 min

15 Ideas for Employee Appreciation Day 2022

15 Ideas for Employee Appreciation Day 202215 Ideas for Employee Appreciation Day 2022

Make sure your organization has a plan to appreciate your employees - here are some ideas to get you started.

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Every time we receive recognition or gratitude, our brains release serotonin. Serotonin makes us feel good by regulating our emotions and enhancing our mood. The positive impact appreciation has isn’t just important in our personal world – it’s equally important at work. Recognizing and appreciating your employees should be a priority for your organization year-round, but it’s especially important on Employee Appreciation Day. On March 4th, make sure your organization has a plan to appreciate your employees and everything they do. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Ask what your employees would like.

This day is about celebrating your employees. Give them an opportunity to express what would make them feel appreciated. There are many tools to distribute surveys to your employees, and plan to send the survey well before Employee Appreciation Day so that you can plan the day around your employee responses.  

2. A simple thank you still goes a long way.

Thanking your employees every day for what they do, even for just the small things, is a simple act that has a massive impact on your organization. Send a personalized note to your teammates highlighting the wins each of them has had and reminding them their work is always valued.  

3. Give everyone an afternoon off!

Let your employees pursue their passions by giving them a paid afternoon off. What better way to appreciate your employees’ dedication by allowing them some much-needed time off to relax, be with their family, or take an extra-long weekend.  

4. Cover their transportation costs.

Some organizations don’t consider the cost employees pay to get to their place of work. Some employees can spend up to $5,000 annually on transportation to get to and from work. Although your organization may not be able to cover all transportation costs, you could offer a paid parking pass, or reimburse bus and train passes.

5. Go public with your appreciation.  

Don’t just celebrate internally – tell the world you appreciate your employees! Work with your marketing team to ensure you have a plan to post on social media platforms about how you’re celebrating Employee Appreciation Day.  

6. Have a virtual lunch or happy hour.

We know that showing appreciation in a work-from-home environment can be a struggle, but you can still host virtual lunches or happy hours with your employees. Send pre-paid Uber Eats gift cards to your employees and celebrate together virtually!  

7. Set up distributed team building activities.

Dedicate an afternoon and set up remote games for your employees. This is a great way to promote virtual team building, while giving your team the opportunity to bond outside of work. There are many online games you can play to make remote socialization between teammates creative and engaging.  

8. Create custom awards.

Work with your Human Resources team to create internal awards to honour your employees. These could be awards like Employee of the Month or Best Team Player, and to go the extra mile, create customized engraved trophies you can send to the winners.  

9. Be creative with rewards – let your employees decide!

Coffee mugs, t-shirts, and customized pens don’t send a message of true appreciation to your employees. Instead, give your employees options to choose from. Not everyone wants a gift card or free food – discover what your employees really want and allow everyone to select a reward that means something to them.  

10. Update their work-from-home equipment.

When was the last time you checked in on your employees' work-from-home equipment? Do they have everything they need to be productive and successful? A great way to show your appreciation for your employees is to ensure their at-home setup is up to date. A new standing desk, new chair or better monitor could demonstrate your gratitude to your employees.  

Appreciation should be built into your culture and not just set aside for one day out of the year. If you’re seeking ideas on how to incorporate ongoing employee appreciation, here are some solutions to investigate:  

11. Invest in an employee recognition platform.

One of the most common reasons employees’ leave their jobs is due to lack of recognition. Meaningful recognition allows employees to see their organization’s values in action and feel appreciated for their contributions big and small. Employee recognition solutions, like Kudos®, make it easy for managers and peers to recognize employees regularly.

12. Celebrate birthdays, milestones, and anniversaries.

Don’t let these moments go unnoticed. Whether it’s someone’s birthday, a promotion or title-change, or years of service, these milestones show your employees’ dedication, and they deserve recognition. Something as simple as sharing an e-card that everyone can sign goes a long way.  

13. Update your company values.

It might be time to review your organization’s values to ensure they still align with the values of your employees. Forbes research has found that more than 50% of employees will leave their jobs if the company values are no longer aligned with their own. Appreciation starts at the top, so lead by example and express commitment to ongoing recognition by incorporating recognition into your values and employer brand.  

14. Offer more flexibility.

83% of employees feel more loyal to their employers if flexible work arrangements are available to them. It’s also important to note that flexible work arrangements shouldn’t just be working from home – it should also be flexible hours, part-time options, and paid leave. Start focusing on results and deadlines instead of how many hours your employees work.  

15. Encourage your leaders to check in frequently.

Appreciate your employees not just for their work but also for the time they dedicate every day to the company. It’s important to frequently check in with your employees and give them the opportunity to express any stress or burdens they’re feeling. Teams perform better when members believe their leaders respect and appreciate them.


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What’s Inside Our Employee Recognition Buyer’s Guide?

What’s Inside Our Employee Recognition Buyer’s Guide?What’s Inside Our Employee Recognition Buyer’s Guide?

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Don’t shop for a product, shop for a solution.

Employee recognition is a key pillar of driving your overall business performance. Finding the right tool to keep your employees engaged can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve created an Employee Recognition Buyer’s Guide to help you make the best decision for your organization.

Our guide gives a comprehensive overview of how to choose the right employee recognition solution for your company’s culture, goals, and budget. You are the expert on your needs, and what makes your workforce unique. Complete with self-assessment worksheets, ROI calculations, platform evaluation checklists, and so much more, this guide will help you find the perfect partner.

What is a Buyer’s Guide?

A buyer’s guide helps customers make purchasing decisions. Our guide will simplify each step so you can make the best decision for your organization’s needs. We’ve broken it down into 5 simple sections:

1.     Employee Recognition Overview

2.    Organizational Needs Assessment

3.    Tips on Key Stakeholders, Timeline & Budget

4.    Platform Evaluation Worksheet

5.    Building Your Business Case

1. Employee Recognition Overview

Employee expectations have changed. Today’s leading organizations understand that money, time off, and rewards are no longer a primary driver in a desired workplace. Today’s employees expect meaningful and memorable recognition. The focus has shifted to building a strong culture through engagement, shared values, and performance-centered recognition. Our guide will walk you through the impact of employee disengagement and the benefits of a formal recognition program.

2. Organizational Needs Assessment

 There are many great employee recognition solutions on the market,  it’s up to you to determine which one is right for your business. Our guide includes a self-assessment worksheet that will help you decide which platform will suit your organization’s needs. Your answers to our strategic questions should help you identify the main problem you’re looking to solve. Our self-assessment exercise contains insightful topics like:

HR Challenges & Pain Points: Are you experiencing higher employee turnover than usual? What have your employees shared in recent exit interviews?

Your Current State: What are you currently doing to engage and recognize your employees? How are you measuring success?

Values & Culture: What changes would you like to see in your organization’s culture?

3. Tips on Key Stakeholders, Timelines & Budget

Many important factors go into selecting a recognition platform; key stakeholders, timelines, and budgets just scratch the surface of what to keep in mind. Our guide will help you answer all your questions in these areas, along with other crucial elements such as:

Implementation & Support: What does the onboarding process look like? Will you have continued support before and after your purchasing decision?

Integrations: Is the platform capable of integrating with your existing technology?

Who are the key stakeholders in my organization?

Deciding on an employee recognition platform impacts many parts of your organization. It’s important to identify who your key stakeholders could be in the decision-making process. In our guide, you will find key takeaways to consider when reaching out to your stakeholders about considering an employee recognition platform. It’s important to remember your HR team will have different questions and concerns than your CFO or CEO.

When should I launch my employee recognition program?

Our guide includes all the questions and topics you should discuss with your key stakeholders when deciding on a timeline. Whoever you choose to partner with will help you develop a realistic plan – including us! Kudos® has a team of dedicated Onboarding Specialists who can assist you in all aspects of your program launch.

How should I budget for an employee recognition program?

Building a budget can be difficult – that’s why our guide includes important factors to consider when evaluating quotes from different employee recognition platforms. For more solutions on building your budget, you can also read our article on Budgeting for Employee Recognition in our Resource Hub.

4. Platform Evaluation Worksheet

Our included worksheets make it easy for you to compare different platforms and ultimately find the right solution for your organization. You’ll be able to measure ROI, what the cost is to your organization when your employees are disengaged and use detailed checklists to keep track of the various features each platform offers.

5. Building Your Business Case

Even if you’ve selected a platform that satisfies all your organization’s needs, you’ll need a compelling presentation and business case for your executive team. We have included a framework for how you can present your solution to your stakeholders in a simple but informative way that will increase your chances of getting approval. These suggestions will help you create a convincing business case to win over your executive team, so you can move forward with your purchasing decision.

Successful organizations understand that employee recognition matters more than ever before. You’re already on the right track to creating a positive impact on your organization’s culture, and we want you to succeed in finding the right solution! Make your decision easier by downloading your free copy of our Employee Recognition Buyer’s Guide today.


