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5 min

How Employee Recognition Can Fight the “Great Resignation”

How 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 Healthcare

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.

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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 & 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:

Recognition Template 1
Employee Recognition Template 2

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.

Partner with the leaders in recognition. 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

6 Factors to Consider When Choosing Employee Recognition Software

6 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 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 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 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 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 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?

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!


5 min

4 Effective Ways To Introduce New Employees To Recognition

4 Effective Ways To Introduce New Employees To Recognition

It’s no secret that most organizations today use some form of incentivization to nurture employee engagement and foster organizational commitment. Whether it’s a recognition software, monetized rewards, or custom incentive programs designed by companies themselves.

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It’s no secret that most organizations today use some form of incentivization to nurture employee engagement and foster organizational commitment. Whether it’s a recognition software, monetized rewards, or custom incentive programs designed by companies themselves.

Traditionally, nurturing employee engagement using tools like recognition has had the intent of encouraging certain behaviours and attitudes which organizations want their teams to embody.

With recognition, leaders signal which values, behaviours and attitudes they’d like their employees to both promote and practice.  

As the popularization of trends and tools revolving around recognition has shown, organizations use recognition as part of a workplace culture strategy, because employees care about organizational culture, job satisfaction, and the relationship they have with both their teams and company.

Various studies have found a positive correlation between recognition and job satisfaction, the quality of work produced by teams, and their motivation to do their best work.

That’s not all - other research has shown that recognition not only boosts morale but also encourages participation in key decision making. It can also make teams more enthusiastic about their work and organization.

That may be why many companies place significant emphasis on recognition, even above and beyond rewards.

When introducing new team members to your recognition strategy, you may find yourself struggling to explain the ‘why’ behind workplace recognition and the program or software you use.

So, how can you get new hires on board with recognition in your organization?

Start by making recognition part of your onboarding strategy

Ensuring new employees know of and can relate to your organizational culture is a key part of any onboarding process, and onboarding begins long before a new hire’s first day. It makes sense to introduce a new team member to your recognition program or software long before they walk in on their first day!

When we hire a new member to join our team here at Kudos, we keep in touch with them for several weeks leading up to their first day. We provide them with materials and resources so they can get to know our organizational culture before they walk through the door on day one.

It is also at this stage that we begin introducing them to how we use our recognition software here at Kudos.

By making new employees aware of your recognition program before and during their onboarding, you're allowing them to explore recognition and become comfortable with participating in a recognition program at work.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Before any employee can hop on board with your recognition program and begin participating themselves, they need to be aware of the 'why' behind your organization's use of recognition. This is where communication comes in!

New hires should be made aware of what the program is, the goals of the program, and why it is being used to recognize peers and leaders within your company.

First, provide new team members with an overview of the program or software to supply context as to what the program does and which features they’ll be able to use.

Then, explain the 'why' behind your company's use of the program. For instance, perhaps engagement in your organization is low, and thus, your teams use recognition as a tool to boost morale!

It's also essential to make new employees aware of the goals of employing recognition in your workplace. If your teams use recognition with specific goals, such as motivating employees, encouraging cross-department collaboration, and improving organizational morale, your teams should communicate those goals to new employees.  

Without communicating the ‘why’ behind your recognition program, new hires may fail to understand its purpose and what you hope to achieve by implementing a more proactive recognition strategy.

Pair new employees with recognition ambassadors

Team members within your organization who already use your recognition program are the best ambassadors for it because they live and breathe the recognition every single day.

Consider pairing new employees with existing ones who know the program and can explain the various features of it in a way that is simple and user-friendly.

Here at Kudos, we pair new team members with a work buddy as part of our onboarding process; this work buddy introduces new team members to the Kudos platform. In doing so, new employees gain familiarity with the program and witness it in action, sending Kudos the very same day they start their new role!

Having recognition ambassadors or champions on your team generates excitement around recognition and encourages both new and existing employees to get on board with your recognition initiatives.

Allow new employees to experiment with, and give feedback on, your recognition strategies

When it comes to the efficacy of your recognition program or strategy, the best way to understand whether your teams appreciate and use the system is to measure the results.

However, those results should always be accompanied by feedback.

With Kudos, you can measure the engagement and health of your working teams using our KQs and deep analytics, in addition to asking your teams for feedback. The feedback from your teams should always be taken into consideration; otherwise, a recognition program can swiftly become underutilized and underappreciated.  

