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

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

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

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

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

Healthcare Services

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

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

Kudos Case Study:

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

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

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

Key Takeaways for Recognition in Healthcare:

Financial Services

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

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

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

Kudos Case Study:

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

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

Key Takeaways for Recognition in Finance:


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

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

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

Kudos Case Study:

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

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

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

Key Takeaways for Recognition in Technology:

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

Construction & Manufacturing

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

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

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

Kudos Case Study:  

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

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

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

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

Key Takeaways for Recognition in Construction & Manufacturing:


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

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

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

Key Takeaways for Recognition in Retail:  

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

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


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5 min

Your 2023 Employee Appreciation Day (and Month) Guide

Your 2023 Employee Appreciation Day (and Month) Guide  Your 2023 Employee Appreciation Day (and Month) Guide

Employee Appreciation Day is an excellent opportunity for employers to demonstrate appreciation. Here are some ideas (plus a free calendar!) to get you started.

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Employee Appreciation Day is a special occasion to recognize and celebrate the hard work and dedication of your employees. Of course, employees should be recognized for their contributions all year long, but Employee Appreciation Day is an opportunity for employers to demonstrate extra appreciation.  

When is Employee Appreciation Day?

Employee Appreciation Day is observed on the first Friday of March every year. This year, Employee Appreciation Day is Friday, March 3, 2023.  

What is the history of Employee Appreciation Day?

The concept of Employee Appreciation Day was first introduced in the United States in 1995 by Dr. Bob Nelson who has helped many organizations build a culture of recognition across the globe. This day is now observed in several countries worldwide and serves as a reminder  of the importance of appreciating employees, and the impact recognition has on an organization.  

Why is employee recognition important?

Employee recognition directly impacts engagement in an organization. Employee engagement is a big focus for HR leaders in 2023, especially after the changes we faced in the last three years that brought the Great Resignation, quiet quitting, layoffs, the list goes on. Disengagement affects culture and it’s expensive. Gallup reports that employees who are actively disengaged costs the world $7.8 trillion in lost productivity.  

But here’s the good news: organizations that are including recognition in their strategies are experiencing better business outcomes such as profitability, retention, productivity, and employee satisfaction.  


Prominence Health Plan, a Kudos client since 2021, conducted an internal culture assessment and identified a critical gap in their employee experience. The feedback they received was a lack of employee appreciation that was quickly becoming a problem in their company culture.  

“There’s never been a time when investing in employee engagement has been more important,” says Kamal Jemmoua, CEO at Prominence Health.  

Kudos values-based recognition platform was the clear choice to support Prominence Health’s strategic approach to enhancing their company culture. Prominence Health is now an award-winning employer and has achieved impressive growth and performance.  

“At the end of the day, employees are your most important asset, and you need to figure out how to appreciate them.” - Kamal Jemmoua, CEO at Prominence Health  

Download the full case study Prominence Health Prioritizes Culture to Drive Performance with Kudos.  

Ideas for Employee Appreciation Day (and the entire month!)

Recognizing your employees and showing gratitude for their work creates a positive work culture that fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty. Celebrating Employee Appreciation Day is a great start to building a culture of recognition - take the next step and recognize throughout the entire month! We’ve made it easy for you with this free calendar of recognition prompts to inspire you to show appreciation all month.

Here are some ideas for Employee Appreciation Day:

  1. Personalized appreciation messages: take the time to write personalized messages to employees, recognizing their specific contributions and achievements.
  1. Host a social event: plan a social event for employees to connect and celebrate together. This could be a lunch, happy hour, or a night out.
  1. Provide meaningful gifts: consider providing employees with meaningful gifts that are unique to them.  
  1. Top up their points: if you’re using a recognition platform like Kudos, distribute extra points to everyone so they can redeem rewards of their choice.  
  1. Offer time off: provide employees with an extra day off or an early release day.  
  1. Organize a company-wide retreat: give your team a change in scenery with a mini getaway.  
  1. Enjoy the outdoors: plan an outdoor activity like a hike, a nature walk or a game in the park.  
  1. Go to the movies: take the afternoon off and see a box office top hit with your team.
  1. Set up a game day: dedicate an afternoon where employees can play games with each other either virtually or in person.  
  1. Let them decide: offer your employees a variety of options so they can select something that will truly make them feel appreciated.  

Send Recognition All Year

While Employee Appreciation Day is important, recognizing your employees all year will have the most impact on your organization. Kudos makes sending meaningful recognition easy and accessible to everyone – with employee milestones, nomination programs and personalized rewards, no achievement goes unnoticed.

Our free 2023 Celebrations Calendar includes all the important dates throughout the year so you never miss an opportunity to recognize and celebrate your employees!  

There’s no need to wait until Employee Appreciation Day to make recognition part of your culture – we can help you right now!  


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The 5 Languages of Recognition

The 5 Languages of Recognition  The 5 Languages of Recognition

In this article, we explore the 5 languages of appreciation, how they connect to employee recognition, and what this might look like in the workplace.

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You may have heard about The 5 Languages of Love® – a framework created by Gary Chapman for how people prefer to give and receive love. Using this same framework, Gary Chapman teamed up with Dr. Paul White, to discuss how to apply this to appreciation in the workplace.  

The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace says, “when authentic appreciation is communicated, all stakeholders win—the employee, the supervisor, the organization, customers and clients, as well as the family and friends of the employee who get to enjoy a more positive, encouraged individual.”  

In this article, we explore the 5 languages of appreciation, how they connect to employee recognition, and what this might look like in the workplace.  

1. Words of Affirmation

Words of affirmation are when you communicate your appreciation to someone through words. In the workplace, this could be something as simple as a “great job!” or “I really appreciated your help on that project.” Ensuring recognition is timely, personal, and meaningful is what will have the most impact on your employees.  

Kudos makes sending meaningful recognition to your employees easy and simple. Recognition sent in Kudos creates deeper connections, where your employees can share experiences and celebrate each other’s achievements, all in one place.  

Our free culture guide, Recognition Your Team Will Love, explains how to write meaningful recognition, with 20 examples for your team.  