5 min


8 Steps for Pitching Employee Recognition to Your Executive Team

8 Steps for Pitching Employee Recognition to Your Executive Team 8 Steps for Pitching Employee Recognition to Your Executive Team

Follow this framework to make the case for an employee recognition platform in your organization.

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This is part 3 of our 3-part “Making the Case” series, dedicated to helping you make a business case for employee recognition in your organization. Make sure to check out part 1 (Budgeting for Recognition)and part 2 (Calculating the ROI of Employee Recognition).

You've done your research, determined that recognition is an excellent solution to some of your organization's biggest pain points, and found a vendor you like (hopefully Kudos®).

It’s time to pitch to your leaders to get approval.  

While this can be a nerve-wracking process, it's also an incredible opportunity to showcase your knowledge and expertise and impress your leaders with a solid business case.

In this article, we share a simple framework that will help you make a case for an employee recognition platform. That said, the framework presented can be used for virtually any business proposal.

Prefer Video? The content in this article is covered in a recent webinar you can access for free on-demand here. By accessing the on-demand webinar, you’ll also be able to download your customizable pitch deck.

Tip: Give an early preview of your pitch to a key stakeholder and get their advice and feedback. This does two things: (1) It allows you to address some issues that might come up before the larger presentation, and (2) it converts that stakeholder into a friendly face so that during the main presentation, they will already be on your side and may even jump in to answer questions from other stakeholders in the room.

Now let’s jump into the 8 steps you’ll need to cover to successfully make the case.  

1. Mission: Create context and define the problem

Capturing the attention of your audience is critical. The key to doing this is clearly explaining your mission and the purpose of your pitch. Lead with the business need, define what you’re proposing and why you’re proposing it.  

Creating a mission statement for the initiative is a powerful way to do this. In the context of employee recognition, you could say, “my goal as an HR leader is to build a thriving culture based on measurable results. To achieve a thriving culture, we must reduce turnover, increase engagement, improve performance, and provide the tools for a more inclusive and happier culture.”  

Another great way is to connect your pitch to your company’s core values. For example, you could state that although your organization values innovation, your employee recognition practices are stuck in the past.

Finally, a powerful way to set the tone for your presentation is to tell a story. Share a personal experience or anecdote that will resonate with your audience while showcasing the reason behind your proposed initiative.

2. Current State: What’s the cost of doing nothing?

When covering your organization’s current state, it’s crucial to create a sense of urgency.

Clearly illustrate that things are changing beyond the control of the company, and there will be winners, and there will be losers. This sets the stage for your leaders to want to be winners, and that not addressing these outside forces will cause the business to become less competitive unless they find a way to navigate these shifts effectively.  

Another important component of this is the cost of doing nothing.

In the second article from this series, we present how to calculate the cost of absenteeism, turnover, and disengagement.  

Using hard data like those numbers is a great way to demonstrate where you are today, where you want to go and how you’ll measure success. Comparing your organization to your competitors using benchmark data is also a great way to capture your executive team’s attention.  

Clearly describe how the problem presented affects the business and impedes corporate success. Bring in actual data from your organization. When you finish this section, your audience should be convinced that doing nothing is not an option and should be eager to hear your proposed solution.

3. Future State: What does success look like?

What exactly are you hoping to achieve? How will you measure success with your proposed solution?

These are questions you need to answer in this section of your presentation.  

Another way to approach this section is to consider what outcomes you’re looking for and the drivers that can get you there.

What is the one most important thing that your manager or company could do to make a meaningful and far-reaching positive impact? In the case of employee recognition, you want to demonstrate that you’ve considered all possible options (or drivers) but have determined that recognition is the best solution to achieve your organization’s specific goals.  

Describe the approach you’re proposing and the known benefits of that approach.

4. Solution: How will you make this happen?

Now is the time to make your specific strategic recommendation. You’ve answered what will get you there; now it’s time to answer how.

This is where you propose your preferred vendor.

When recommending a vendor, it’s essential to show that you’ve compared various solutions to make the most strategic choice for your organization.

For employee recognition software, make sure to show that you’ve compared important features, including: Price per user, Rewards Markup, required integrations, support, analytics, mobile application, are rewards optional?

Show that you’ve done your homework, identified the most important qualities in a vendor, reviewed multiple options, and have a decision matrix that led you to your recommendation.

This Buyer’s Guide is a great resource; it includes an employee recognition vendor comparison checklist.

5. Cost: What budget needs to be allocated to this?

Once you recommend a concrete solution, the next thing you’ll need to address is the cost.

When approaching cost, a good starting point is to share benchmarks. For example, for modern employee recognition programs, the key cost benchmarks are:

  • Low: Under 1% of base salary
  • Average: 1-3% of base salary
  • Above Average: 4-10% of base salary

Next, present the actual cost of your proposal. Our budgeting spreadsheet is an excellent tool for this step. Following the spreadsheet will ensure that you consider all inputs such as your employee count, whether you’ll be including rewards and additional fees. Using the spreadsheet will allow you to show that you’ve compared vendors based on the total cost of ownership and are presenting the actual cost difference between your proposed solution and its competitors.

6. Financial Benefits: What’s the Impact?

Demonstrating the bottom-line impact of your proposal is often the most impactful part of the presentation.

The good news is that the financial benefit or ROI is undeniable with the right metrics when it comes to employee recognition platforms.

The ROI formula itself is relatively straightforward, and many of the required metrics should be readily available to you (e.g., turnover rate, engagement survey results, and absenteeism rate). You can see a step-by-step walk-through of how to calculate ROI here.

Beyond the ROI, demonstrating that your chosen solution has worked for other organizations is a powerful way to further support your case to a risk-averse executive team.

Examples you can use include:

  • Case studies
  • Client testimonials
  • Awards won
  • Product Reviews

7. Action Plan: How do we make this happen?

A vital component of a business proposal or business case is to present what your solution will look like in practice.

Make sure your presentation identifies the internal champions (likely yourself) and that you have buy-in from the most critical stakeholders for this initiative, for example, in the case of employee recognition, the CHRO, or Head of People (if that’s not you).

Ask your preferred vendor for an implementation plan and timeline so you can accurately predict and plan for a suitable go-live date.

8. Decision: Don’t forget to ask for Approval

This part is the simplest but most often overlooked step. After working through your presentation, and answering any questions along the way, don’t forget to ask for permission to proceed with the initiative.

If your executive team indicates that they need more time to make their decision, make sure to immediately schedule another time to ask for the decision again.

Reminder: The content of this article is covered in a recent webinar you can access for free on-demand here. By accessing the on-demand webinar, you’ll be able to download a customizable pitch deck.

Final Advice

Equipped with accurate budgeted costs, a persuasive ROI, along with a compelling and easy-to-follow presentation, you’ll be well on your way to getting the approval you are looking for to move forward with your plan.  

Remember that if you are confident and committed to your proposal, you’ll foster confidence within your executive team. They want a reason to say yes; it’s up to you to make the case.  


5 min


How Employee Recognition Can Fight the Great Resignation

How Employee Recognition Can Fight the Great ResignationHow Employee Recognition Can Fight the Great Resignation

Employee turnover is on every HR leader’s mind these days as people leave their jobs at an unprecedented rate. So, what’s going on? And what can organizations do to curb this costly trend?

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Employee turnover is on every HR leader’s mind these days as people leave their jobs at an unprecedented rate. So, what’s going on? And what can organizations do to curb this costly trend?

In the following, we explore:

  • What’s causing the “Great Resignation”?
  • Why does employee retention matter?
  • Why recognition, not money, is the answer.
  • What a successful recognition program looks like.

How Employee Recognition Can Fight the “Great Resignation”

It’s all over the news – employees are leaving their jobs in droves. HR Leaders are struggling with unprecedented rates of turnover and a competitive war for talent.

"This Great Resignation is due to employees rethinking what work means to them in a post-pandemic world."

And it’s true; the numbers are truly staggering. Gallup recently reported that 3.6 million Americans resigned in May 2021 alone, leading to a record-high number of unfilled positions. This was in all job categories across all industries. They’re calling it the Great Resignation. NPR explains that this Great Resignation is due to employees rethinking what work means to them in a post-pandemic world, how they are valued, and how they spend their time.

Some are leaving to avoid returning to the office, having enjoyed the flexibility remote work brought to their lives by eliminating lengthy and stressful commutes. And of course, some turnover can be attributed to people who waited for things in the world to calm down before making a job change.

But HR professionals are witnessing another interesting trend emerge from this wave of departures.

The people who are leaving are disengaged. In fact, Gallup found that 74% of people looking for a new job today, post-pandemic, are disengaged, “It's not an industry, role, or pay issue,” Gallup’s team says, “it's a workplace issue.” Employees are first and foremost now seeking a workplace that meets their needs in terms of flexibility but also one that makes them feel valued and appreciated.

Why retention matters

Simply put, when employees leave, it costs a lot.

