One participant shared how she was inspired to recognize her colleague, who was known to be quite introverted, after he delivered a technically detailed presentation with confidence. It impressed her so much she immediately wanted to let him know how great of a job he did. “I was really proud of him and wanted to encourage him to keep putting himself out there,” she expressed. The delivery and timing of her recognition were deliberate. She recognized that this was a moment of growth for him but knew he might not have a sense of how well he’d done in the moment. Immediately recognizing him after his presentation helped to reassure and bolster his confidence in his own abilities.
Employee recognition creates some notable positive effects on the people in an organization. It's a clear way of communicating that someone’s work has created a notable benefit. In our research, we noted that the biggest motivator behind doing good work is to create a positive impact within the organization. Recognition is a great way to celebrate this positive impact and to encourage more of it to be done throughout the organization.
Recognition is also an effective way to let people know they're part of a supportive, appreciative network that values them. Research suggests that “[e]mployees who say they feel respected are more satisfied with their jobs and more grateful for—and loyal to—their companies. They are more resilient, cooperate more with others, perform better and more creatively, and are more likely to take direction from their leaders.” We found that employees who felt valued in their organizations were inspired to do better work and felt more connected to their peers.
Recognition in GO Intranet gives employees the ability to comment on public recognition, which encourages others to “pile on” their praise.
Recognition positively affects the organization itself by encouraging an organizational environment of gratitude. It encourages celebrating shared wins, acknowledging project achievements, and sharing good work being done throughout the organization. These three factors not only deepen the relationships between peers, but also help people feel closer to an organization’s purpose and values.
We wanted to reinforce this culture of gratitude in GO by “recognizing the recognizers.” Each time employees offer recognition, they receive a confirmation along with a summary panel that acknowledges their contribution. It’s a seemingly small part of the experience that can have big impact by connecting employees’ individual actions directly to their workplace’s culture.
Recognition is most meaningful when it feels genuine and authentic. From our research, the main factor behind genuine recognition is being specific. “I would want to feel that it’s genuine and thoughtful,” noted one of our participants. “I would hate to receive something where it feels like they just kind of got a prompt… and there's a canned statement and my name. It has to feel real and meaningful.”
We designed the experience in GO Intranet to prompt employees to select up to three reasons they want to recognize their colleague. Organizations can configure these categories to align with their values or to support a culture change project. They then have an opportunity to further describe the positive impact the employee has had in their own words.
Based on our research, we put together these recognition recommendations:
If your organization is struggling with maintaining recognition, try encouraging it amongst teams. We found that recognition given by peers and teammates is more meaningful than receiving it from managers or leadership. Many also noted in our research that peer-to-peer recognition is often given in the moment verbally while working together or shared casually through a personal message.
People have different preferences when receiving and giving recognition. Not everyone is comfortable with public recognition, so consider having different channels and methods for sharing recognition. By accommodating these preferences, more people may be inclined to participate in giving recognition.
Not all organizations need a dedicated recognition module on their intranet. If employees are already actively using other channels like Yammer or Microsoft Teams for recognition, the job is to aggregate recognition and make it more visible across the organization. In GO, our “what’s happening” rollup on the homepage surfaces recognition from these Microsoft 365 channels so everyone can see them.
Lastly, we recommend being aware of biases when it comes to giving recognition. When people do work outside of their usual role, try something new, or when the job is less visible, they tend to be less recognized. By being mindful of these biases, you can make sure people are recognized more equally.
Whether it’s a company-wide kudos or a direct message, organizational recognition helps build a better workplace for everyone involved. From our research, we gained a deeper understanding of employees’ experiences with recognition and how to make recognition more meaningful. We used these valuable insights to redesign recognition in GO Intranet for modern SharePoint, so it’s easier and more rewarding for employees to give and receive recognition.
It's just one way organizations can make recognition more accessible. Designing experiences that support and encourage meaningful recognition requires a thoughtful approach that meets the unique needs of your organization’s culture.
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