2. Quality Time

Quality time means giving someone your complete and undivided attention. Making space for quality time in the workplace could look like; checking in with your employees often, scheduling one-on-one time, and listening to your employees.  

Quality time doesn’t always need to be work related – having small conversations about weekend plans, or favorite tv shows is important to build connections with your team. Younger generations especially want positive team dynamics, with leaders who care about their work and personal lives.  

3. Acts of Service

This one is about those small acts of kindness that can go a long way. Something as simple as taking meeting minutes for someone, stocking the paper tray in the printer, or taking on a task from someone if their plate is too full. These small, but significant moments demonstrate appreciation for someone by showing them you recognize how valuable their time is.  

Thanking and recognizing individuals for their acts of service can be done through sending recognition messages in Kudos, and can also be celebrated through a nominations program. You can create an award in Kudos for which your employees can nominate each other. Nomination programs can spotlight impactful moments happening in your organization every day that your broader team might not see.

4. Giving Tangible Gifts

While giving recognition should always be top of mind, some employees may feel even more appreciated with a gift. Employee rewards are an important aspect of workplace culture as they help to motivate, engage and retain employees. The days of free company swag, coffee mugs and notepads are over though. Demonstrating appreciation through gift giving should be unique and personalized.  

Rewards that cater to individual employees can demonstrate your company's commitment to their personal and professional growth. Kudos offers access to a world-class suite of rewards - merchandise, events, travel, charities, gift cards and even custom rewards can be redeemed through Kudos. Adding points and rewards to your recognition experience is a fantastic way to support engagement and augment total compensation.  

5. Human Connection

For remote employees, offering a place where everyone can gather in person, like a hybrid office or a company event is a great way for employees to express appreciation in person.

Some people may love hugs, and others may prefer a handshake – physical touch in the workplace should be limited to brief and professional forms of touch between close colleagues.  It is important to be aware of and respect the personal boundaries of your colleagues.  

It All Relates to Recognition

Employees need to know their contributions to your organization are valued. Without this recognition, we begin to feel our hard work has no purpose. And without purpose, we feel unappreciated, undervalued, and unmotivated.  

Just like the 5 Languages of Love®, your team members will prefer different methods of appreciation. Some people may need to be checked-in with often, and some may be fine with a one-on-one occasionally, and that’s perfectly okay. Using a tool like Kudos, where all the ways of appreciation can be expressed through recognition, will help your employees feel valued, be engaged and more motivated to do their best work.  


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20 Employee Recognition Examples Your Team Will Love

20 Employee Recognition Examples Your Team Will Love  20 Employee Recognition Examples Your Team Will Love

You should never hesitate to send recognition, but when your message is meaningful, it has the most impact.

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Employees are often more loyal to their company if they know their work is valued and appreciated. However, it’s not uncommon for employees to be caught up in their workday and forget to thank their peers for their hard work. While a simple “thank you” is certainly always worthwhile, a formal employee recognition program is a great way for everyone to celebrate wins big and small.

Download our free eBook, Recognition Done Right, for more information on how to drive success through the power of recognition.

Employee Recognition Matters

According to Gallup,  40% of employees report receiving recognition just a few times a year or less. Implementing an effective employee recognition solution can have a massive impact on your organization. Organizations with formal recognition programs have 31% less voluntary turnover than organizations without one.

Employees at companies that have an effective recognition solution are five times as likely to be connected to company culture and four times as likely to be engaged. Implementing an easy-to-use recognition program for your employees is key to making recognition the foundation of your company culture.  

Types of Employee Recognition

Recognition should not be limited by who can send it –everyone in your organization should have a channel to give recognition. Here are the types of employee recognition:  

Peer-to-peer recognition

Peer-to-peer recognition is when any employee can give praise to each other. Peer-to-peer recognition helps employees establish and maintain good relationships with their coworkers.

Leader-to-peer recognition

This is when a leader or someone at a manager or supervisory level gives recognition to someone  on their team. Leaders who provide recognition establish a positive environment and relationship within their team. Leading by example will also encourage your team members to send more recognition messages to their coworkers.  

Day-to-day recognition

Simple messages expressing gratitude keep employees constantly assured and motivated. This is when that simple “thank you” to someone on your team can go a long way.  

Milestones & Special Achievements

Birthday's, years of service, promotions, onboarding progress and learning and development achievements. Ensuring all of these important moments are recognized is a central part of building a culture and habit of recognition.

Awards & Nominations

Awards and Nominations allow a leader or peers to identify someone who meets specific criteria for an award or nomination. Nomination programs can highlight the skills that drive your organization to success and can help strengthen your overall recognition strategy.  

To learn more about nomination programs, you can read How to Get Nominations Right in 2022.

Being able to recognize your team in a variety of ways is what will take your employee experience and culture to the next level.    

Levels of Recognition in Kudos

The Kudos platform offers all types of recognition – gratitude, performance recognition, communicating good news, and celebrating achievements so you can build stronger connections with your team. When sending a message of recognition, users can select one of four distinct levels:

Thank You

This is an everyday appreciation moment. A simple act of appreciation at work where the behavior stood out or made your day.  

Good Job

A “good job” is used for recognizing someone who has performed better than average or expected, or for acknowledging the completion of a milestone in a larger initiative.  


An “impressive” is for someone who made a noticeable difference or impact and raised the standard of delivery expectations. This can also celebrate the end of a large initiative that took significant time and effort.


An “exceptional” is when someone has exceeded delivery, job responsibility and expectations. This could be used for someone going above and beyond, exceeding a goal or KPI or any other outstanding achievement.

How to Write a Meaningful Recognition Message

“Recognition is a reward in itself. Any form of appreciation, even a small word, is important.” - Vikrant Massey

No matter how simple the message, you should never hesitate to recognize a colleague, but when your message is meaningful, it has the most impact.  

  • Personalize it: make the message unique to them and tell them why you’re expressing your appreciation.  
  • Acknowledge the impact: let them know how their hard work has contributed to the success. Mention how their work is valued.  
  • Be positive: the tone of the message should be uplifting. Be mindful of the words you use and ensure your message is positive.  

Sending recognition doesn’t need to be time consuming. Crafting a meaningful message that really demonstrates your appreciation can be easy when you keep these tips in mind.  