The actual financial cost of turnover varies by role and industry. Still, the general rule of thumb is that replacing workers requires one-half to two times the employee's annual salary. This includes the cost of time, money, and resources it takes to offboard, recruit, and onboard.

HR professionals and leaders also need to consider the opportunity cost of recruitment, interviews, and onboarding. When employees take time away from their roles to interview, prepare offers, and train, they take efforts away from their jobs and projects and initiatives that could help generate income for the organization.

What’s more, saying goodbye to high-performing long-term employees means letting go of valuable historical knowledge, which often helps with onboarding new employees and providing excellent customer service. By the same token, when employees have long-term relationships with clients, their departure can be disruptive and sometimes jeopardize a client relationship, in some more severe cases.

Finally, turnover can affect morale and culture through resentment of the time spent on recruitment and onboarding, close friends leaving, and a constant inflow of new colleagues. Long-term relationships between colleagues foster trust, respect, and support, which directly impact employee engagement. Research consistently shows that when employees have friends at work, they perform better, and the culture improves.

Does more money and rewards motivate people to stay?

In short, no.

In Gallup’s most recent report on the so-called great resignation, they found that, on average, it takes more than a 20% raise to lure most employees away from a manager they feel engaged with. In contrast, the same study found that it takes next to nothing in terms of salary increase to lure away a disengaged worker. Another staggering study by Deloitte revealed that only 8% of businesses feel their rewards programs are effective at retaining talent.

It’s a job seeker market right now, which means the harsh reality is that most people in your organization could go elsewhere for more money if they wanted to - so what makes them stay?

Why recognition is the answer

“The single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce.”

Recognition leads to happy employees and better business results. Happy employees are more productive, creative, and supportive of their colleagues, but most importantly, they are more likely to stay. As Harvard Business Review (HBR) put it, “the single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce.”

Performance-wise, HBR found that more than 40% of employed Americans feel that they would put more energy into their work if they were recognized more often.

In terms of retention, Robert Half found that 66% of employees would quit if they didn’t feel recognized – for millennials, that number jumps to 76%. Similarly, a study by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) found that 79% of millennial and Gen Z survey respondents said an increase in recognition and rewards would make them more loyal to their employer. The study did find that giving financial recognition (in the form of casual rewards) to the two youngest generations at work provides these workers with a greater sense of personal fulfillment and helps boost employee retention.

Gallup also surveyed a similar group and found that Millennials engaged at work are 64% less likely to change jobs in the following 12 months. Given that by 2025 Millennials will make up three-quarters of the workforce, the need for robust employee engagement strategies and management is urgent to fight this unprecedented wave of resignations.

What an effective modern recognition program looks like

According to Josh Bersin, most recognition programs out there today focus on tenure (over 85%). At first glance, that makes sense - reward people for staying, but it’s not the most effective way to use recognition to improve retention of good employees. The U.S. Bureau of Labor’s latest report indicates that the median years of tenure for employees 25 and older is 4.9 years, and 2.8 years for employees aged 25-34. This means that if your recognition program is based on years of service and starts at year 5, around half of your employees (and even more for millennials) will never experience any form of formal recognition.

Instead, your recognition program should be tied to what's important to your organization, your values, and your goals. High-performing employees will not respond to programs based on tenure where “everyone wins.” As Gallup put it, “seeing awards for mediocre work will only signal to your stars that your organization is not for them.” Evidently, the world has changed, and your recognition program needs to evolve too.

But exclusive programs only for high performers aren't the answer either.

That's why Kudos's employee engagement and recognition platform has four distinct levels of recognition built-in, based on both performance and contribution. Employees can be recognized with a “Thank You” for an act of kindness or selflessness, all the way to an “Exceptional” for significant accomplishments and initiatives with a deep impact on the organization. Modern recognition programs provide transparency and are accessible for everyone from day one!

Final Thoughts

The Great Resignation is another unexpected challenge that the 2020 pandemic presented for HR professionals. Not only are HR departments and organizational leaders working on planning what the future of work looks like (back to the office, fully remote, hybrid), but now they are also facing the added challenge of recruiting and retaining talent. Creating a culture around recognition with a partner like Kudos is a simple and highly effective way to give today’s employees what they need to stay.

Given their extensive research in the space, Gallup believes, “reversing the tide in an organization requires managers who care, who engage, and who give workers a sense of purpose, inspiration, and motivation to perform. Such managers give people reason to stay.”

Schedule a call with Kudos today to discover how we can help! 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.


5 min


6 Reasons Why Employee Recognition is Critical in Healthcare

6 Reasons Why Employee Recognition is Critical in Healthcare6 Reasons Why Employee Recognition is Critical in Healthcare

How can HR professionals in healthcare can facilitate an excellent patient experience? One way is ensuring that their organization's employees are engaged.

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HR Professionals in healthcare organizations have a complex portfolio of responsibilities. They serve an incredibly diverse group of employees in a wide variety of job functions.

From nurses and physicians to janitors and administrative staff, every employee in a healthcare organization is essential; they all directly affect the patient experience through the care and effort they put into their job.

One way today's HR professionals in healthcare can facilitate an excellent patient experience is by ensuring that their organization's employees are engaged. While employee engagement has many facets, one often overlooked opportunity for health care organizations is employee recognition. Incredible work is being done every day in healthcare and sharing those successes through a platform visible to all can significantly improve employee engagement.

But is the implementation of a formal recognition platform worth it for healthcare organizations? The data and studies show that it is definitely a worthwhile investment and is, in fact, critical to organizational, employee, and patient health.

Here are six specific reasons why healthcare organizations need to prioritize employee engagement through recognition:

1. Healthcare Workers are Burnt Out

Burnout has always been a prominent issue for healthcare workers, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, this issue was especially prevalent. The typical burnout worsened during the pandemic and even led to many healthcare workers reporting feelings of psychological distress. That said, even before the pandemic, a 2016 study by the ECRI Institute found that burnout was a problem for most healthcare workers.

One proven way employers can work to reduce burnout is through recognition. If employees feel seen for their work and appreciated for their efforts, they may feel less inclined to "prove themselves" by working unnecessarily long hours or choosing not to take time off.

2. Engaged Employees are Less Likely to Leave

Turnover is a costly threat to many healthcare organizations today. Beyond the financial cost of turnover (estimated at 33% of the employee's annual salary), there are significant effects on morale and the workload of the remaining employees. When colleagues leave, employees have to say goodbye to a friend, cover their responsibilities and shifts, and train new hires. These effects can create a cycle of turnover, which creates a heavy financial and emotional burden for organizations.

Employee engagement directly affects the likelihood of an employee staying longer. A study reported by Harvard Business Review found that only 17% of highly engaged hospital workers were interested in other employment opportunities versus 43% of the disengaged group. What’s more, Deloitte reported that companies with cultures of recognition have 38% less turnover.

3. Improved Employee and Patient Safety

A study by Gallup revealed that employee engagement directly impacts the number of accidents on the job. The more engaged the employee is, the more likely they are to follow safety protocols and subsequently experience fewer accidents. Recognizing employees for safety will also encourage others to adhere to those same practices.

But even more interesting is that the same Gallup study discovered that engaged employees who operate more safely contribute to enhanced patient safety. Gallup saw a 15% increase in patient safety in the groups studied when their health care team was highly engaged.

4. Reduced Patient Deaths

A common indicator of the quality of medical care at a health care organization is the rate of patient deaths. In a study of over 200 hospitals, Gallup compared patient outcomes to possible contributing factors. The study found that nurse engagement is the No. 1 predictor of mortality across hospitals.

Given these results, it is clear that employee engagement truly is life or death in hospital settings, especially for nurses. The American Nurses Association compiled the following list of activities that encourage nurse engagement, and recognition landed first.

  1. Acknowledge the Work
  2. Provide Support from Leadership
  3. Foster Empathy and Trust
  4. Support Teamwork
  5. Encourage Work/Life Balance
  6. Communication

"Nurse engagement is the No. 1 predictor of mortality across hospitals."

5. Improved Organizational Performance

Organizations with highly engaged employees consistently perform better from an operational and business standpoint. One example of this is improved NPS scores or, for hospitals in the US, higher Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores.

A study in HBR found when organizations saw improvements in their HCAHPS scores for patient experience or employee engagement, the average patients' global ratings of their care improved.

As Charla Garcia, the CHRO at UMHRO, put it in a recent interview with Kudos, "Patient satisfaction is our ultimate measure. We have a saying, "Happy employees equal happy patients." Because we focus on supporting our staff, they are free to support our patients. The local community then does an amazing job of supporting us in return.”

6. HR Administrators Love it!

By prioritizing and streamlining recognition, HR Administrators can benefit from a consistent, transparent, and equitable program, and employees are happier. CFOs appreciate the built-in cost controls built-in, and given the benefits previously mentioned, HR has to spend less time managing unhappy employees, turnover, and security incidents.