New employees present a unique opportunity to review your recognition initiatives, as they can be more objective about your program. Ask new hires for their feedback once they've had some time to try out the program and participate.

For example, after giving new employees 2-3 days to try out the recognition program you use, consider asking them a few key questions, such as:
  • ‘Do you find it easy to recognize fellow employees using the program?’
  • ‘Does the program or software make it easy to send, check, and keep up-to-date with recognition across departments?’
  • ‘Is the program simple to navigate?’
  • ‘Which features of the program do you like the most?’
  • ‘Which features were you expecting to use but don’t have access to?’

When it comes to introducing recognition to your teams, keep in mind that how you communicate the goals of your recognition program can impact whether new and existing employees participate.

That communication should always include listening to feedback from teams actively using the recognition program, which leadership can obtain by frequently checking in with their employees. By doing so, organizations can continuously streamline their recognition programs and ensure they are not only practical but user-friendly for the benefit of their employees.  

Interested in discovering even more tips and tricks for deploying recognition in your organization? Our nifty white paper on recognition can be downloaded here!


5 min

5 Reasons You Should Focus on Recognition Before Rewards

5 Reasons You Should Focus on Recognition Before Rewards

Recognition has to be a priority in any working environment, as people crave recognition and appreciation - whether it’s for their own contributions, or the accomplishments they achieve as a team.

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Previously thought of as something ‘nice to have,’ more organizations are jumping on board with recognition as a key factor of a broader employee experience strategy.

Recognition, as it happens, is the first driver in Marciano’s RESPECT theory, which you can read more on here.

Recognition has to be a priority in any working environment, as people crave recognition and appreciation - whether it’s for their own contributions, or the accomplishments they achieve as a team.

How organizations practice recognition, however, changes and evolves based on organizational goals, and yet, most companies focus on rewards ahead of recognition (think: bonuses or monetary gifts).

Here at Kudos, we offer the opportunity to use both rewards and recognition and encourage organizations to take the leap towards focusing specifically on recognition. But what’s the difference between the two?

Rewards vs. Recognition

The concept of rewards and recognition-based programs appears to be similar; after all, both offer some form or other of validation for a job well done!

We can think of rewards as monetary or gift-based incentives that companies use to motivate employees or reward them for their performance, whether on an individual or group level.

Recognition, on the other hand, is psychological. It taps into the intrinsic motivations people have to succeed, perform well, and feel valued as well as trusted in the work they do.

Recognition is increasingly being incorporated into daily operations and practices by organizations to create a culture of respect, trust and autonomy as key drivers of employee retention and engagement.

That’s not to say that rewards-based programs don’t work; however, many studies have found that rewards often work only in the short term through temporary compliance.

For example, many rewards programs are structured to encourage employees to hit targets or reach milestones not because they want to, but because there’s a cash or gift-incentive attached to them, such as using rewards for the number of goals teams reach as opposed to the quality of work they deliver.

Further, rewards may not guarantee that employees feel more valued or even rewarded. In some cases, rewards fail to change an employee’s perspective and attitude towards their organization. Maybe that’s why 83% of employees feel it’s better to receive recognition than a reward!

It’s important to recognize the difference between rewards and recognition, as both can be used as part of a broader employee experience strategy, but with different end goals and results.

Does recognition work?

In a recent study, the Incentive Federation found that more employers are using non-cash rewards and recognition to encourage knowledge-sharing, inclusion, and relationship building in the workplace. Recognition plays a significant role in nurturing a 21st-century talent culture, whereby leaders are focusing more on fostering engagement in the workplace.

Other studies have shown that using cash and rewards exclusively can result in significant issues for organizations, such as employees gaming the system or competing to complete tasks for gifts alone.

Additionally, data continues to show written and verbal recognition as a more significant driver of engagement than a reward-based incentive.

Think of it this way: rewards are fleeting, but recognition is eternal.

After six years of research, Forrester found that employees thrive when they are empowered, recognized, inspired, and enabled to do their best work.  

Put simply, recognition can lead to employee success and an improved relationship between organizations and their employees.

In a study performed by Gallup, they found that money or cash rewards were not the most valuable forms of recognition, but, rather, verbal or written recognition! When employees feel appreciated and valued, they are more engaged, productive and, more importantly, happier at work.