Examples of Employee Recognition Messages

Sending recognition to your peers can have a big impact – even a simple thank you can go a long way. If you need help crafting the perfect recognition message, we’ve given 20 examples of recognition messages your employees will love:  

Performance Recognition:

  1. Thank you for taking the time to add an agenda for our meeting today. Having a clear outline gave a much better understanding for everyone!
  1. Fantastic job presenting in today’s meeting!  
  1. I was very impressed with your review today, your attention to detail is much appreciated!  
  1. Your dedication to this project truly made it a success. Well done!
  1. You really went the extra mile on the finishing touches with our report today. Thanks again and great work!
  1. Exceptional work on our monthly report today. Keep up the great work!
  1. Your ability to put so much time and effort into even just the small things is what truly makes our success!

Personal Recognition:

  1. I am so grateful for how much you have contributed lately; your hard work is admirable.  
  1. Your diligence and commitment always amaze me! Working with you has been such a pleasure.  
  1. Your positive and uplifting attitude is always refreshing in our meetings!  
  1. You always meet expectations and deadlines, and I am always amazed by your work! Keep it up!  
  1. I want you to know your work is always appreciated!
  1. You are my inspiration every day!
  1. Congratulations on hitting another milestone on this project! Your hard work is what will get us over the finish line!
  1. It’s been such a pleasure working with you – I wish you all success in your next endeavors!
  1. I am so lucky I get to work with someone like you every day!


  1. Thank you for taking the time to have a coffee with me today! I loved getting to know you better, and I look forward to our collaboration in the future.  
  1. Thank you for helping me out today. You are always a team player, and I am grateful for your support!  
  1. Thank you for your support today. Your kind words always put a smile on my face.  
  1. Thank you for being my out-of-office contact and handling my emails with great communication while I was away!  

Employee recognition should be a vital part of your business. However, narrowing down the right recognition solution for your company can be challenging. We’ve made it easy for you in our free Employee Recognition Buyer’s Guide to help you find the perfect partner.


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Recognition Platforms: Banks of Positive Reinforcement

Recognition Platforms: Banks of Positive Reinforcement Recognition Platforms: Banks of Positive Reinforcement

Many of us feel a constant pressure to improve; to be more efficient, or hardworking. But is that really part of human nature?

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Storing Recognition: The Nature of Memory

When you’re recognized for  accomplishing something great, where does that feeling go after the moment has passed?

According to a study on autobiographical memories (moments that make up your life story) each of our memories serves different functions. Here are three important things to know about the nature of memory:  

Directive Memories

The first, and most evolutionary function of our memory is directive. This function helps us problem solve, plan, feel inspired, and get motivated. This function zeroes-in on the central conflict of a memory, so we can find a clear solution.

“Negative events would cause the individual to focus on and encode the aspects of the events that are necessary in order to solve the problem and prevent future mistakes.”  

The study finds that our brains take longer to recall directive memories, and in many cases, they need to be triggered.

When you make a mistake at work, for example, forgetting to include an attachment to an email, you’re probably less likely to make that mistake again in the near future.

Self Memories

This function gives our life-events context, meaning, and purpose. Self-memories are the most central to our identity.  

We use these memories to gain a better, more cohesive understanding of our identity over time. They act as reference points throughout our lives to judge where we’ve been, where we are, and where to go from there.  

Self memories include things like how far you’ve come in your career, goals you’ve achieved and milestones you’ve accomplished.

Social Memories

Possibly the most self-explanatory of the three, the social memory function helps us connect with others. In fact, social memories can only be created by connecting with others — through conversation or otherwise.  

The last time you told someone a story about your life, chances are you wanted to find common ground — shared interests. You were sharing memories for the purpose of creating new ones. Telling your story to persuade, provide comfort, bond, or draw out empathy is part of the social memory function.  

Social memories can include times you’ve bonded with friends and family or when you first felt accepted by coworkers, for example.  

The study’s participants’ most negative memories had more directive function, while their most positive memories had more self and social functions.

It’s easy to dwell on our weaknesses when they could make or break our chances of employment. This may ring even truer for today’s young workers (millennials and gen z), who often feel the need to “make it,” or prove their worth among more established coworkers.

Although it’s in our nature to take direct, clear lessons from negative memories, we should be more proactive about learning from positive ones.  

Rather than making comparisons — either to competition or to our past selves — to feel motivated, we need positive social recognition. And we need to make it a habit.  

Recognition Platforms: Banks of Positive Reinforcement

Recognition should always be accessible. Platforms like Kudos keep each moment of social recognition in one place. Instead of waiting on directive memories to trigger motivation, you can access a bank of positive inspiration.  

“If you think about recognizing someone in person, giving them a pat on the back, they disappear into the ether after the moment’s passed.” says Muni Boga, President and CEO of Kudos. “When you’re working with a recognition platform, you’re creating a record of it happening. That record belongs to the person receiving the recognition, the person giving it, it’s something really special that people have.”

Dedicated recognition platforms provide built-in opportunities to create and document positive directive, self, and social memories.  

Each recognition message is a great source of joy and reflection on your work. The right employee recognition platform is an archive of empowerment for every team member involved, and it can be added to every day — for every contribution.  

Beyond pick-me-ups, recognition messages can be used to reinforce your value to an organization. In your next performance review, for example:  

  • A “Thank You!” can be used to demonstrate how well you work in a team.  
  • A “Good Job!”, “Impressive!”, or “Exceptional!” can be used to show your skills, attention to detail, and professionalism.  

A lack of recognition in any work environment creates siloes, or isolated groups. In a culture where recognition is few and far between, people revert to gaining motivation or lessons from negative memories. And without positive social recognition, people use their self-memories to judge if they’re in the right place to achieve their goals.  

The Empowering Properties of Recognition

“Employers have flagged the fact that their people aren’t feeling recognized.” – Muni Boga, CEO of Kudos

In a culture of recognition, not only are people more aware of acts of kindness, but they’re more aware of their coworkers’ strengths. When each member of an organization supports the others for what they bring to the table, the result is dynamic, adaptable, and resilient.

