Skip to Content

Early recognition: Live your employee value proposition from day one

Dec 14, 2016

Written by: Mark Hirschfeld
(View Author Bio)

Early employee recognition is essential to your employee value proposition.

Were you ever one of those kids who moved and had to start at a new school where you didn’t know anyone? It can be a disorienting experience: no friends, not sure where you’re supposed to go, unaware of the culture of the school and the “way things get done”.

It can be miserable.

That same feeling can occur with a new employee. New employees often feel like outsiders. They want to fit in but if they don’t feel appreciated, they may well leave the organization before they really hit their stride -a costly consequence of not helping new employees get off to a great start.

What role can meaningful recognition play in helping new employees? Can the thoughtful use of recognition help new employees understand that we take our employee value proposition seriously, that we recognize those behaviors that truly define our work experience?

BI WORLDWIDE’s Analytics and Insights team recently completed a study of the impact of recognition on new employees. Here’s what they found:

Employees who received at least one recognition message within their first sixty days of employment show both increased giving and receiving over the next twelve months.  They give three times more recognitions and receive 2.5 times as many recognitions as those employees who did not receive any recognition in their first 60 days.

Early, meaningful recognition makes a difference in getting new employees to more actively participate in a culture that values recognition.

What’s the underlying psychology of these results?

Let’s say you’re that new employee. Things seem to have gotten off to a good start in the first few weeks but you’re still a bit stressed. You’re learning a new job, testing new skills and getting to know the team and company culture. You hope you’re doing the right things but the new job still feels pretty foreign.

Then you receive a message, from your supervisor or perhaps a coworker. The message thanks you for some work you’ve done on behalf of the team and concludes: “You’re off to a great start—keep it up!”

The message came at the right time to give you the encouragement you needed. Any doubts you may have had about whether you made the right choice don’t feel as strong. Maybe this new job is going to work out well, you think. And, according to our research, receiving this message helps you become more engaged in giving recognition to others and in receiving recognition yourself.

Can an employee actually do something worth recognizing in the first sixty days of work? Sure. Here are some recognition messages sent to employees who had been with the organization for less than two months:


I can't believe you have been here such a short time and are already making a difference. Not once have I heard you hide behind "I'm new and don't know." You are inspiring. Thank you for driving this project. You did this by partnering with many key stakeholders, our vendor, and our own team. You were decisive when called for and collaborative when needed. I am excited to see where your career takes you, but more importantly, I'm excited to be a part of the first stop on your journey.




I just wanted to say a huge well done for the way you have approached your first few weeks on the job. You have demonstrated great enthusiasm and have received excellent feedback from several managers that you have interacted with. Keep up the good work!




Every time I face any issue on my daily job you are always helping me out, no matter what, also, I have learned a lot of new things from you. You have a great knowledge on the business. I just wanted to recognize the great job you do and the great collaboration. We work great together! :)


It’s clear these new employees were off to a great start. What new employee needs meaningful appreciation from you, right now? What are you waiting for?

This simple act of kindness, of recognizing new employees, can mean much more than we think, and may potentially change the career path of a new employee. It sends a strong signal that we are serious our employee value proposition, that we recognize even early indications of when a new employee is making a meaningful contribution to the success of the organization.

Learn more about the twelve factors our proprietary research indicates impact an authentic employee value proposition.

Mark Hirschfeld

Mark Hirschfeld

Vice President, Consulting Services and Strategic Partnerships

Mark Hirschfeld is Vice President of Consulting Services and Strategic Partnerships at BI WORLDWIDE. He’s passionate about helping companies develop more engaged, productive places to work. Mark is the co-author of "Re-Engage: How America’s Best Places to Work Inspire Extra Effort In Extraordinary Times", published by McGraw-Hill.