From a customer or client perspective, happy employees are key to an organization’s success. Forrester notes that rewards-based incentives don’t always work, primarily when your organization uses them to encourage employees to nurture a better customer/client experience.

Why should leaders focus on recognition above and before rewards?

Recognition encourages the right behaviour - while rewards can work hand-in-hand with a recognition strategy, recognition is more psychological and can help nurture a pattern of long-term, positive behaviour. While cash or monetary-based rewards are appreciated, they don’t create long-lasting motivation in employees to engage, be productive, and care about their work.

Recognition fosters trust between leaders and employees - By providing consistent recognition, leaders can establish trust and confidence in employees while nurturing employee loyalty. Teams want and need to trust their leaders to do right by them, which includes recognizing awesome work!

Recognition creates environments of open and transparent communication - When we recognize others, we often do so using our words and put thought into why we’re recognizing someone and what we’re recognizing them for. Leaders can, therefore, create more communicative workplace environments where people feel comfortable openly confiding in and talking to their leaders (and vice versa!).

Recognition reduces turnover and increases revenue - There’s a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate for organizations that give regular recognition, and many companies see an increase in revenue when employees are recognized and valued for their work. An older yet still applicable study from Fortune’s ‘100 Best Best Companies to Work For’ found, for example, that companies with happier employees saw an average 14% stock increase year-over-year from 1998 to 2005!

Recognition shows leaders are invested in their people - Did you know that 28% of employees feel their most memorable recognition came from their direct leaders or managers? When leaders recognize their employees, they’re not only showing that they care but are signifying that they’re invested in the success of those employees!


5 min

Why Your Organization Needs Peer to Peer Recognition

Why Your Organization Needs Peer to Peer Recognition

In today’s modern workplace, top-down recognition efforts and long-standing service awards just don’t cut it anymore. Peer recognition is crucial for organizational success.

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In today’s modern workplace, top-down recognition efforts and long-standing service awards just don’t cut it anymore. Peer recognition is crucial for organizational success. Traditionally, peer recognition programs have been viewed as a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘need to have,’ but recognition has proved an increasingly vital role in helping employees thrive at work.

Without consistent and frequent employee recognition, organizations can succumb to a myriad of issues detrimental to the health of their organizations. From poor onboarding experiences and high turnover to employee disengagement and more, a company is only as strong as its teams. Including a peer recognition program in your engagement plan this year will foster a culture in which your teams contribute their best work every day.

What exactly is peer recognition?

Peer recognition (also known as ‘peer to peer recognition’) is the expression of gratitude and/or praise among employees for their contributions and accomplishments.

The key benefit of peer recognition is the motivation and engagement that results from employees giving one another positive feedback and recognizing each other’s hard work.

Contrary to popular belief, peer recognition is not always formal. In fact, peer recognition takes many forms, and employees practice peer recognition every day when they do something as simple as saying ‘thank you’ to a fellow colleague or ‘good job’ to a teammate.

However, many organizations are recognizing the benefits of providing official channels or social recognition programs through which employees can recognize their peers and encourage others to do the same. It’s one of the key ways in which innovative organizations drive their businesses forward and retain their top talent.

Do I need a peer recognition program?

The short answer is yes, you absolutely need a peer recognition program.

Studies have shown that peer recognition can have a significant impact on the health and success of organizations. More C-suite executives are focusing on recognition strategies and programs to motivate, engage and retain their high performing team members!

Employees crave daily affirmation for their efforts and contributions; if you’re not recognizing your people and providing them with opportunities to pat one another on the back every day, you’re at higher risk of losing them to organizations that will.  

Why do I need a peer recognition program?

It empowers all team members in your organization (regardless of title or hierarchy)

By practicing peer recognition, employees and leaders alike are able to share genuine feedback and positive praise with one another, regardless of their standing in an organization. This not only improves and nurtures the relationships employees have with one another but creates trust in leadership and showcases an inclusive culture of people who work as a team to benefit the whole.

It’s organic, inherent, and breaks down barriers

What was once a formal and cumbersome process of praise is now an approachable, organic and easy way to show your colleagues that you recognize their contributions. Peer recognition can successfully break down the barriers associated with nomination-based recognition processes and provide opportunities for real-time appreciation and communication.