Before the shift to remote and hybrid working environments, employees weren’t feeling recognized, and the same problem exists through the screen. It’s just as, if not more important for a company’s culture to translate in virtual spaces.  

An employee recognition platform that can be accessed from any device, anywhere, and at any time is an invaluable asset for teams who can’t be in the same room. Kudos is an innovative, and intuitive social tool to bond your teams and create memories.  

With built-in analytics, leaders can see the evolution of their teams’ skills, and uncover strengths that would otherwise go unnoticed. Kudos’ built-in dashboards give deep insights into the dynamics of your teams, without human oversight. What sets Kudos apart is a care for both individuality and community.  

Recognition is many things; a statement, a feeling, and something we all deserve. A thoughtfully designed program nurtures the experience of recognition, so you can truly be part of something worth remembering.  


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How to Get Nominations Right in 2023

How to Get Nominations Right in 2023How to Get Nominations Right in 2023

At Kudos, we believe that recognition is the key to a happy team and stronger workplace culture. So, why is it important to consider a nominations program in 2023?

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Let’s get this question out of the way: Who doesn’t love having options? More importantly, what’s worth understanding is that people have different tastes and opinions. After all, what you like or enjoy might be the opposite of the person sitting next to you. This is especially true when it comes to recognition. Authors Gary Chapman and Paul White spoke to this in their book, 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.

At Kudos, we believe that recognition is the key to a happy team and stronger workplace culture. And while we are passionate about regular, meaningful peer-to-peer recognition, we also know people might prefer a more extensive celebration for their hard work and accomplishments. Let’s go back to the beginning: Who doesn’t love having options?

Recognition can take many different forms and being able to recognize your team in a variety of ways is what we’re all about.  

Employee Nominations

Employee Nominations allow leadership and peers to identify a colleague who meets specific criteria. After a reviewing process, a significant reward is granted.

Now, as you probably already know, nominations are a small piece to a bigger solution. At Kudos, we’d like to think of nominations as an added feature to your recognition strategy and not as a one-size-fits-all.

So, why is it important to consider a nominations program in 2023? If you like history as much as I do, this next section is for you.

Scientific Management Theory

During the American industrial revolution, plenty of innovative ideas to improve productivity and efficiency were introduced. One of those innovative ideas came from Frederick W. Taylor, who created Scientific Management Theory. Taylor spent many years figuring out a way to keep productivity levels high.

By watching his employees very closely and taking notes, Taylor would then analyse and remove any unnecessary steps to their workflow, making their job more straightforward. His idea was simple but significant - overworked employees won’t perform as well. 

Additionally, Taylor realized the simple promise that his best employees would have a job the following day wasn’t enough to keep them motivated. So, after a close review, Taylor would categorize the type of work his employees were doing, he then selected the top performers and rewarded them with higher salaries. This selection process can be considered the first nominations flow to ever exist in a work environment. Taylor understood very early that the cost of hiring a new employee would impact the productivity and overall prosperity of his organization’s culture.

Although nowadays we know that money isn’t a long-term solution to keep employees motivated, Taylor’s innovative approach to an employee’s experience, showed us that being able to meet the demand of top performers can lead to better retention and help increase your organization’s productivity. And that, has not changed.

Top Performer Awards

With Taylor’s approach in place, methods to keep employees motivated became more prevalent. Programs such as Employee of the Month (EOTM) and President’s Club are clear examples of that. Employees who have received this recognition in the past still rank it as some of the most memorable recognition they’ve ever received.

Why? Because it’s exclusive, appreciates their hard work and commitment to the organization, and singles them out as a high performer.

However, years of learning about what makes a healthy work-environment tells us that a solo nomination program for the Presidents Club or EOTM can often be seen as “out of reach” and doesn’t motivate employees to strive for this recognition. Kudos has lots of ideas to support you here, and when it comes to nominations, we recommend creating a diverse nomination strategy. After all, Taylor observed his employees and top performers, plural. Nothing stops you from creating nomination programs, plural, that highlights the multiple types of behaviours and skills that drives your success.  

Here are some points we recommend when creating your diverse nomination strategy:  

  1. Criteria: First things first, without comprehensive criteria for employee nominations, employees won’t know how to be nominated or why they received the recognition. Not only that, but this is also the opportunity for the organization to articulate what behaviours and skills are important to them and their collective success. Organizations that don’t make the criteria visible or easily accessible will see their employee nominations program underused or mismanaged with subjective nominations.
  • Tip: Today’s top recognition platforms, like Kudos, have a nomination feature built-in, making the process much easier. With Kudos, you can include the businesses’ criteria right in your description for a user to read when they select the nomination. You can also setup specific questions to gather clear and specific details about the nominee to make the submissions clear and fair.
  1. Description: The nomination description is the first place to articulate what the criteria are for that nomination, but it is also important to articulate why it matters to your organization. Why this program? Why these criteria? Why this timing? The more why you can answer in your description, the more buy-in and participation your nomination will receive.
  • Tip: Many organizations will find the part-or-all of the answer to “why this nomination” rooted in the explanations behind their core values. Consider the definitions connected to your core values to help you craft your description and know that recognition platforms like Kudos require a nomination submission to connect back to your values. With 19% of employees reportedly unaware of their organization’s core values, this connection is sure to bring value to your culture.
  1. Timing: Deciding your nomination window is key. Will you have a monthly, quarterly, or annual program? Additionally, employer branding could be affected if your timing isn’t right. Timing is everything. So, relying on a recognition platform that allows you to personalize your own timing is a must.
  • Tip: We recommend at least having one nomination program that is always on, so your employees never miss the opportunity to be nominated. With Kudos, you’re always in the driver’s seat on timing – it’s completely up to you – and we provide the tools to enable you to send reminders to your employees when adoption is low, or when it’s coming close to your review/approval cycle to increase your submissions.
  1. Create Multiple Nomination Programs: As you consider your criteria, description and timing are you overlooking other important skills and behaviours that you want to reinforce to support your company’s success?
  • Tip: Gather multiple stakeholders’ feedback on what criteria they think are important to your success. Some of these may already exist in your values, or mission/purpose of the company – perhaps you would like to have a nomination program around those items to reinforce their importance. Or maybe there is something that is so big in your President Club Annual Nominations, that you want to break down the characteristics into a lighter, quarterly program.

