Creating a Culture of Recognition | Webinar Replay

Employee recognition and engagement is the most important human resource issue in business today. Employees of different backgrounds spanning four generations have a direct influence on the customers they serve daily. As such, it is important for employers to maximize the full potential of their workforce with proper forms of recognition and engagement.

Dr. Nelson will show you how to create a culture of recognition, regardless of the size or type of business you are in. Based on his book Recognizing & Engaging Employee For Dummies, this presentation will expand your thinking of what recognition really means and what you can do to build it into your culture. Compared to the average company, employees in a recognition-focused company are 5 times more likely to feel valued, 6 times more likely to recommend the organization, 7 times more likely to stay, and 11 times more likely to feel completely committed to their jobs and mission of the organization.

In this presentation, motivation expert and best-selling author Dr. Bob Nelson (recently named as the #1 Management Guru in the world for 2024 by Global Gurus) discusses the current state of employee engagement and recognition including the most recent employee engagement research regarding effectiveness. He will share how a customized employee recognition platform is needed to improve and maintain a culture of recognition and engagement in any organization, moving from a culture of entitlement to a culture of performance and increased competitive advantage along the way.

Topics covered in this informative presentation will include:

  • The business case for recognition and its impact on the organization’s bottom line
  • How to leverage the effectiveness of recognition – even with little time or resources
  • How to get managers on board in both supporting and doing more recognition
  • How to harness best practices from other organizations, as well as your own
  • The importance of having a recognition platform to measure & track recognition
  • Methods to build and sustain a culture of recognition and engagement over time

Assets from the Presentation

The How and Why of Employee Appreciation

Dr. Bob Nelson’s Webinar marked National Employee Appreciation Day

As far as WorkProud is concerned, every day is Employee Appreciation Day. But since 1995, the first Friday in March has been recognized as National Employee Appreciation Day, a day “to support, thank and reward workers,” according to Time and Date, which logs more than 7,400 special days around the world.

To give the day its proper due, we brought in Dr. Bob Nelson – the recognition guru who invented National Employee Appreciation Day – for a special Inspired Workplace Webinar to share insights on this crucial topic.

Right now this topic is more crucial than ever, Nelson said.

“It’s no longer optional to recognize employees,” he said. “The economy’s red-hot right now. We have an extreme shortage of skilled labor in our country, and the lowest unemployment rate in decades. So that means two things: Whoever needs a job, there’s a job out there for you. But secondly, you’ve got to value your people or they will leave.”

To hear Nelson’s appreciation strategies, you can watch the entire webinar here. Meanwhile, here are some of the highlights:

It’s time to move beyond years of service awards. The idea, Nelson said, goes back to 1920, when Henry Ford awarded grandfather clocks to longtime employees, launching the practice of “shoveling stuff at people because they’ve been here a certain amount of time.”

“You shouldn’t reward people just for how long they’ve been with you,” he said. “You should recognize them for the job they do.”

Forget the ‘Employee of the Month’ mindset. “I don’t know if it’s three months or three years, but you’ll get to a point where there’s a bunch of people sitting around a conference room table and they say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to pick the employee of the month for this month.’

“‘We’ve got such a full agenda. How about, how about Jerry in the shipping department? does he deserve it? Who cares? We’re going to be here all day.’ So we give it to Jerry and what does he say? ‘I knew if I hung around here long enough, someone would notice me.’

“Why would you put a quota on performance?,” Nelson concluded. “We don’t need employees of the month. We need employees of the moment. We need them every day. If you want to drive a culture of performance and get away from being a culture of entitlements, this is the ticket.”

Switch from rewarding presence to performance. “A lot of places just do random stuff: ‘Hey, we got movie tickets and they’re in HR. If anyone wants some, go get some.’

“And then whoever gets there fast gets them. And the people that are out on a project or doing something else, they don’t get them. So we’re reinforcing presence, showing up and not what was actually done.”

Similarly, Nelson cited a real-life example where “everyone gets a turkey at Thanksgiving, except for the people that weren’t there because they were traveling or out with a client. Or they got the smaller turkeys because they were picked over.”

It’s not all about money. As much as we all like it, Nelson said, when praise and recognition are only expressed financially, “We end up training people that recognition in our culture is money…And then good luck for ever being able to get out from under that stone, because people will, no matter how much you pay them, need a little bit more.”

Figure out how to reward people. “I’d say, you know what? I need to recognize you because I’m proud of what you did and other people need to hear about it,” Nelson said. “I don’t want to get it wrong or do something that embarrasses you.

“A lot of people don’t like public recognition, for example. So I want to be on the mark, so help me out here. The more you know about someone, the more fodder you have to motivate them.”

Some companies, he said, collect that information in the hiring process. “You fill out a preference form of ways you like to be recognized, your favorite foods, your favorite flowers. Do you have any pets? What hobbies do you have? Et cetera, et cetera. And then someone can give them a gift or do something thoughtful that’s more meaningful for them personally.”

Listen to Peter Drucker. The late iconic management expert – author of 39 books and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom – was Nelson’s professor. “I learned from him that if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it, whatever it is.

“So if you randomly buy Starbucks cards and pass them out like candy because you feel guilty because you yelled at someone yesterday, good luck. You’ve got to move away from that to have a form of systematic measuring so you can tell who’s doing it and who’s not,  providing a coaching opportunity. And you can systematically get better and better and better.”

Recognition starts at the top. “You don’t want it to be an HR program,” Nelson said. “You want to have credibility that comes from those people that are driving the business…This has to come from leadership. The more you can drive this from the top, the more likely it’s going to roll down the organization and be accomplished.”

Harness the power of technology. “So much in the last decade has changed through the power of technology and leveraging that technology,” Nelson said. “A phone is instant access, and you could start using your phone for recognition. Even if your people don’t have computers, or don’t have a workstation because they’re in the warehouse all the time, we all have phones and there’s a lot of recognition apps that can allow you to do this on the phone.  

“The best recognition is timely, it’s sincere, it’s specific, it’s proactive.” 

(Editor’s note: WorkProud does all those things. Learn more about us here.)


WorkProud, which helps companies craft an inspired workplace culture through communication, recognition and rewards, presents a monthly webinar featuring experts on workplace issues from around the country. It’s always free, and there’s usually a great giveaway just for tuning in. Watch for details about upcoming sessions in our monthly newsletter. If you don’t already subscribe, sign up here.

At WorkProud, we leverage technology to:

  1. Increase the quantity & quality of recognition.
  2. Drive accountability to show leaders appreciation of its workforce.
  3. Measure recognition and its effects.



Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on email


WorkProud® Proud of Your Work – Proud of Your Company

WorkProud is committed to helping its clients create a unified approach to the employee experience by helping them build cultures of workplace pride. Trusted by millions of users at some of the world’s most recognized employer brands, WorkProud delivers a comprehensive approach to building company cultures that inspire people to be Proud of their Work and Proud of their Company.

Connect with a WorkProud Expert​

Back to Top
Press Release

Get The Inspired Workplace Newsletter

Every month, we share news, knowledge, and insight into what we believe is a pretty simple proposition: If you are “proud of your work and proud of your company,” you are more engaged, more productive, and more likely to stay with your company for the long haul.

*By selecting “SIGN UP,” you agree to WorkProud’s Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe from our newsletter at any time. Please note when unsubscribing: it may take up to 10 business days for your request to take effect.