Create a Praise Culture to Improve Engagement and Drive Productivity

Employees are most highly engaged with organizations where they are confronted by positivity, and treated with kindness. It’s a universal truth: if your organization’s culture isn’t a positive one, your employees will be less engaged and may be walking out the door.

In fact, lack of recognition tops the list as the number one reason why employees leave organizations. Employees who feel unrecognized for their contributions will quit. In fact, there’s a 200% greater chance they’ll quit within the next year. 

According to Gallup research, only 40% of employees report receiving recognition. What makes this data even more of a gut punch is that this reported recognition comes just a few times a year or less.

This tells us that across the board, organizations are coming up short in how well and how frequently they recognize their employees.  The solution?  Creating a “Praise Culture.”


What Is Praise Culture?

Praise culture is a holistic approach to employee recognition. It ensures that praise is baked into the overall organizational culture such that leaders and employees at all levels live it and feel it, praising and recognizing their colleagues without restraint. No one person, no single leader, and no solo department (not even HR) owns culture. It’s owned by the collective.

Praise Culture In Action

A story that our CEO, Amy Davies, shared in a popular 2022 LinkedIn post is an excellent example of praise culture at work. 

When Amy started a serving job early in her career, her manager told her that he would be following her around during every shift for her first 30 days on the job in order to “tell [her] all of the things you’re doing right!’

The manager then proceeded to frequently praise and thank Amy. Whether that was pitching in by clearing a colleague’s table, lifting a toddler into a high chair, or taking the garbage out, the manager’s praise and positivity has permeated the organization and created a “praise pandemic,” where the praise became contagious, with colleagues at all levels doling out recognition freely.

This boosted Amy’s confidence considerably and also led to greater engagement. 

Why Your Organization Needs Praise Culture

Just like in Amy’s experience where praise had a direct impact on her engagement, according to Gallup, recognizing employees the right way sees a 5X increase in employees’ feeling of connection with the organizational culture, as well as a 4X lift in engagement. 

Fostering a praise culture at your organization can cost nothing, but have infinite ROI. We already know the cost of not integrating praise culture 

3 Ways To Integrate Praise Culture

The proliferation of praise is propelled by leadership. Employees report that the most meaningful recognition they’ve received is recognition from their direct manager, with the next most memorable recognition coming from the C-suite. We recommend praising employees loudly and often.

1. Show Immediate Appreciation to Create a Positive Chemical Reaction

In speaking with and studying employee behaviour over many years, we’ve found the most effective recognition is as simple as a ‘thank you’ from a manager for a job well done, for working late, or for saving the day. This immediate acknowledgement and gratitide will cause a dopamine release in the brain, and this is a sensation that people favour and will seek out. So scientifically, the reward for praise will lead to better work! To learn more check out this Forbes article, In Praise of Seeking Praise.

2. Promote Praise Culture

This program can be piloted in one or two departments, if increased praise in fact improves outcomes for the test team (and it will – we promise!), plan an internal communication startegy to promote the program across your organization. It can start simple with a campaign entitled, Have You Thanked a Colleague Today? Over time as you learn what works best in your organization you can add components and perhaps even budget to a Praise Program.

3. Build Praise Into Employee Onboarding

In a broader sense, praise culture starts with onboarding. The intention of building up the confidence of new employees by spotlighting all that they’re doing well during their first few months in their role should be baked into all onboarding strategies. Encourage people leaders to watch their new hires closely and comment to them about anything they are doing well. Continue this behaviour for at least the first 90 days, and behold how your new hire retention rates and productivity will increase!

The most amazing thing about creating a praise culture is that it IS contagious, and the more it’s seen and experienced the more positivity will spread across your business.

At First30, we support organizations holistically with their onboarding programs. If you’d like to start integrating praise from the point of onboarding and beyond, in order to better retain and engage your employees, feel free to send us an email to learn more about how First30 can help.

Learn more about First30’s onboarding program HERE.

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