Looking ahead 

Having a consistent and diverse recognition program in your organization is a solid strategy to improve employee productivity and retention – giving your organization a competitive edge. Adding a nomination program or two is just one of the ways you can strengthen your strategy and Kudos is here to help you.


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5 min

Why Celebrating Employee Milestones Matters

Why Celebrating Employee Milestones Matters Why Celebrating Employee Milestones Matters

A life milestone is something special and unique to each individual person. These are occasions when most people want to be recognized or remembered. Birthdays and work anniversaries represent an important time in someone’s life and can be an opportunity to reflect on their goals, accomplishments and how they’ve grown.

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Go beyond traditional years of service awards.

Most people have an idea of what they want their life to look like at a certain age. Work anniversaries prompt employees to reflect on their career, and job-hunting tends to spike due to people assessing their career and making a change if they’re unhappy. Milestones offer a great way to celebrate and acknowledge every individual in your organization, however, implementing other milestones into your recognition program can help reduce employee turnover and strengthen retention.  

Work anniversaries shouldn’t be limited to 5 years, 10 years, etc. as is the case with many traditional programs. These days, the average person only stays at their organization for approximately 4 years. Recognize every year of an employee’s commitment and don’t limit it to years of service. Other important milestones to consider include completing onboarding training, achieving more education or certifications, learning a new software tool...all of these are important and often massive contributions to people reaching new career goals or life achievements.  

Creating a culture of recognition is the key.

While celebrating a work anniversary shows you value your employee’s dedication, celebrating a birthday or other milestones demonstrates taking a personal interest in your employee’s lives. A Great Place to Work survey had 37% of respondents say that more personal recognition would encourage them to produce better work.

We know employee recognition helps retain talent, increase engagement and encourage higher performance, but understanding the impact of recognition culture on the overall employee experience provokes many growth opportunities. Employees who feel consistently recognized at their place of work are two times more likely to embrace innovative thinking and are willing to go above and beyond in their work. Recognition consistently emerges in studies on improving workplace culture and has proven to be a primary driver in motivating employees to do their best.

What does a successful employee milestone program look like?

It’s important to define your employee lifecycle – what are the various stages your employees will experience in your organization? The average employee lifecycle has 11 stages, all of which recognition can play an important role. Defining the celebratory moments in each stage will help you structure your employee milestone program, and ensure it stays consistent and contributes to your culture of recognition.  

Your employee milestone program should have:  

  • A budget: determine if you would like to give your employees a gift or token for their milestones (rewards, lunch, a gift, team outings, etc.), and put those costs into your annual budget.  
  • A calendar: don’t leave anyone out! A best practice is to have a calendar or system where all your employee data lives, so no milestone is missed and can be updated as employees onboard into your organization.  
  • A designated organizer: assign someone in your organization to keep track of your program and manage the planning and communications associated with it.  

Kudos has the tools to make your employee milestone program a culture success. Having an automated system like Kudos to keep your employee milestone program organized and up to date makes giving everyday recognition easy and simple.  

Celebrating milestones is only one form of recognition, and it’s important to remember that employee recognition should be regular and meaningful. Recognition is essential in creating a lasting company culture that values its employees' contributions, dedication and celebrates successes, no matter how big or small.  


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8 min

Why Strong Workplace Culture is Critical in Uncertain Times

Why Strong Workplace Culture is Critical in Uncertain Times Why Strong Workplace Culture is Critical in Uncertain Times

For many, today’s uncertain times are contributing to increasing levels of stress – which can have far reaching implications for your company.

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Employees have been through a lot these past few years.

Most recently, in addition to the regular pressures of everyday work life, today’s employees are coping with several difficult external circumstances (recession, inflation, supply chain issues, global uncertainty). For many, today’s uncertain times are contributing to increasing levels of stress – which can have far reaching implications for your company. In particular, with the Great Recession of 2008 still fresh in the memories of many employees, fears of layoffs, financial hardship, and general economic uncertainty could soon be impacting employee mental health and wellbeing.  

The good news is that by following some key guidelines you can help your organization successfully navigate this unpredictable era.  

Managing the Emotional Wellbeing of Your Employees

Uncertainty, Stress and Productivity

Cutbacks and the fear of a recession cause employees to feel insecure about their jobs, causing stress. Feeling stressed is a factor in lower productivity.

Let your employees know where they stand. By recognizing their contributions regularly, you’re telling them they are seen, they are appreciated, and they are safe. Now is the time to ramp up recognition.

Even in more stable times, employee stress is a major contributor to reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, presenteeism, as well as high turnover. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 American workers have quit a job because of stress related issues.

Stress is also associated with higher accident rates, higher injury rates, and more days taken off for doctor visits.

And regardless of how your company is affected by worsening macroeconomic conditions, studies have shown a “clear negative effect of general unemployment on subjective wellbeing among the employed”. One study focused on the recession of 2008 showed that 55 percent of employees felt that their workplace had become more stressful during that time.  A large part of this has to do with a perception of insecurity which is fueled by increased unemployment – even if that increase is occurring outside one’s own company.  

In other words, being exposed to the negative effects of a recession makes everyone uneasy – not just about unemployment, but also about the potential for unfair treatment.  

Interestingly – employee productivity can increase during a downturn. During the Great Recession of 2008, some studies actually showed an increase in worker productivity resulting from increased effort – in part because “When the alternatives are poorer, say because job search is less likely to result in success, it is optimal for a worker to respond with increased effort.”

On the surface, this might sound like a benefit to employers. However, with that increased effort comes the increased potential for burnout – another major concern when it comes to the impact of stress on employees.

Recognition Directly Counteracts Stress

When an employee’s work is recognized, the likelihood that he/she will experience stress is lowered by 22.1%, whereas if his/her work is not, it rises by 16.7%. - BioMed Research International  

By recognizing employee contributions and acknowledging the impact of their efforts, employers are able to directly – and dramatically – reduce the negative effects of stress on employees. Recognition can provide certainty and reassurance for employees who are feeling uneasy due to the volatility of the times. This reduction in stress can translate in turn to lowered turnover, absenteeism and more productivity.