It’s effortless for everyone (especially admins)

A peer recognition program makes it easy for all employees at every level of an organization - especially admins - to practice recognition by eliminating the time-waste associated with approval flows and recognition tasks.

It nurtures a confident, transparent and engaged work culture

Supporting peer recognition signals a belief in transparency and visibility across an entire organization, whereby employees can give recognition and acknowledge other acts of praise, as well. This establishes a framework through which every employee feels confident and comfortable giving recognition where and when it’s due, while everyone else can participate and support one another simultaneously!

It fosters a more authentic employee experience

With peer recognition comes the opportunity to build better relationships with your employees and top talent. Not only does it work to effectively promote company values and behaviours, but it also nurtures connections between coworkers while fostering a collaborative organizational culture.

What does this mean for your organization?

Thanks to peer recognition programs, organizations have the opportunity to stand out to job seekers and top talent, having a seriously effective tool at their disposal for showcasing their thriving culture and engaged teams to potential candidates. By implementing a simple peer recognition program like Kudos, organizations nurture employee engagement, improve turnover, retain their top talent, and foster a happier work culture!


5 min

12 Fun Employee Appreciation Awards

12 Fun Employee Appreciation Awards

Employee Appreciation Day is the official day to thank employees for their contributions to your organization.

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Employee Appreciation Day is the official day to thank employees for their contributions to your organization. While we at Kudos are firm believers in treating every day as Employee Appreciation Day, we love the fact that it’s official on March 1, 2019. Recognition and appreciation can boost morale, increase employee engagement and reduce turnover.

Here’s the secret behind it all - be genuine and unique. What works for one organization may not necessarily work for another. And forced recognition could backfire and result in disenchanted employees.

To make it really easy, we’ve put together a list of easy awards to hand out to your employees on Employee Appreciation Day!

Coffee Connoisseur

Is there an employee who tastes a cup of coffee and can immediately pinpoint whether it’s an Arabica or a Robusta bean? Do you know someone on your team who can ruminate on the brewing intricacies of the AeroPress versus the Chemex? If you answered yes, then they are the perfect candidate for the Coffee Connoisseur award!

Walking Wikipedia

Did you know that peanuts are used as an ingredient for dynamite? Or that the shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes? This award is dedicated to employees that seem to know almost everything about anything.

Office DJ

According to Plato, music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. Award this to the employee who always gets asked to play their songs on the office speaker and who knows the perfect song to create just the right mood.

Martha Stewart

From cookies to brownies, potato salad to curries, this award is for the employee whose dishes and treats always result in a stampede to the kitchen.

Smiley Desk Employee Appreciation


Like a house, there’s always something that’s broken in an office. Hand out this award to the employee who’s fixing things from weird bugs in the system to that annoying flickering light in the hall.

Social Director

Team bowling? Brazilian barbecue before a long weekend? Group Karaoke? This award is for the employee who knows that a team that works hard should play hard - together.

Fitness Fanatic

With Health and Wellness being a top priority for many organizations, award your healthiest team member for putting wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional or financial) at the top of their list.

Dishwasher Director

My mother always told me that the dishes didn’t clean themselves. So hand this award to the employee who’s always working the dishwasher and keeping those dishes clean!

Employee Appreciation Trophy

The Bermuda Triangle

Have you seen my pen? Didn’t you put your ruler on your desk before you left the office yesterday? Where did all those paperclips go? Perhaps you should check the desk of the office Bermuda Triangle - where all the office supplies inexplicably end up!

Client Whisperer

Frustrated clients or team members often head to this employee for calm, zen-like empathy. Be sure to award them with this title, so they know their peaceful, positive vibes are appreciated!

Glengarry Glen Ross Award

Coffee is for closers only! Award this title to the employee who lives by the motto “Always Be Closing” and closes deals like they’re going out of style.

Caution Captain

Do you know where your office first aid kit is? What are the steps for CPR? Workplace Safety is a growing concern for many organizations, so be sure to recognize the employees who make safety their top priority.

At Kudos, we’d like to make every day Employee Appreciation Day because we believe that recognition should be given for the big things and the small things. Book a call with us, and we’ll show you how recognition can elevate your workplace culture, boost employee morale and improve employee engagement.

From the Kudos team to yours, Happy Employee Appreciation Day!

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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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