According to new research, nearly half of employees view recognition programs at their company as tired and detached from what is important to the organisation.

O.C Tanner, a development company for recognition strategies and reward programs, has identified that most employers are not making staff recognition part of their everyday culture.

According to the research conducted, almost half of UK employees (45 per cent) said that their recognition programmes at work are ‘tired’ and ‘detached’ from what is actually important to the organisation.

Additionally, less than half (44 per cent) of workers felt that employee recognition is part of their company’s everyday culture.

Focussing upon employee recognition within company culture has shown to be extremely beneficial for workers’ performances.

Companies with integrated recognition were reported to have four times more likely to have highly engaged employees. Additionally, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, these companies were likely to have 73 per cent less layoffs over the past year.

However, the benefits also could be seen through the monetary value. Firms that prioritised employee recognition were twice as likely to see increased revenue over the past year.

The research suggests that the best way to prioritise employee recognition is through a “personalised, integrated” approach which is present within the daily workflow of the employee. Additionally, it should be visibly connected to what matters to the organisation.

Robert Ordever, Managing Director of O.C. Tanner Europe, said:

Leaders must get better at making appreciation part and parcel of the everyday employee experience.

Disappointedly employee recognition is often poorly thought through and badly executed. Although workforces and workplaces have evolved, many recognition programmes have not, remaining stagnant, disconnected and lacking personalisation.

However, the research also shows promising results. The report suggests that UK companies are increasingly realising the value of recognition.

Over the past year, only three in 10 employees stated that their organisation consistently fails to reward high performers. When asked this same question in 2018, over two-thirds (68 per cent) identified this as a problem – potentially showing that UK companies are getting better at rewarding employees.

Furthermore, when asked about their own practices, almost three-quarters of workers (72 per cent) admitted that they regularly gave recognition to colleagues suggesting that this is becoming more wide-spread within the workplace.

To implement the best employee recognition strategy, the research recommends integrating this into the fabric of the organisation. Leaders must be on board to commit to this and time must be taken to construct and develop strategic recognition practices. The report also states that patience is required in order to nurture recognition across all areas of the business.

Robert Ordever further adds:

The main issue is that some organisations view recognition as ‘a HR thing’ rather than an integrated part of the company culture. While it remains a standalone initiative, it will quickly become outdated, impersonal and out of touch. By making recognition a living and breathing part of company culture, leaders will see a powerful impact on both their people and business results.

*This research was taken from O.C Tanner’s 2021 Global Culture Report which surveyed 40,000 employees across the world – with over 1,600 from the UK.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.