Managing the Wellbeing of Your Employer Brand & Reputation

Uncertain times demand transparency, open communication and a crystal clear focus on core values.

Whether you have had to make cutbacks or slow your growth, organizations need to do everything in their power to ensure that they maintain a reputation as an employer worth working for - because eventually, they'll be hiring again. For example, at the outset of the pandemic, there were several high-profile stories about leaders callously letting hundreds of employees go without warning, context, or clarity. This lack of transparency (and humanity) can permanently damage a company’s reputation, hobbling future efforts to grow and expand, and potentially causing irreparable harm to consumer (or investor) confidence.

The unfortunate reality that many companies have to face during an economic downturn is that growth will slow – and in many cases there could be cutbacks. Regardless of your situation, maintaining clear, thoughtful and open communication is absolutely essential and will have a lasting impact.  

Critically, even when companies are forced to downsize, employees that remain have been shown to benefit immensely from that clarity of communication. One study noted that “employees who felt that the downsizing process was fair, and that communication was open and honest, reported fewer medical symptoms, lower survivor syndrome, and more job security than their counterparts [at other similarly affected companies].

An extremely powerful part of maintaining clarity of communication during times of economic upheaval is demonstrating commitment to core values. In showing that the organization is “walking the walk” with respect to core values, companies can provide employees with a tangible sense of stability, as well as a shared sense of purpose to help guide them through troubling times. To learn more about the importance of core values, check out our webinar on how to How to Drive Employee Performance Through Core Values.

Measuring the Wellbeing of Your Culture

When the future is unclear, it’s more important than ever to understand how your employees are feeling, and to be able to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of your workplace culture. 

In this article, we’ve looked at a set of tools that companies can use to help mitigate some of the impact of economic uncertainty: reducing stress through recognition, living and demonstrating one’s core values, and maintaining open and caring communication between leadership and employees.

In and of themselves, these methods are absolutely essential – but without a way to measure the well-being and strength of a culture, leaders can only guess as to whether their efforts are succeeding.

Tools like Kudos, who’s proprietary, recognition-first approach to employee engagement provides clients with a clear view into the health of their culture, the performance of their employees, and allows them to gauge how connected employees are to the core values of the organization.

Take Action Now

Though nobody wants to experience the negative side of an economic slump, by following the basic guidelines laid out in this article, companies have the opportunity to prove their character, and in doing so build loyalty and trust with their employees, their customers, and their stakeholders.

Kudos can help you build and maintain your culture, and keep your employees focused during what many experts believe is an imminent recession. Get in touch today to learn how.


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Improving Customer Service Through Employee Recognition

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

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

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

When employees feel appreciated, they become motivated to do more and better quality work. For customer-facing employees, that means providing an experience that clients appreciate and remember. Studies show that companies with at least 50% employee engagement retain more than 80% of their customers. That is the impact of employee recognition.

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

Understanding employee recognition and why it matters to businesses

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

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

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

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

Creating an ideal customer experience

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

Customer service teams play a crucial role in driving profitability in many industries, such as retail, hospitality, food service, and technology. According to PwC’s Future of Customer Experience Survey, 73% of customers agree that customer experience is central to their purchasing decisions. Among U.S. customers, 65% find a positive customer experience more influential than great advertising.    

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

How employee recognition impacts customer service

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

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

Simple ways to recognize customer service employees

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

Final Thoughts

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


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5 min

The Science Behind Employee Recognition

The Science Behind Employee RecognitionThe Science Behind Employee Recognition

Practicing recognition in the workplace improves employees' mental well-being, and increases their motivation to contribute value to their organization.

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Human Beings Need Recognition

In 1943, Abraham Maslow theorized that human beings are motivated to make decisions based on a hierarchy of needs. This hierarchy can be viewed as a pyramid, with basic physiological needs like water and food setting the foundation; then our need for safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. A core requirement in the esteem level of this pyramid is appreciation.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs 

Human beings feel the need to accomplish things, and be appreciated and recognized for those accomplishments. In addition to feeling accomplished, we need to know that our contributions to the world are valued. Without this recognition, we begin to feel our hard work has no purpose. And without purpose, we feel unappreciated, undervalued, and unmotivated.  

What Happens in Our Brains When We Feel Appreciated

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

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

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

The Relationship Between Recognition and Well-Being

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

Feeling unappreciated affects not only your emotions, but also how you think and act. It’s no surprise that a lack of appreciation can influence your mental health and lead to mental illness. If others ignore what you do for them, it can feel devastating. You might start to wonder why you bother putting effort into a task, or worse, you’ll lose sight of how your work contributes value to your organization.  

In a UK study78% of respondents said they would work harder if they had more recognition. In that same study, 94% said that employee recognition is critical in retaining talent. The solution to keeping your employees is simple — recognize them. 

The Importance of Employee Recognition  

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

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

Kudos, an employee recognition and engagement platform, harnesses the power of peer-to-peer recognition to boost employee engagement, reduce turnover, improve culture, and drive productivity and performance. Employee recognition isn’t just becoming an industry standard, it’s an essential requirement for an employee’s well-being, motivation, and performance.

It’s been almost 80 years since Abraham Maslow theorized that human beings require appreciation. The science behind employee recognition was always there, now it’s time to take it seriously and implement the recognition your employees not only deserve, but need.  


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6 min

Why Nomination Programs Aren’t Enough

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

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

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

Nominations are a Small Piece to a Bigger Solution

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

Nomination programs are not without their challenges. Why only allow employees to give recognition whenever there’s an award involved? These types of programs are only one piece to a complete solution. No need to abandon your nomination program altogether, but simply include it in a deeper, more impactful employee recognition strategy.  

Nominations Do Not Reflect Consistent Recognition

For employee recognition to be effective at motivating and communicating the value individuals offer your organization, it needs to be consistent and meaningful. Nomination programs are often monthly, quarterly, or yearlong initiatives; your employees are not being nominated frequently enough to create lasting meaning. When you nominate someone for an award, you’re not directly recognizing them for their work — you’re only giving them a chance at recognition. If someone deserves recognition, they should receive it day-to-day.