What’s more, recruiting top talent is easier when your organization has a reputation for being a great place to work. Basically, a focus on employee recognition helps HR Administrators excel at their roles and contribute to their organizations in a meaningful way.

The points above outline just how critical employee engagement and recognition are for today's healthcare organizations. Luckily, there are employee recognition platforms like Kudos that are designed to serve the unique employee population in healthcare organizations.

Kudos' unique platform allows employees to give and view recognition through a web browser, mobile app, or kiosk (Kudos TV) – a flexible option that is inclusive and accessible.

But don't take it from us, here is what longtime client University of Missouri Health Care had to say:

"We found Kudos and we have never looked back. Their platform stood out over the rest of our options for a variety of reasons – but mostly because it checked every single one of our boxes. It wasn't just a delivery mechanism for rewards – it was the whole recognition package. We finally have data on our recognition efforts, and it's been so helpful in our employee engagement efforts. It is a perfect fit for our industry and culture – the mobile app has been such a game changer for us. Most of our employees do not sit at a desk all day. They are on the move and now they can recognize each other and redeem their points from anywhere. Kudos has single-handedly removed so many barriers to recognition.

We are so happy with our decision to partner with Kudos for our recognition needs."

Kaci Drennan, MPA
HR Communications Consultant
University of Missouri Health Care

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. Book your demo today!


5 min


Employee Recognition 101: Why, When & How

Employee Recognition 101: Why, When & HowEmployee Recognition 101: Why, When & How

Employee recognition is a continuously evolving space that has come a long way. Back when most employees spent their entire careers working for one company, pre-defined years of service awards and annual bonuses seemed to meet employees' recognition needs.

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This article is the fifth and final piece in our 5-part Employee Engagement and Culture Checklist for 2021 Series:

Employee recognition is a continuously evolving space that has come a long way. Back when most employees spent their entire careers working for one company, pre-defined years of service awards and annual bonuses seemed to meet employees' recognition needs. But today, employee expectations have changed, and the organizations that want to remain successful are actively working to address these new expectations.

In today’s HR departments, you’ll find culture specialists, total rewards managers, employee experience architects, and even chief happiness officers all dedicated to improving employee experience. What’s more, today’s c-suite is discussing employer brand, employee engagement, and stakeholder capitalism regularly.

Employee recognition is an essential piece of today’s HR puzzle - especially if your employees have recently reported a desire for more or better recognition in a survey or if you are experiencing high levels of turnover, poor performance, and employee burnout.

Here’s a simple overview to help you get to know the recognition space today and how you can make your employees and colleagues feel proud of their contributions at work.

Why is Recognition Important?

Recognition is vital to today’s workforce. Recent data collected by Gallup found that praising and recognizing employees can positively affect employee well-being and your organization’s bottom line. The report found that 66% of respondents trusted their colleagues more when they felt sufficiently praised. Adequately praised employees also produced better results and were more productive. A study on the importance of recognition found that today’s most progressive organizations use their recognition programs to consistently reinforce key behaviors and outcomes necessary to drive business success.

According to Forbes, recognized employees are “more satisfied, perform better, are more productive, and they’re more likely to engage with the rest of the team.” The Forbes piece explained that acknowledging employees for individual contributions reduces stress, absenteeism, and attrition. The previously quoted Gallup study found that employees who receive recognition also demonstrate increased collaboration through reduced self-protecting behaviors, such as information hoarding.

What we see at Kudos is that a good frequency and quantity of recognition, when all team members are sending between 3 to 5 messages per person per month, creates a culture of appreciation that leads to higher engagement.

Deloitte has identified these five market factors that make recognition especially important and relevant today:

  1. Unstable economy: recognition is typically more cost-effective and has a longer-term impact than expensive salary increases and bonuses.
  2. Need for greater agility: through recognition, organizations can retain employees and attract top talent.
  3. Flattening organizational cultures: recognition serves as appreciation for strong performance when promotions aren’t possible or the norm.
  4. Technology: Technology facilitates transparency, collaboration, and knowledge sharing, and that has become the expectation for today’s employees. Organizational recognition programs should fit that mold.
  5. Millennial Workforce: Millenials are the largest generation in the workforce, and they expect and demand more feedback than previous generations.

The ROI of recognition and employee engagement runs deep, but one of the most noticeable benefits to organizational culture and the bottom line is improved employee retention.

Employees who feel that they’re not adequately recognized at work are 3x more likely to quit in the next year, according to Gallup. Deloitte also reported that companies with cultures of recognition have 31 percent lower voluntary turnover. Another Deloitte report (The Talent 2020 Survey) found that recognition is among the top three most effective non-financial factors for retention.

When is Recognition Appropriate?

The timing of recognition matters. For recognition to appear authentic, it should be shared as close to the event or activity being recognized as possible, which means recognition should be given frequently. According to Gallup, fewer than a third of workers have received praise from a supervisor in the last seven days. In fact, Gallup's Chief Scientist Jim Carter has stated, "Recognition is a short-term need that has to be satisfied on an ongoing basis - weekly, maybe daily."

In organizations with cultures of recognition, significant accomplishments and small favors are recognized often and freely. Praise and gratitude are both critical components of recognition and should be shared equally. Beyond that, inclusivity is key. Everyone's contributions, regardless of their role, should be acknowledged if the impact is meaningful; this fosters belonging and improved employee morale.

Both individuals and groups should be recognized to maximize the benefits. When interviewed by Gallup, David Grazian, the Director of Corporate Taxation at Granite Construction, Inc., shared that publicly recognizing entire departments can improve the department's reputation within the organization while also helping you "get more resources" when you need them.

At Kudos, we have found that while group recognition is important, one-to-one recognition has more impact on affecting an individual's performance, sense of belonging, and engagement.

Finally, recognition doesn't just need to come from the top-down, i.e., manager-to-employee; recognition should flow to-and-from employees at all levels, which is what's known as peer-to-peer recognition. In fact, in some cases, the Society for Human Resource Management found that employees prefer to be recognized by their peers over their managers or superiors because their recognition feels more genuine.

How to Give Meaningful Recognition

How you deliver your recognition can make a difference in the impact it will have.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Be specific: Avoid dropping a generic, "Great job!" Instead, focus on what specifically the person did to earn the recognition and, when possible, how it advanced the individual or team towards a goal, and or demonstrated how to live a core value, and or advanced a company goal.
  2. Be transparent: If someone contributed to a team effort, make sure you specify exactly what they did in order to give them the credit they deserve. Also, include why you are recognizing an individual to show your sincerity.
  3. Recognize the effort, not the outcome: The goal of sending recognition is to encourage and reinforce positive behavior in your organization. By recognizing the work and thought that went into an accomplishment, you are not only providing meaningful recognition to the individual but also signaling to the broader organization what type of effort gets recognized.
  4. Make it meaningful: Recognize when it truly is warranted, using the two points above as a guide (specificity and transparency.) Gallup explains that “if everyone wins, no one wins” and that a recognition approach where everyone gets a turn regardless of the quality of their work can breed “resentment and, ultimately, cynicism.”
  5. Organizational values and mission: Tying recognition back to organization’s goals can make an employee feel like their contributions matter to the organization’s success. In fact, Human Resources Today’s definition of Employee Recognition mentions this exact point “Employee Recognition is nothing but the acknowledgment of an individual or team for their hard work, efforts, and accomplishments that go with the organization's goals and values.”

Here are some templates to help you get started:

Finally, It's all in the delivery. To enjoy all the benefits of recognition discussed above, like increased productivity, employee engagement, and reduced turnover, the delivery method must be effective. Luckily, as employee expectations have changed, so has technology. Where recognition used to be more at the individual manager’s discretion and generally hidden from the rest of the company, organizations who want to build a culture of recognition have implemented employee recognition platforms to streamline the process and create more transparency and accountability surrounding who is receiving recognition and how often. The recognition platform leaders provide a system that facilitates peer-to-peer recognition driven by values and visible to the entire organization – and robust analytics to track and measure success.

Points are not the point. Today, recognition is often confused with rewards, specifically points that employees can use toward gift cards or other perks. While rewards are a fantastic tool to reinforce performance and contribution, they are not interchangeable with recognition and certainly don’t have the same long-lasting impact on employee engagement. In a Gallup study, money or financial reward ranked fifth as the most memorable form of recognition, after public and private praise, positive reviews, and added responsibilities. Simply put, if points are the central element of a recognition moment, that is a reward program, not a recognition program.

In 2021, recognition is a critical component of any organization's human resources strategy. The ROI of recognition is undeniable. With hybrid workforces as the new normal, having a plan for employee engagement regardless of geography should be top of mind for every c-suite. If it isn’t, we challenge you to add it to your next management team meeting agenda to start the conversation.


5 min


6 Factors to Consider When Choosing Employee Recognition Software

6 Factors to Consider When Choosing Employee Recognition Software6 Factors to Consider When Choosing Employee Recognition Software

Organizations where managers recognize and praise employee performance not only see a boost in individual employee engagement but according to Gallup, also benefit from an increase in productivity and loyalty to the company, leading to higher retention.

