Building a Culture of Recognition

Team morale is an essential part of work culture in any company, whether you're a huge corporation in a cubicle farm, a hip startup in an office full of sweet amenities, or a small distributed company where everyone works at home. For an employee to be effective, they have to know that their work is valued and appreciated. At Chromatic, we put an emphasis on giving positive feedback to our co-workers as often as possible.

Why is praise important?

Before we get into the details of how we give this feedback, let's talk a little bit about why it's so essential. It makes us feel good. It makes us happy. And that makes us work better. From

What praise ultimately does is hold up a mirror. It acknowledges what people already think about themselves: that they're good at what they do. You're making someone happy and fulfilled and more excited to work with you.

When you're working, you know you're doing good work, but to have your co-workers or boss confirm that keeps you doing that same level of work - and better!


It makes employees feel good. Always preferable from a productivity standpoint to have employees feeling good, and not underappreciated and resentful.


When employees feel good, they work harder. Feeling valued is effective motivator - positive morale raises energy levels right away.

JetBlue did a study on peer-to-peer recognition at work.

The JetBlue data revealed that for every 10% increase in people reporting being recognized, JetBlue saw a 3% increase in retention and a 2% increase in engagement.

Those are some pretty great numbers, just for recognizing your colleagues' work. Just saying "Great job on that presentation this morning!" can motivate your team members, make them more productive, and make them feel more appreciated. It's that easy. But not enough companies do it, or do it enough. The key is to create a recognition culture.


It’s easy: Just make recognition something you measure. One of my old bosses started every management meeting by having every supervisor share two examples of employees they recognized or praised that day. At first it seemed cheesy and forced, but we quickly embraced it.

How Do I Create a Recognition Culture?

Well, obviously, verbal praise is the quickest, cheapest, and easiest way to start, But of course, there are apps for that which make it fun and easy.

Chromatic uses a Slack plugin called HeyTaco.

HeyTaco lets us send "tacos" using the taco emoji ? to our team members each day. There is a leaderboard, and we try to be as generous as we can with our tacos - we only get five a day to give out (this can be changed by the administrator)!

tacos The leaderboard is only for fun - at first I was worried it might make people feel bad, but we try to make it fun - giving extra birthday tacos, etc. (This has also lead to some ? Ponzi schemes and the occasional prank, but that's another post.)


Giving tacos has become a huge part of our daily communication, and it's a way to show our appreciation that's now built into the culture of our company. HeyTaco also allows your team to set up rewards for which you can redeem your tacos!

HeyTaco is a little silly, fun, and irreverent, and because of that, it fits in with our team just perfectly. We also love real tacos A LOT here at Chromatic so the theme is perfect for us.


Some other options (Disclaimer - I have not tried any of these, but I'd love your feedback if you have! Reach out to us through our website or on Twitter at @ChromaticHQ):


Every month, users get a small allowance. The only thing users can do with their allowance is give it to their colleagues in small increments to recognize great work. We call these pieces of recognition microbonuses.


YouEarnedIt works with companies to better engage their people. This happens by enabling employees to send real-time recognition, receive rewards that are actually meaningful (while saving the company time and money!), and insightful employee analytics that build better company cultures. Almost any initiative aimed at employee engagement can be folded into YouEarnedIt, so you’ll see it described as a total employee engagement platform.


Good people choose companies that inspire them. Ultimately they need to know they are spending their time wisely. Our mission is to help workers feel engaged in a workplace.

Globoforce Social Recognition

Social Recognition® from Globoforce enables all employees to see and share in recognition as it happens across your company. When employees can see and emulate great behavior, it broadens and deepens the impact of every award. And when employees add congratulations, it extends and strengthens the recognition moment for everyone.

Go Forth and Recognize Your Co-workers and Employees!

You know why it's important, you've got tools to do it, what are you waiting for?