When you nominate employees for an award or prize, you compare their accomplishments to someone else’s instead of celebrating and appreciating their work individually. While being nominated is considered recognition, it can cause unhealthy competition and resentment between employees. Your employees deserve to be recognized constantly, not only when an award is up for grabs.

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

The Solution is in Peer-to-Peer Recognition

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

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

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

Choosing the Right Employee Recognition Solution

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

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


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The Future of Work Hinges on Employee Recognition

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

At the heart of the Great Resignation there is a fundamental need that has gone largely unmet: the need for employees to go beyond simply existing in their job roles and thrive.

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This article was originally published on

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

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

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

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

Values over money

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

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

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

Fuel intrinsic motivation through connection

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

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

A generational challenge that’s here to stay

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

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

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

No looking back

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


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The Key to A Winning Employee Recognition Strategy

The Key to A Winning Employee Recognition StrategyThe Key to A Winning Employee Recognition Strategy

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

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This article was originally published on

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

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

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

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

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

1. Peer-To-Peer Is Here to Stay

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

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

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

2. Get Into the Habit of Recognition

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

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

Another significant trend here is revisiting milestones and anniversaries.

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

3. Personalized and Inclusive Rewards

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

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

4. Play the Game

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

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

5. Promoting Hard Work

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

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

6. HR Analytics

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

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

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


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5 min

15 Ideas for Employee Appreciation Day 2022

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

Recognizing and appreciating your employees should be a year-round priority, but sometimes you need to go above and beyond. This Employee Appreciation Day, March 4th, make sure you have a plan to celebrate your team.

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Each time you receive recognition or gratitude, your brain releases a chemical called serotonin. This chemical helps regulate your emotions and enhance your mood. Appreciation positively impacts your personal world, as well as your professional one.

Recognizing and appreciating your employees should be a year-round priority, but sometimes you need to go above and beyond. This Employee Appreciation Day, March 4, make sure you have a plan to celebrate your team.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. "What would make you feel appreciated?"

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

2. A simple thank you still goes a long way

Thanking your employees for the simple things they do every day has a great impact on your organization. Try celebrating each employee for their unique contribution to the team by sending personalized notes. Remind your employees that they are valued, and that their work does not go unnoticed.

3. Invest in their personal time

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

4. Cover their transportation costs

Some organizations don’t consider the sheer cost of commuting to work. Some employees can spend up to $5,000 annually just transporting to and from work. You may not be able to cover all transportation costs, but you could reimburse your employees for bus and train passes or offer them a paid parking pass.

5. Go public with your appreciation 

Don’t just celebrate internally – tell the world you appreciate your employees. Work with your marketing team to build a plan for spreading the recognition on all of your social media platforms.

6. Have a virtual lunch or happy hour

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

7. Set up remote team building activities

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

8. Create custom awards

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

9. Be creative with rewards

Coffee mugs, t-shirts, and customized pens don’t send a genuine message of appreciation to your employees. Instead, give your employees options to choose from – not everyone wants a gift card or free food. Discover how to meaningfully reward your employees by offering multiple choices.

10. Update their work-from-home equipment

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

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

11. Invest in an employee recognition platform

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

12. Celebrate birthdays, milestones, and anniversaries

Don’t let these moments go unnoticed. Your employees deserve recognition on birthdays, anniversaries, and each milestone in between. Simply sharing an e-card for team-members to sign   

13. Update your company values

It might be time to review your organization’s values to ensure they still align with your employee’s. Forbes research finds that more than 50%of employees will leave their jobs if company values no longer align with their own. Lead by example and incorporate recognition into your brand’s core values.

14. Offer more flexibility

83% of employees feel more loyal to their employers if flexible work arrangements are available to them. This can include working from home, flexible hours, part-time options, and paid leave. Start focusing on results and deadlines, instead of how many hours your employees work.  

15. Encourage your leaders to check in frequently

Appreciate your employees for the dedication and time they invest in the company. It’s important to give your employees the opportunity to open-up about any stress or burdens they’re feeling. Teams perform better when members believe their leaders respect and appreciate them.


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3 min

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

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

You are the expert on your needs and what makes your workforce unique. Complete with self-assessment worksheets, ROI calculations, platform evaluation checklists, and so much more, this guide will help you find the perfect partner.

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

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

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

What is a Buyer’s Guide?

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

  1. Employee Recognition Overview
  2. Organizational Needs Assessment
  3. Tips on Key Stakeholders, Timeline, and Budget
  4. Platform Evaluation Worksheet
  5. Building Your Business Case

1. Employee Recognition Overview

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

2. Organizational Needs Assessment

There are many great employee recognition solutions on the market; it’s up to you to determine which one is right for your business. Our guide includes a self-assessment worksheet to help you decide which platform best suits your organization’s needs. Each answer to our strategic questions will identify the main problem you need solutions for. Our self-assessment exercise contains insightful topics like:

  • HR Challenges and Pain Points: Are you experiencing higher employee turnover than usual? What have your employees shared in recent exit interviews?
  • Your Current State: What are you currently doing to engage and recognize your employees? How are you measuring success?
  • Values and Culture: What changes would you like to see in your organization’s culture?

3. Tips on Key Stakeholders, Timelines, and Budget

Many important factors go into selecting a recognition platform; key stakeholders, timelines, and budgets just scratch the surface of what to keep in mind. Our guide will help you answer all these questions, and more:

  • Implementation and Support: What does the onboarding process look like? Will you have continued support before and after your purchasing decision?
  • Integrations: Is the platform capable of integrating with your existing technology?

Who are the key stakeholders in my organization?

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

When should I launch my employee recognition program?

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

How should I budget for an employee recognition program?

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

4. Platform Evaluation Worksheet

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

5. BuildingYour Business Case

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

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


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5 min

8 Steps for Pitching Employee Recognition to Your Executive Team

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

Hoping to hire an employee recognition platform that will help you achieve incredible results? If you answered yes, then follow this framework to make the case for an employee recognition platform in your organization.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Mission: Create context and define the problem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Future State: What does success look like?

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

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

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

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

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

4. Solution: How will you make this happen?

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

This is where you propose your preferred vendor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Financial Benefits: What’s the Impact?