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Organizations where managers recognize and praise employee performance not only see a boost in individual employee engagement but according to Gallup, also benefit from an increase in productivity and loyalty to the company, leading to higher retention. The impact of employee recognition on an organization is undeniable.

Many companies have one or more initiatives for recognizing or rewarding employees which are typically manual and focus on length-of-service, nominations, and spot awards. These traditional methods are time-consuming for HR, lack impact and reach, and do not translate well into the post-COVID-19 remote world of work. Traditional rewards and recognition programs also suffer from not being cost-effective, nor scalable. By far, the largest issue with these antiquated programs is that they do not offer any true insights or ways to measure employee engagement in real-time. Based on these shortcomings, you may want to consider investing in a modern employee recognition software system.

Given the many software options, you might be wondering how best to choose the right program and partner for your company. Here are the top factors you should consider when choosing your next employee recognition program:

1. Consider Your Company Objectives and Goals

Our guess is, the number one thing your organization wants is to drive performance by aligning your teams’ efforts to the organization’s goals. That’s often closely followed by a need to reinforce the company mission, vision, and values at every opportunity to amplify your organization’s key differentiators. This can only be accomplished by reaching all your people with frequent positive feedback that celebrates them for the individual contributions and efforts. People working in your organization have different skills and habits. If you want to have an effective employee recognition program, you'll have to understand all these differences and ways you can recognize your team for their contributions.

Your employee recognition software should emphasize and inspire behavior associated with your company's core values, mission, and vision. It should further meet your employees' needs by considering all aspects of their job.

Questions to ask:

  • What devices or media do my employees have access to daily (eg. Computers, smartphones)
  • Do most of my employees use an internet-connected device as part of their daily work?

2. Compatibility with Your Other Systems

Choosing an employee recognition software that integrates with some or all your existing software has several benefits. First, it reduces the amount of time your HR or people team will need to spend administering the system. Second, it can make a massive difference in driving adoption within your organization. There are three broad categories of integrations that you’ll want to look for:

User Provisioning: These types of integrations usually hook into your existing HR software like ADP or BambooHR and save time by automatically keeping your employee data synced between all your systems.

Single-Sign-On: These integrations make it easy for your employees to log into your employee recognition software without needing to remember or create a brand-new username and password combination.

Productivity: This integration type is a client favorite at Kudos! These integrations enable your employees to send and receive recognition from their existing software (like MS Teams, Outlook, or Slack) without needing to log into the employee recognition software. These integrations have a big impact on adoption within many organizations.

You’ll want to make a list of your various software solutions and work with your vendor to identify which integrations make sense for your organization.

Questions to ask:

  • What software does my organization use?
  • Are integrations an important factor in our employee recognition strategy?

3. Recognition or Rewards?

Everyone loves a reward, but when your employees tell you that they want more recognition at work, they don’t mean more rewards. They mean meaningful, memorable recognition for the work that they’ve done.

Be sure to look for a solution that emphasizes quality recognition above the rewards aspect. This will ensure that your chosen solution drives the right behaviors and is less prone to being gamed by its users.

Keep in mind that, in addition to the software subscription fees, some software vendors make profit by taking a commission from the rewards your employees redeem in their software, reducing the overall impact of your investment.

Questions to ask:

  • Are rewards required or are they optional?
  • Does the vendor markup rewards or make money by selling points?

4. Prioritize Security

Organizations have a responsibility to protect the personal information of their employees. Your software provider should have the necessary policies and background in place to show their commitment to providing enterprise-level security. Your vendor security audits will go quicker and smoother working with vendors that have a track record for meeting the demands of enterprise data security requirements.

Questions to ask:

  • Is there someone dedicated to security and privacy oversight?
  • What third parties are used in delivering the services and what oversight / monitoring is provided over these?
  • What independent assurance do you provide over your security and privacy practices?

5. Choose a Scalable Employee Recognition Software

Will the software you choose to accommodate your growing business? If you plan to expand your recognition program to divisions or business units in other countries or regions, you’ll want to choose a platform that can provide service to those areas and in those languages.

And remember, when shopping for your employee recognition software, you’ll want to factor in the future costs of rewards as you expand the program through your organization.

6. It Should Be Fun

Your employees will be eager to interact with a program that feels exciting, so your chosen vendor should provide detailed launch plans to create a splash at your organization.

With millennials turning 40 this year, a large part of the workforce is ready to interact these types of social programs. If you're going to appeal to this category of employees, the software you choose should have core capabilities like commenting and liking as part of the social recognition activity. Employee recognition can even support inclusion in your organization if you roll out the program in the right way.

The Right Employee Recognition Software Is a Resource for Your Business

The relationships between teams and people in your organization can improve when you use the ideal employee recognition software. With the number of programs available, you’ll want to do your due diligence on your chosen software option. It should have a straightforward process of recognition and the latest software features for improved efficiency.

Ensure that your software vendor is reliable. Partnering with a provider who has industry-leading knowledge of employee recognition programs will be a resource for you.

Are you in need of employee recognition software for your company? Kudos is the platform that builds high-performing workplace cultures and increases employee engagement. Request a demo today to see how Kudo works.


5 min


5 Creative Work Anniversary Ideas For Your Team

5 Creative Work Anniversary Ideas For Your Team5 Creative Work Anniversary Ideas For Your Team

With many teams now working remotely, the traditional ways that organizations celebrate work anniversaries are no longer viable. Even so, work anniversaries are still an excellent opportunity to celebrate your employees.

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With many teams now working remotely, the traditional ways that organizations celebrate work anniversaries are no longer viable. Even so, work anniversaries are still an excellent opportunity to celebrate your employees.

By recognizing them for their service to your company, you can boost team morale, happiness, and retention — all important things to the success of your organization.

If you want to celebrate your team members’ big milestones, but don't know how in the age of working from home, we're here for you! Keep reading to discover five creative work anniversary ideas for organizations of all kinds.

1. Recognize Team Members Publicly

For companies with more than a couple hundred employees, writing a personal note for every work milestone quickly becomes too time consuming to be practical. At this point, many companies start looking for ways to streamline the process of recognizing milestones — usually publicly and in real-time.

By the way, recognizing your employees’ work anniversaries publicly isn’t just about the individual — you’re creating an opportunity for everyone in your organization to join in the celebration. There are plenty of ways to do this. Here are a few examples:

  • Virtual Parties: A digital get-together hosted via a video conferencing platform like Zoom is a fun way to celebrate work anniversaries — even in the age of social distancing. The kind of party you host is up to you. For instance, you could have a virtual happy hour, or hire a magician or comedian to perform on-screen.
  • Peer-to-Peer Recognition: An employee recognition software like Kudos is an excellent way to publicly recognize and thank employees for their contributions and commitment. Plus it eliminates the manual work that typically makes years-of-service awards so time-consuming. Once birthdays and/or work anniversaries are configured in your organization, every employee’s milestones are posted in Kudos on their special day, making it easy for everyone in the company to send their well-wishes. For companies that offer their employees rewards, each milestone can be accompanied with a certain number of points redeemable for a Kudos Reward or a custom company reward.
  • Social Media Posts: Posting on your company's social media pages is a great way to celebrate your employees. It doesn't get much more "public" than that! This approach also has the added benefit of positively impacting your employer brand by showing the world that you value your employees enough to celebrate them in this way. We just suggest checking with individual employees before doing this to make sure they're comfortable with it.

At Kudos, we take a hybrid approach with our employees. Everyone receives a Kudos Award® on their work anniversary — with tons of comments and congratulations from the rest of the team. But we also like to do a little something extra and hold a monthly virtual “Birthdays & Anniversaries” party just to get everyone together and have a little fun.

Pro Tip: If you’re using Kudos, your managers will receive automated reminders about employees who are about to celebrate a milestone or birthday. Use it to get a head start on your planning!

2. Provide a Virtual Career-Planning Session

In 2020, the average worker changes jobs every four years or so. There are many potential reasons for this — better pay, more amicable boss, shorter commute. Oftentimes employees get bored and simply want to embark on a new adventure.

But here's the thing: employee turnover is expensive. Replacing quality workers every few years isn't a great way to build a high-performance culture or a successful company.

That's why a virtual career-planning session can be such a great way to recognize a work anniversary!

Employees get to learn about ways to level up in the company, discover new roles that might interest them, and explore potential income-boosting opportunities that could become available to them in the future.

At the same time, your company sends a clear message that it values its employees, and enjoys the benefit of keeping its best team members engaged while increasing their value to the organization.

3. Create a One-of-a-Kind, Personalized Piece of SWAG

Instead of giving your employees a generic, one-size-fits-all piece of SWAG, or a plaque or trophy that just sits there taking up space, consider highly personalized items that not only name the person, but also calls out the values and qualities that they’ve displayed on the job. This level of personalization gives your team members daily reminders of why they’re valued in your organization.

