Why I Tell People Not To Create a Culture of Recognition

I was just scrolling through some questions people asked me at the HRPA Conference in Toronto this past January.

One person asked a question that represents the standard thinking of many people. They wanted to know how to create a culture of recognition. The audience there heard my thoughts. Now I want to share them with you.

First off. Please do not create a culture of recognition.

I’ll explain why.

The Fallacy of Creating a Culture of Recognition

Just to be candid with everyone. When I first started my training company delivering on site full day training sessions on improving recognition skills, I had a workshop session entitled, Making a Real Recognition Culture. I conducted those sessions for many years.

Then as I read, studied, and explored a multitude of organizations, I turned to my audiences and followers and refuted my earlier concept of making or creating a recognition culture.

Why? You ask.

If you Google “Culture of…” and start adding letters afterward, you’ll generate search finding like:

Culture of…

… Authority. 

… Blame.

… Caring.

… Fear.

… Poverty.

… Honor.

… Capitalism.

… Consumerism.

… Discipline.

… Excellence.

… Education.

… Engagement.

… Enjoyment. 

… Entitlement.

… Excellence.

… Innovation.

… Kindness.

… Learning.

… Moderation.

… Order.

… Purpose.

… Quality.

… Respect.

… Safety.

… Silence.

… Trust.

And then there are consultants, authors, and presenters delivering their message and selling their services for how to create a culture of [insert their expertise here].

I started wondering how many cultures an organization really needs. The only culture you really need is the one organizational culture you already have. You just have to make your vision, mission, purpose, values, and overall organizational culture, as real, vibrant, and engaging as possible.

Making Your Culture Come Alive And Drive Recognition

I have seen it time and time again. When recognition is alive and well in an organization and employees truly feel valued and appreciated, you will find a strong organizational culture. Plain and simple.

A healthy and vibrant organizational culture will drive all the essential practices you need happening in your organization.

Such a culture will drive…

… Communication.

… Trust.

… Engagement.

And… Recognition. Along with many other wonderful competencies.

Develop working teams of volunteer employees to keep each of your organizational values top of mind in people’s work lives. Ask them to find examples from their peers of what everyone in the organization needs to start doing, continue doing, and even stop doing, for each of your values to become a living part of the soul of your organization.

Your culture will always drive recognition giving—good or bad! Your recognition practices and programs can help reinforce your organizational culture.

It’s a win-win. One culture. One recognition.

Recognition Reflection: Does your organizational culture drive recognition practices and programs where you work?

Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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