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Understanding recognition

Jul 07, 2015

Written by: John O'Brien
(View Author Bio)

A mindset. An experience. A culture.

Culture of recognition BI WORLDWIDE Latin America.


At BI WORLDWIDE, we use the principles of behavioral economics to create the best engagement strategies on the planet. We work with expert academics who advise us on the latest research on human behavior, engagement and decision-making. We use non-cash rewards and recognition to engage and motivate employees and sales teams. Check out our case study library to see how our customized and results-driven solutions have helped clients all over the world.

How do you define recognition?

If the word “program” comes to mind, it’s time to start thinking differently. Recognition today has no start or end date and it’s moved way beyond the perfunctory handshake and pen-and-pencil set given after 25 years of service.

How do we define recognition for the 21st century?

It’s a mindset.

                                     An experience.

                                                                A culture.


Understanding the multifaceted character of recognition is a vital first step toward integrating it into your organization — and enjoying its profound effect in your employees, customers and bottom line for years to come.

Think about it.

Recognition is a mindset and anyone can develop it. It just takes thought and focus. As a manager, you first need to determine what’s worthy of recognition at your organization.

Ask yourself:

  • Which behaviors should be recognized?
  • How do these behaviors reflect and advance our company’s mission and values?
  • How can I communicate these behaviors to my team?

Communicate the why.

Linking desired behaviors to your company’s mission and values is vital to the development of a company-wide recognition mindset. When you share concrete reasons for recognizing an employee, you elevate its significance and eliminate any potential “popularity contest” perceptions.  You want everyone to see how specific behaviors can have an impact on a larger scale and to really understand how they can make a difference.  When this happens, your employees will set their minds to earning recognition for all the right reasons.

Make it a habit.

The more often you recognize your employees, the quicker it will become second nature to you. Put the word “recognize” on your calendar every week and see how it becomes a natural part of your routine. When your days get busy, recognition can easily migrate to the back burner. A recognition mindset an experience won’t allow that to happen.

Recognition becomes an experience when it’s…

  • Specific
  • Timely
  • Sincere
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John O’Brien

John O’Brien

Vice President
Employee Performance Group

As Vice President of BI WORLDWIDE’s Employee Performance Group, John O’Brien’s primary focus is to develop employee engagement strategies and solutions that change the behaviors of employees to align with our customers’ business objectives. An expert in Employee Recognition Strategy, he educates HR professionals around the world on how to best engage their employees through employee engagement strategies, solutions and best practices.