Pro Tip: In Kudos, you can easily identify the qualities and values that are highest in each employee’s KQ. Here’s an example of a mug that highlights both the qualities that were represented, as well as the qualities that were recognized by this individual:

4. Support an Employee-Chosen Charity

Your employees also have personal values and causes they want to help further. That's why supporting an employee-chosen charity in recognition of their loyalty to your company is one of the best work anniversary ideas out there!

Show your team that you recognize and support their values (and help make the world a better place in the process) by donating to a charitable cause on their behalf.

5. Provide a Book of Memories

Forget the glass trophies and autographed photos of your CEO - when an employee has reached five, ten, or more years of service, they’ve probably created a lot of great memories. The thing is, over time a lot of those great moments become hazy, and the feeling of success and joy that comes from them becomes distant. Remind them! For a key milestone, create a memory book for a fantastic way to celebrate your employees, and remind them of the memories and success they have shared with your company.

If you’re already using Kudos, then you have an advantage here. Pop over to your employee’s Kudos profile and look for any “Impressive” and “Exceptional” Kudos message that has been received by the employee — those make for great memories! Next, hop into Albums and find any photos from company events with your all-star employee in them. You’ve now established a treasure trove of content for a meaningful book of memories.

Once you’ve designed your book, you can deliver it virtually via PDF, or have a printer ship it directly to your employee’s home. For extra credit, have your employee hold it up during your next virtual team party!

Celebrate Your Team in Meaningful Ways

Work anniversaries are important milestones and should definitely be celebrated. We encourage you to get creative and really make this moment special for your team members! Whether you celebrate them publically or offer to support their favorite charity, the gesture will definitely be appreciated and help boost team morale and retention. Good luck!


5 min


Tips on engaging your team in healthcare

Tips on engaging your team in healthcareTips on engaging your team in healthcare

Engage your staff in meaningful conversations and ensure they feel safe giving you honest answers about their work experiences.

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Texas' Uvalde Memorial Hospital may have a small HR team, but they're helping to rack up some big achievements, including placing on Modern Hospital’s “100 Best Places to Work” three years running and scoring in the 90th percentile on employee engagement surveys. How do they do it?

We’ve got the answers in this interview with Charla Garcia, the CHRO at UMHRO. It’s a condensed and edited version of our very entertaining webinar featuring Charla in conversation with Tom Short of Kudos. Read on to Charla's tips on creating a better workplace and keeping teams happy and engaged in their work — even when problematic situations arise.

How were you able to raise your employee engagement score from the 67th percentile nationwide to the upper 90th percentile?

First, a new CEO was brought in who had a completely different philosophy than the previous executive. He came from a nursing family so he was very relationship-oriented, which led us to start asking our staff, "Do you have the tools and equipment to do your job?"

When we received 'No' responses, we worked hard to remove the barriers our staff were facing so that they could better serve our patients. Everything became easier after that.

Our staff began to open up more because we were having frequent conversations, they began to ask for the things they needed because they knew they could, and they brought up process issues so that we could become more efficient.

Once our employees were taken care of and felt safe expressing their ideas, our hospital's level of patient care went up as well.

Tip: Engage your staff in meaningful conversations and ensure they feel safe giving you honest answers about their work experiences.

What goals and/or metrics have you put in place to measure employee engagement?

Patient satisfaction is our ultimate measure. We have a saying, "Happy employees equal happy patients." Because we focus on supporting our staff, they are free to support our patients. The local community then does an amazing job of supporting us in return.

In fact, the community has supported us so well, we were able to raise five million dollars to build a new cancer center in our area!

But it's important to remember that there's a difference between employee engagement and employee satisfaction. When employees already like what they do, HR just has to remove barriers. I can streamline communication and invest in better tools for my staff. But I can't make them love their jobs.

Tip: Always measure patient (or customer) satisfaction as this is the best way to gauge the effectiveness of your employees.

Have the “top 100” rankings and other accolades you've received helped in recruiting or provided any other benefits to your team?

It has! We actually just hired a very experienced OR tech from San Antonio. These kinds of professionals are very hard to find in our small town and we usually have to train up our own OR techs, (AKA scrub techs).

During the orientation process, I showed this professional the accolades our hospital has received and examples of our staff's teamwork and camaraderie. At the end, he asked for a copy of the presentation so that he could show his wife why he wanted to move away from the big city and work at Uvalde Memorial Hospital.

It's so important to be aligned with the values of the organization you're employed by. When you believe in the mission of your company and know that you'll be treated with respect by management and your colleagues, engagement is much more natural.

Tip: Working to create amazing employee experiences can actually help your organization recruit top talent. So, don't be afraid to promote your successes in this area!

How do you build community and what have been some of your most successful employee engagement initiatives?

We do a lot of community activities that involve our whole families. We also do Hospital Week where we invite the community into the hospital to teach them about what we do. We try to make it really fun and let them see our air ambulance transportation and EMR bus.

This helps the community realize how advanced our hospital equipment is and how talented our staff and physicians are — even though we're a very small town.

Of course, we also do the dunk tank! We ran a contest to see who would get put in the dunk tank – our hospital's CEO, CFO, COO, or me, the CHRO. The whole hospital got really into it and couldn't wait to see who would get dunked.

It can be very beneficial to host events and activities that are fun and not necessarily business related. It allows people to get to know each other better. 

Tip: Employee engagement initiatives that involve family members can be advantageous and help build community within your organization.

Was it difficult to get leadership buy-in for all of the employee engagement initiatives you've implemented?

In 2004, a new CEO took over who was the catalyst for all of these initiatives. In 2015, our current CEO took control of the organization and just wanted to support what we were already doing. So, for the most part, it hasn't been difficult to get leadership buy-in.

But I will say that leadership first opposed us using Kudos, just because they thought we were fine doing everything by hand. We were eventually able to convince them to give the software a try by highlighting the announcement feature in Kudos, which allows us to get important information to each of our employees in a timely manner.

Kudos has been a tremendous tool for us! It's so easy to use and it's a lot of fun watching our staff tag each other, make jokes, wish each other happy birthday, and recognize their colleagues in a public forum for exceptional work.

Tip: An employee engagement tool like Kudos can help you create a winning company culture that your staff is excited to be a part of.

What's been your experience like when measuring employee engagement versus satisfaction and how do you demonstrate success in these areas?

The questions on our employee surveys speak to both engagement and satisfaction. For example, we ask questions like:

  • How is your relationship with your team?
  • How much do you like what you do?
  • Do you have the tools and equipment that you need?
  • Do you receive timely communication?
  • Do you know your senior leader's vision?
  • Do you feel like senior leadership can be straightforward and honest?

We always ask our employees to be completely honest in the surveys because that's the only way that we can improve our organization.

Tip: Survey your employees on a regular basis and empower them to answer your questions as honestly as possible. Then use their feedback to improve.

Do you have specific advice for someone just starting their journey to a more engaged and satisfied workforce?

First I would say, listen to the people doing the work. If you're in a management position, you need to be open to hearing their voices and acting on their input. Clear communication is the foundation of employee engagement and satisfaction.

The worst thing you can do is say you'll do something, and then fail to do so. When this happens, your team will stop giving you their opinions, communication will come to a standstill, and engagement and satisfaction levels will plummet.

Second, reward and recognize the successes your team has. It's the little acts of kindness that show everyone else how important your staff is to your organization.

Tip: The little things matter! Simply listening to your employees and recognizing them for their hard work can go a long way.

In Conclusion

Crafting excellent employee experiences that both engage staffers and leave them feeling satisfied is crucial. Fortunately, doing so isn't rocket science. By listening to your team and recognizing them for their contributions, you'll be able to build a winning organizational culture that people are excited to be a part of.

Looking for a tool to help you enhance the employee experience? Give Kudos a try! Our award-winning platform is used by organizations in 80 different countries around the world.


5 min


8 Stats to Get Your Leadership on Board with a Recognition Program

8 Stats to Get Your Leadership on Board with a Recognition Program8 Stats to Get Your Leadership on Board with a Recognition Program

You know that a quality employee recognition program could do wonders for your company.

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You know that a quality employee recognition program could do wonders for your company.

But how do you convince the leadership at your company – especially if they’re looking closely at ROI? It's not always easy to draw a correlation between positive company culture and a boost in a company's bottom line.

The answer: point your leaders towards these eight stats on the numerous benefits and immense value that an employee recognition program can provide.

Let's dive in!

1. 82% of employees are open to new opportunities.

According to Job Seeker Nation, a big portion of your team is either actively looking for a new job, or at least open to the idea of working for a new employer right now. That is bound to include some key people who are crucial to your organization. It’s a good thing to remind your leaders. And then, to really make your case, also remind them ...