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

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

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

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

Examples you can use include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Advice

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

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


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6 min

Nonprofit Cultural Vistas Turns to Culture and Recognition to Compete in Today’s Labor Market

Nonprofit Cultural Vistas Turns to Culture and Recognition to Compete in Today’s Labor MarketNonprofit Cultural Vistas Turns to Culture and Recognition to Compete in Today’s Labor Market

The American nonprofit organization Cultural Vistas believes that "understanding our evolving world is the first step toward changing it." This philosophy is the driving force behind Cultural Vistas' work.

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Company Name: Cultural Vistas

Industry: Non-profit Organization

Head Office: Washington, D.C. & Berlin

Kudos Champion: Laura Gross, Director of Administration, People + Culture

Key Takeaways:

  • Culture is a strategy (good cultures can overcome change)
  • Systems create consistency (monthly awards give employees something attainable to work toward)
  • Employees care about more than just salary (they want to support a global mission and vision through shared values)
  • Employee recognition through Kudos® is a valuable employee benefit

Changing the World Through Experience

The American non-profit organization, Cultural Vistas, believes, "understanding our evolving world is the first step toward changing it." This philosophy is the driving force behind Cultural Vistas' work.

They facilitate internships, professional exchange programs, and services for visitors to the U.S., American students, and professionals seeking experiential learning opportunities abroad.

Founded in 1963, Cultural Vistas offers over 30 unique exchange programs and partnerships with more than 130 countries. They believe that international professional experiences create more informed, skilled, and engaged citizens. They equip the next generation of global leaders to solve complex challenges by connecting lives to exchange knowledge, values, and perspectives.

This challenging, but rewarding vision requires a team of passionate and hardworking employees to fulfill. Before the onset of the pandemic in 2020, Cultural Vistas had offices in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Berlin, with board members and stakeholders worldwide.

In an interview with Laura Gross, Director of Administration, People + Culture at Cultural Vistas, she said, "generally, a lot of people on our staff have lived abroad or grew up abroad, speak other languages, and are very curious about the world. They understand the value of interacting with different people's perspectives and ways of life and have a broader understanding of how to connect with other people."

A Global Shift

Unsurprisingly, when the pandemic hit in 2020, all exchange programs were frozen due to international travel bans leading to a halt in global movement. Like many organizations worldwide, all Cultural Vistas’ employees transitioned to working from home. Laura and her team were faced with the challenge of maintaining employee engagement within their fully remote workforce.

Laura said, "as a non-profit, we don't have the highest, most competitive salaries; we need to find other ways to add value for our employees." This is a common trend – Cultural Vistas is not alone in the struggle. Salaries at non-profits are often not competitive with those offered by private-sector corporations.

The stakes for maintaining the passion and drive that brought employees to Cultural Vistas in the first place are much higher, given today's competitive job market. Fostering a culture that celebrates the mission and vision that attracted employees to their roles is imperative now more than ever. Recognizing the impacts of employees' individual and collective efforts is also critical to keeping employees happy in their non-profit roles.

Embracing Change and Recognizing Achievement

With culture and employee engagement top of mind, the team at Cultural Vistas focused on fostering a virtual environment just as enriching as their previous office life. Above all, they wanted to keep employees happy and passionate about the cause.

The social committees of each office quickly merged into one powerhouse committee; made up of employees from all departments and levels, holding weekly meetings that anyone could contribute to. This resulted in a variety of virtual events, ranging from art classes to trivia nights to pet show-and-tells.

But of course, beyond social cohesion is another critical aspect of engagement – employee recognition. That’s where the platform Kudos came in.

Kudos is an employee engagement, culture, and analytics platform that fosters peer-to-peer recognition, values reinforcement, and open communication. We help organizations boost employee engagement, reduce turnover, improve culture, and drive productivity and performance.

Cultural Vistas decided to implement monthly awards using data from Kudos to help their employees see the impact of their contributions. Each month, three people are awarded:

1.   The person who received the most recognition messages on the Kudos platform

2.   The person who sent the most recognition messages on Kudos

3.   The person who was recognized on Kudos for displaying the most qualities related to Cultural Vistas corporate values.

The last award is perhaps the most powerful and something unique to the Kudos platform. Every time someone sends a recognition message to a colleague on Kudos, they also select which qualities the person they’re recognizing has displayed. These qualities are directly tied to the organization’s values – something essential for non-profits that often have unique and distinct values and missions.

And, of course, the rewards offered within Kudos don’t hurt.

Laura explained that because of the challenge of competing with the private sector for talent, the casual financial incentive of Kudos points helps. In Kudos, employees earn points that they can redeem for gift cards or other custom rewards chosen by the organization. A typical employee will earn hundreds of dollars a year in rewards through Kudos.

It’s a program they are proud of.

“We’ve added the Kudos platform into our official benefits offerings,” Laura said. “It’s promoted and discussed in offer conversations as both a cultural and financial inventive.”

The Vistas are Bright

"In a surprising twist, a global pandemic that jeopardizes the future of our entire field has also boosted staff morale," Laura said. "Before the pandemic, there were three distinct office cultures, based on geography. Now that we're all working remotely, it's equalized the experience of being an employee at Cultural Vistas – we all have collaborated so much more organically and naturally than before."

Recent Pulse surveys indicate that the number one thing the employees like about working at Cultural Vistas is the team – a great sign that the effort is working. Simply put, "a happy community of people is good for business," Laura said.

"Our staff is a passionate, dedicated, really hardworking group. They care a lot about their participants’ experiences abroad, but they also care a lot about their coworkers’ experiences. And, they work together as a team. There's a lot of shared drive and passion. It's a really great group of people to work with."

So, while the competition to attract and retain top talent may forever be a challenge for non-profits like Cultural Vistas – they can still compete with higher-paying for-profit counterparts by operating in a nimble and employee-centred way.

With a strong culture and emphasis on employee engagement through tools like Kudos®, the right employees will feel at home at Cultural Vistas – no matter where they are on the globe.


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5 min

How Employee Recognition Can Fight the Great Resignation

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

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

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

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.

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, today, most recognition programs out there 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.”

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