Workplace for recognition

For many employees, a compliment – not compensation – makes all the difference when it comes to feeling valued at work. Here's how you can build a culture of recognition and care.


Global job satisfaction stats make for brutal reading. According to a 2017 Gallup poll, 85% of the global workforce is currently disengaged in their work. Deloitte found that 43% of millennials are planning to leave their current job within two years. Why does this matter? Not only is there the obvious emotional cost of low employee engagement, happy employees are actually 12% more productive.

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And this isn't a question of money. US organisations are spending over USD 100 billion annually on incentive programmes. But employees, especially younger employees, either aren't benefiting or, more to the point, just don't care. 60% of young Americans say that they value the quality of their work lives over the financial payoffs.

Compliments, not compensation

Compliments, not compensation

Employers agree. When asked what leaders could do more of to improve engagement, 58% of respondents replied 'Give recognition'. 50% of employees believe that being thanked by managers not only improved their relationship, but also built trust with their superiors. And global studies show that 79% of people who quit their jobs cite 'lack of appreciation' as their reason for leaving

If you get it right, recognition can be one of the biggest drivers of company culture. It influences relationships, happiness and values – all the good stuff that you want your organisation to be known for.

Employee recognition stats
Positive effects of employee recognition. Source

The question, as ever, is how you do it? How do you bring out the best in people, show respect and make work a little bit more meaningful? And not just for the people who've been there for 20 years. How do you make recognition an everyday part of your culture?

Automating recognition on Workplace

Automating recognition on Workplace

One of our cultural values at Facebook is to focus on "impact". That encourages everyone to tackle the biggest problems and deliver the most value to the people who use our platforms. Thanks to Workplace, we're able to acknowledge this impact with simple tools that make recognition quick, frictionless and public.

Our most popular tool is a #thanks bot that can be accessed in both Groups and Workplace Chat. Whenever an employee @mentions a colleague, the bot instantly notifies the person being recognised, and also triggers an email/chat notification to their manager so that they see it too. As an added incentive, the bot will also record how many times someone has been on the giving or receiving end of a #thanks mention.

'Recognise' is available in the Workplace Integrations Directory, and you can activate it to instantly deliver a similar experience for any organisation. In addition, we have an ecosystem of Workplace partners who can build bespoke solutions for customers.

Delivering recognition through groups

Delivering recognition through groups

If that all sounds a bit 'techy', don't worry: there are even simpler ways to build a culture of recognition on Workplace. Start with creating an open group, 'Recognition@', and automatically add all your employees. Outline the criteria for inviting peer, manager and leader nominations that are aligned to your organisational values and mission.

Sourcing using groups
Example of a 'Recognition@' group

A great way to kick off is to have your leaders go "live" to share a story of someone amongst your frontline staff who is delivering exceptional value to the customer. Encourage managers to share stories of the impact that their teams are creating every day, and have peers share their appreciation of others who went above and beyond.

Ask for peer nominations such as "Win of the Week" or "Top Teammate of the Month". Share them in the group and highlight the winners through a regular live spotlight.

Recognition in practice

Recognition in practice

One of the best examples of recognition on Workplace comes from B2B messaging platform, Intercom. Every year, on the anniversary of joining the company, every Intercom employee gets a bespoke comic book illustrating the previous year, drawn by a professional artist and based on input from managers and colleagues. Managers take to Workplace to write a lengthy description of accomplishments, hobbies or significant life events – whether it's moving roles or moving house.

"You see this amazing picture of yourself that's like a reflection of your whole year and your biggest accomplishments both at work and outside", says Intercom COO Karen Peacock. "It's a real opportunity for managers to be able to reinforce our values, reinforce the things they really care about and look for in teams, and encourage that in others."

Sourcing using groups
Recognition at Walmart

But you certainly don't have to go to those kind of lengths. Delta Air Lines created a group, #deltaproud, for its 80,000 employees. It receives over 15,000 posts and comments every single week – all of them sharing stories of impact, excellence and gratitude.

As Rachael Steegar Rensink, Head of Employee Engagement at Delta Air Lines, puts it: "Workplace helps us break down silos and drive appreciation and recognition – not just from the top down but from peer to peer, from people that normally don't get a chance to speak and interact. It's a good reminder that this is why we do this."

Sourcing using groups
Recognition at Delta Air Lines

Recognition is a gift. It gives us the opportunity to acknowledge hard work and impact, share learnings and build relationships. Humanise the employee experience by doing it in-person through Live. Be authentic and timely. The result will be a culture of recognition and care.

Join our global Workplace for HR customer community and connect with your HR industry peers to learn, share and continue the dialogue.

About the author: Sameer Chowdhri is the global lead for Workplace for HR. With 20 years of HR experience, he advises digital HR experts who use Workplace on cultural transformation and the future of work to help humanise the employee experience.

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