2. Employee turnover can cost organizations anywhere from 16% to 213% of the departing employee's annual salary.

Replacing employees isn't cheap. The costs of advertising for open roles, screening resumes, interviewing candidates, and training new team members really adds up. And we haven't even factored in the dip in productivity and employee morale your company will experience when an employee decides to move on.

According to PeopleKeep, it can cost 16% of annual salary to replace low-wage workers and 213% of annual salary to replace highly-educated executives. This translates to anywhere from $3,328 to $213,000 dollars on average.

3. Companies that focus on “employee experience” rather than perks have 4x the average profits of those that don’t.

A proper employee recognition program that boosts team engagement won't just help you save money, it'll also help you make more of it.

Harvard Business Review tells us that, of the companies they surveyed, ones that were committed to providing top-notch employee experiences rather than simple perks were able to increase annual profits by an average of 400%.

Additionally, many of the companies surveyed who had achieved these amazing results were 25% smaller than those who didn't. This leads us to believe that engaged employees are also more productive and innovative than their disengaged counterparts.

4. Happy employees take 10x fewer sick days than unhappy ones.

The Wall Street Journal tells us that when your employees are happy and enjoy the work they do, they'll be much less likely to call in sick. Additionally, they'll stick with your company for twice as long and spend twice as much of their on-the-clock hours focused on what you're paying them to do. Win, win, win!

One of the best ways to create happy employees is to simply recognize them for the contributions they make. (In other words, implement an employee recognition program.)

According to Gallup, when compared with business units in the bottom quartile of engagement, those in the top quartile see:

5. 70% fewer employee safety incidents.

Nobody wants their employees to suffer an injury while working for their business. And maintaining a stellar safety record is crucial to the success of your company. Organizations that don't maintain safe working environments are subject to bad press, low employee morale, and the extra expense that stems from on-the-job injuries. By prioritizing employee engagement, you'll take a practical step towards reducing harmful accidents.

6. 17% higher productivity.

Companies that excel at employee engagement are 17% more productive, on average than companies who don't. Imagine how many more projects you'll complete with this level of added efficiency!

Productivity is directly related to team member satisfaction and greater revenue, making this benefit of employee recognition one of the most powerful.

7. 20% higher sales.

If the other stats listed in this article don't convince your leadership to adopt an employee recognition program, maybe this one will: recognizing employees can increase sales by as much as 20% according to Gallup. That should get their attention!

Engaged employees generate more sales because they're willing to work harder and care more about the customers they serve, which often leads to repeat business.

8. 21% higher profitability. 

At the end of the day, greater productivity and employee satisfaction wouldn't matter as much if it didn't affect your company's bottom line. Fortunately, a proper recognition program that successfully engages employees has been shown to increase profitability by 21%.

Wrapping Up

A proper employee recognition program can give a big boost to your company, enabling it to achieve greater productivity levels, better team morale, and higher profitability metrics. Hopefully, the above stats are more than enough to convince your leadership of these facts.

If you're looking for an employee recognition tool that will allow you to easily and effectively recognize your employees for their contributions, give Kudos a try. Our award-winning software is used by hundreds of companies in 80 countries around the world. Talk to the bot below (it’s pretty smart) to arrange to see Kudos in action.


5 min


How employee recognition can support inclusion in the workplace

How employee recognition can support inclusion in the workplaceHow employee recognition can support inclusion in the workplace

Diversity and inclusion programs, and the progressive thinking behind them, are essential to organizations – influencing their values, culture, policies, and procedures.

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Diversity and inclusion programs, and the progressive thinking behind them, are essential to organizations – influencing their values, culture, policies, and procedures. While the diversity side of these programs deals with who gets hired and why, the inclusion side is about creating and maintaining workplaces where every person feels welcome, safe, and valued for who they are. Both are vital, but here we will look at the inclusion side.

Our thesis is simple: while often overlooked, a recognition program can help organizations make important strides in creating an inclusive workplace. Here’s how:

Give everyone the power to be heard

One of the great innovations and insights of modern recognition programs has been to democratize recognition by making it peer to peer. This is a major advancement over the previous “top down” style of workplace recognition that only gave voice to senior managers according to their (no doubt narrower) criteria of which actions and which people should be recognized.

When you democratize recognition, everyone has a voice: the people (your team) decide which actions, tasks, accomplishments, attitudes and values get recognized. That means more diverse viewpoints that not only create a culture that is better at innovation and problem solving, but that also spreads the good feelings and empowerment that come with recognition to a wider range of people. When everyone is heard, everyone feels valued.

Promote a diverse range of qualities and values

The pillars of a company’s culture are the values they promote. A good recognition platform lets a company choose the values or behaviors they want to encourage in their organization. When you use a typical recognition platform, you can check off the qualities or behaviors you want to recognize your team members for. To give you some idea of the range, the list of qualities you can select to recognize their colleagues could include: attentive, communicative, compassionate, creative thinking, execution, gratitude, intentional, positive, supportive, teamwork, timely, passion, professional, accountable, and agile.

Having a wide range of qualities to choose from encourages us to think more broadly about the qualities and values that matter to us. This leads to more people getting recognized for more actions – spreading the feeling of belonging more widely across the company. And perhaps more importantly, we are inspired to appreciate and value the different strengths and capabilities that make us all individuals.

Encourage values and actions that increase a sense of belonging

A well-designed recognition program can also lead team members to think and act in inclusive ways. Recognition in a business can be thought of as coming in two forms: appreciative and performance based. Both are important but appreciative recognition can sometimes get overlooked or at least take a back seat. A well-designed recognition program can help an organization get the balance right.

Appreciative recognition honors team members for everyday actions. Delivering someone’s documents when we go by the printer (when we used to be in the office together!) could earn someone recognition for being “Attentive.” Making sure everyone is heard at meetings would be “Compassionate” and “Supportive.” Contributing to group activities in a video call: “Teamwork.” Raising morale with a well-timed joke: “Positive.” Especially when shared, these simple gestures are the building blocks of a culture that creates a sense of connection and belonging.

And, of course, recognition is a great way to support and encourage team members who are consciously supporting a respectful, compassionate, inclusive, and diverse workplace.

Get data that helps you know how to improve inclusion

Recognition platforms typically include dashboards, reports, leaderboards, and the ability to see the messages people are sending. The first, and perhaps most important benefit is that you can see if any individuals or groups are being left out and take action.

You can also see and track which values people in your organization are living and expressing. If you see a lot of recognition for qualities like compassion, positivity, being supportive, and teamwork, for example, you’re probably on the right track at encouraging an inclusive workplace. If all of the recognition being sent in your organization is for more performance-based qualities, you might have some work to do.

Make connections you might not normally make

When you actively encourage recognition and make it easy – as recognition platforms are designed to do – you are more likely to see people connecting with and appreciating people outside of the groups they normally interact with. This is especially valuable in the era of remote work where a recognition platform can supplement the usual “physical” interactions that you expect around the office are not available.

Hopefully, you’ll find these ways recognition programs can support inclusion initiatives helpful. Along with your other initiatives, we think you’ll find a recognition program a powerful tool in creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace where every team member feels welcome and valued for who they are.

Kudos® is an employee recognition and engagement company that supports companies in a wide range of market sectors in 80 countries. Our easy-to-use SaaS recognition platform helps organizations by supporting employee inclusion, reducing turnover, increasing employee engagement, strengthening culture, and boosting morale and productivity.

More: What COVID can teach us about diversity and inclusion

We had the honor of having Cornell Verdeja-Woodson, a Diversity Business Partner for Google Cloud, as a guest on our Work From Home Show podcast. Cornell has a very original and thought-provoking take on what the remote work era can teach us about privilege and diversity and inclusion. Hear the podcast. Read the blog.


5 min


7 Fun Ways to Celebrate on Employee Appreciation Day

7 Fun Ways to Celebrate on Employee Appreciation Day7 Fun Ways to Celebrate on Employee Appreciation Day

Knowing how to celebrate your team on Employee Appreciation Day is one thing, actually doing it effectively is another.

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Employee Appreciation Day is right around the corner, on March 6th, 2020. Your team deserves to be recognized for the hard work they do for your company, so if you forget to celebrate them on this day, you might have a few unhappy campers on your hands!

While we believe that employee appreciation shouldn’t be relegated to a single date, here are some tips on how to make this Employee Appreciation Day memorable for your whole team.

7 ways to celebrate your employees

  1. Extended lunchtime: Give your team an extra-long lunch break to relax, recharge and feel appreciated. Better yet, pair this idea with one or two of the following for an extra special Employee Appreciation Day event.
  2. Handwritten thank-you notes: Write personalized notes to each of your team members detailing the impact of their contribution to the organization. To make it a game, type the note in code and have your team try to break it together.
  3. Awards: Create awards for each member of your team. They can highlight professional and organizational accomplishments. Or they can be more creative and fun and showcase your company culture. Who would win for "Top Coffee Connoisseur"?
  4. Boardgame tournament: Ask your team to bring in their favorite board game and spend part of the day having some team fun. You could even start a team tournament to encourage a little healthy competition.
  5. Thankover: What's a Thankover? Throughout the day, use your office speaker system to play celebratory songs and thank your employees for their efforts. This is a great way to acknowledge individual accomplishments in a fun, public way.
  6. Out-of-office activities: If you really want to have a good time, take your team out for an afternoon or evening adventure. What you do is completely up to you and the makeup of your staff. A few ideas include bowling, laser tag, and karaoke.
  7. Charitable Giving: Which causes and charities do your team members support? How about making donations on their behalf? This idea has two benefits: you show your appreciation for your team and you make the world a better place. It’s win, win!

