Engaged Workforces: The Transformative Role of Recognition

Engaged Workforces: The Transformative Role of Recognition

In 2001, I was told by my HR Director that my “people-centred approach to management was not common and that others would need some convincing”, and 23 years on I continue to fight for a People-First approach in which recognition plays a vital role.

Ask any successful entrepreneur, and they’ll tell you that recognition is not just an office perk – or a pat on the back for just doing your job. It’s the lifeblood that powers high-performing teams. It’s the fuel that fills employees with purpose and commitment. And it’s the secret ingredient that keeps them engaged, motivated and productive. 

But how do you go about creating a culture of recognition? What are the best practices for implementing a recognition program that will drive results? And what can you do to ensure your employees all feel valued and appreciated?

Embrace People-First

In the success story of your company, your people are your heroes. 

The People-First approach is not just a strategy. It’s a mindset that’s centred around acknowledging the value everyone brings to the table. Balancing a formal recognition programme aligned with your company’s vision with frequent, heartfelt expressions of appreciation is a masterstroke towards fostering a vibrant and engaged workforce.

Knowing your team isn’t optional; it’s essential. 

A good leader knows the ins and outs of their team. From understanding what they’re working on, to their personal achievements – running a marathon or skydiving for charity.

Innovation in Recognition

Take a chance on creative recognition. 

Getting playful and personal breaks the monotony and creates a positive ripple that can spread throughout your company. Every high-five (or “Whoop! Whoop!) and heartfelt note can inspire others and encourage a culture of peer-to-peer recognition.

And remember, it’s the effort that should be recognised and not just the results.

But wait, are you feeling like you’re lugging your people uphill rather than pointing them towards your vision? Spotting disengagement is half the battle. When proactive engagement is replaced by disturbing apathy, it’s a clear indicator that some re-engagement is in order.

Click here to access key resources to supercharge your business

Ditch the Usual, Embrace the Untried

Traditional, one-size-fits-all recognition programs often feel forced and insincere. They’re the obstacles that stand in the way of transformative change driven by authentic, personalised recognition.

Instead, try something new. 

Look at innovative and inclusive recognition structures like the Talent ToolTM  developed by Delve,  which doesn’t pigeon hole people into boxes but recognises everyone is part of the “circle of life” in your business, be they in need of nurture, flourishing or looking for growth. 

Give your team members the freedom to choose how they want to be recognised and rewarded. This will help you build an authentic and meaningful culture of appreciation.

Public vs Private Recognition

Not all recognition looks the same. 

Some enjoy the limelight of public acclaim, while others prefer a quiet 1-2-1. 

Flexibility in acknowledging hard work is key. Some people thrive on public recognition, while others prefer a more private approach. 

To get it right, you must know each team member and how they work individually. 

Public recognition can be as simple as highlighting the effort in a team meeting or posting a message on your office notice board. Private recognition could involve taking someone out for lunch or giving them a small gift.

But whatever the vehicle, be timely, be specific, and be consistent by showing how it fits with company purpose & goals.

In Short

Ultimately, taking a People-First approach guarantees an engaged workforce and a thriving business. 

By embracing a culture of recognition, you’re not just building a company. You’re nurturing a vibrant, motivated community and leading a transformative change. 

It’s not just business as usual. It’s business that changes lives. Make recognition more than a gesture. Make it a revolution.


Kerrie Bio: Having worked in businesses of all sizes from scale ups to multinationals, in the UK, USA & Europe I know that recognition can be a powerful force in ANY business. But the impact is lost if it’s not aligned to your company’s purpose & strategy. Need to clarify your purpose and strategy? Forward Thinking is here to help with our transformational business coaching that starts with a free business mapping call, get in touch to learn more.

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