These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. If you sit down and think about it for a minute, we're sure you'll be able to come up with a ton of amazing ideas. Once you do, let us know about them in the comments!

Employee Appreciation Day best practices

Knowing how to celebrate your team on Employee Appreciation Day is one thing, actually doing it effectively is another. Be sure to keep these three best practices in mind as you gear up for your big celebratory event next week:

  • Appoint an employee appreciation ambassador (or a group of folks) who will be in charge of organizing your company's celebration plans.
  • Make sure your managers are on board with your plans and are willing to participate. This will encourage and engage the entire team.
  • Survey your employees once your celebration is over so that you can gather feedback and build on your success in future years.

How Kudos makes Employee Appreciation Day better

While planning an epic Employee Appreciation Day celebration might sound like a lot of effort, it's definitely worth it! Recognizing your staff's contributions with a fun office party can boost engagement, which has been proven to reduce turnover and improve performance.

Plus, a platform like Kudos will enable you to plan your event quickly and easily. Here's how our platform can help:

Get the word out

Kudos makes it a piece of cake to get the team on board. Here are a few tips:

  • Create a document and post it in Pages to provide full details of the initiative — include details like a schedule of the day, any special events and instructions.
  • Let the team know! Use the Kudos announcement widget to notify the team of Employee Appreciation Day. Continue to push out announcements in the days leading up to your event.
  • Add the day and event to the calendar. Create an event so it shows up on the wall, in the calendar and has the details the team needs.

Other communication formats

  • Posters: Create your own fun posters to post in the image widget or print off and post in common staff areas.
  • Photo albums: Commemorate the occasion by posting photos of the day with an appreciation message and upload them to Albums on your Kudos site.
  • Kudos banners: Update the theme of your Kudos site with an Employee Appreciation Day banner.
  • Desktop wallpaper/screensaver: Create a desktop/screensaver for the day so your team can feel appreciated the moment they turn on their computer.

Recognize your employees

Employee recognition is Kudos' bread and butter. So, our platform includes many ways for management to recognize employee achievements, and for employees to reward and celebrate the accomplishments of their coworkers.

During your Employee Appreciation Day celebration, you can use Kudos to award your team points. If you use rewards on your Kudos site, they can then redeem their points for physical rewards like gift cards or other benefits like a half-day off or a better parking spot.

Kudos also has real-time feedback capabilities. This feature can be used pre-event to get answers from your team regarding questions like who's the "Top Coffee Connoisseur?" Then you can award Kudos points to the winner, as we mentioned above.

Make the most of Employee Appreciation Day 2020

Employee Appreciation Day is right around the corner. But don't worry, you now know how to celebrate your team effectively and ensure they feel valued for the hard work they do. Whether you decide to extend lunchtime, hand out awards, or something else, make an effort to recognize your team on March 6th. They'll appreciate it, guaranteed!

Talk to us about year-round employee appreciation

Don’t forget that Kudos can not only assist you in creating buzz around this special day but it can also make every day feel like employee appreciation day.  Click on the chatbot at the bottom right to get the conversation started.


5 min


What is Recognition and Why Do Companies Need It?

What is Recognition and Why Do Companies Need It?What is Recognition and Why Do Companies Need It?

We want praise in most any form, especially from those we look up to, which is why many organizations prioritize recognition as part of a broader engagement strategy.

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When you think of ‘recognition,’ you’re likely to think of words of encouragement or phrases such as, ‘job well done!’

That’s because recognition is, at its core, an expression of appreciation that one person shows another. In most cases, we give recognition verbally and frequently throughout each day - whether it’s at work, at the grocery store, between friends and family, or even to a stranger.

However, when it comes to the workplace and organizational culture, what is recognition?

Moreover, why do companies need it?

Recognition is inherent and intuitive

People crave recognition.

We want praise in most any form, especially from those we look up to, which is why many organizations prioritize recognition as part of a broader engagement strategy.  

That doesn’t mean, however, that all recognition is equal.

Some companies focus on rewards, others focus on both rewards and recognition, but most are actively employing recognition programs to some degree. Approximately 80% of organizations now use some form of a recognition program.

"Recognition is psychological. It taps into the intrinsic motivations people have to succeed, perform well, and feel valued and trusted."

In a recent article, we discussed the key differences between rewards and recognition and found that recognition is psychological. It taps into the intrinsic motivations people have to succeed, perform well, and feel valued and trusted.

Recognition is, therefore, intuitive and inherent to human interactions. It’s a part of our daily lives and provides the reinforcement we need to feel confident in what we do, both in and outside of work.

Recognition is a driver of growth (and retention)

We may not immediately think of recognition as a key driver of company growth and retention. However, more organizations and leaders agree that it’s an essential component to keeping top talent from jumping ship.

Studies from Deloitte, for example, report that recognition and leadership support is among the top three contributors to retention. Other research (such as that from SHRM) found that 68% of HR professionals agree that recognition has a positive impact on retention, while 58% agree it also helps with recruitment.

Those stats become even more relevant when you consider engagement. According to studies from Gartner, high-performing employees show higher risks of turnover; part of the issue with this turnover is disengagement, which can significantly impact whether employees remain with your organization. Given that recognition can assist with engagement, in turn increasing margins, leadership has to place recognition at the forefront of their culture strategy.

Speaking of workplace culture...

The positive ‘side effects’ of recognition mentioned above can also improve organizational culture, which more companies now view as a must-have.

You may be surprised to find, for instance, that 95% of employees feel recognition in the workplace plays a significant role in maintaining a positive workplace culture!

Meanwhile, research from Glassdoor has found that 81% of employees are motivated to work harder when their leaders show recognition for their hard work.

Retention is typically top-of-mind for organizations, primarily when recruiting the best talent is of considerable import to leaders. When just 15% of employees are engaged at work, globally, recognition can be used as a simple yet effective way of skyrocketing growth while improving retention rates in your organization!

There’s just one problem!

Without the support of leadership, recognition initiatives are often fruitless.

That’s where leadership buy-in comes into play!

In a recent study conducted by WorldatWork, it was discovered that only 52% of senior executives and managers view recognition as an investment. Organizations can no longer ignore the importance and necessity of recognition in the workplace. It also indicates that leadership support of recognition programs or initiatives is essential if organizations have any hope of benefitting from those positive side effects which result from recognition!

Consider this: 85% of employees prefer a simple ‘thank you’ for day-to-day accomplishments in regards to recognition.

If recognition is truly as easy as a ‘thank you,’ why aren’t more organizations employing this intuitive tool? Further, why aren’t more leaders on board?

The solutions could be simple

Leaders may be hesitant to practice recognition, even on a small scale, if it seems complicated to implement or lacks replicability.

A straightforward way of making recognition more approachable for everyone is to think of it as a tool you can use to celebrate wins, both big and small.

Gary Vee of VaynerMedia, for example, openly recognizes his own struggles with recognition but acknowledges that it’s important to stop and smell the roses and acknowledge when his teams accomplish something, no matter how small or significant. By also recognizing that he could continuously improve his recognition habits, he’s already playing the role of a more honest, transparent leader.

"Recognition is intuitive and inherent to human interactions. It’s a part of our daily lives and provides the reinforcement we need to feel confident in what we do, both in and outside of work."

Another method involves recognizing and applauding honesty in your teams. When employees provide feedback or deliver constructive criticisms about how their organization operates, leaders are presented with a unique (and rare!) opportunity to improve its culture. Being appreciative of that honesty and truth is a simple way of fostering a better workplace culture, with minimal effort.

Leaders may also consider making recognition timely and specific. For example, saying ‘thank you’ to a team member for a particular task encourages that colleague to continue delivering excellent work and positive results in a specific area of focus. Similarly, giving timely recognition makes it memorable and more specific to the outcome for which you are grateful!

Try recognition today (what’s stopping you?)

Ultimately, we all want to be recognized for our efforts. At work, receiving recognition could be the difference between a culture of productive and engaged employees, and a workforce of unhappy and disengaged teams.

By tying recognition into your culture and engagement strategies, you’re taking the steps necessary to ensure your people feel valued by both their leaders and their entire organization!

The Complete Employee Recognition Buyer’s Guide

Everything you need to choose the best recognition partner for your organization, from budgeting strategies to identifying stakeholders and much, much more.

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