Learn Why You Should Incorporate Core Values With Your Recognition Program

July 17, 2013 - 6 minute read - Posted by

The lack of recognition at work is one of the most cited reasons why employees are leaving their current jobs. Employees feel that their contributions to achieve the company’s goals are not valued by their peers and their managers. Companies are taking actions to deal with the lack of recognition by implementing recognition programs in the workplace. Many of them are adoption a culture of giving real-time recognitions to their employees. They have realized that frequent and immediate recognitions increase employee engagement and reduce turnover. However, many recognition programs lack an important factor: the company’s core values. Workforce Mood Tracker 2012 Report shows that recognition tied to core values delivers far better results. Having a program such as employee of the month is simply not good enough.

Your company’s core values are the beliefs that form the foundation of your business’s identity. They are values that you want your current and future employees to demonstrate. Core values can also be your competitive advantage. A clear unique set of core values that show the essence of your company attract job candidates, customers, and investors. There is a positive correlation between company’s core values and employee engagement. From a group of surveyed workers who claimed they knew their company’s core values, 88% say they are engaged compared to 54% of respondents who did not know any of the core values. If you recognize your employees by linking their behaviours to the corporate values, they will have a better understanding of what the expectations are working for your company.

Avis Budget Group is an excellent example of a company who has incorporated their core values into their recognition program. They have experienced a 3.8% decrease in turnover from 2004-2005 which is estimated to be approximately $3 million in savings per percentage point drop. Here is what Executive VP of Human Resources, Mark Servodidio has to say about Avis Budget Group’s recognition program:

“The best strategic decision we made was making this a value-based recognition program. The company’s core values stay the same; these are values that you want employees to carry with them. By basing your program on core values, it eliminates the flavour of the month feeling and the program is tied to something deeper and that makes it better understood.”

Companies struggle with how to communicate their core values to their employees. Having worked for different organizations, I found out about the core values either by doing my own research before applying for the position or during on-boarding. However, none of my employers mentioned the core values to me after the on-boarding sessions. You can have the best core values in the world, but they will not be effective if you do not create a program around them. Recognition program is a great way to incorporate your core values with your business. Encourage your employees to recognize others when they see an alignment between the behaviours and the company’s core values. Some companies may use social recognition programs that will allow every employee to see each recognition that is being given in the organization. They are awesome alternatives to the traditional employee of the month plaque on the wall.

The quality of recognition given is very important. For example, “great job on demonstrating the Customer Service core value” does not provide any information on how the person’s actions is in alignment with that value. Instead, urge your employees to write a behaviour-based recognition such as “Bob went out of his way to accommodate one customer who was out of town. He called every store near the area to find the product. He followed up with the customer to make sure that the package arrived. Bob demonstrated great customer service”. A behaviour-based recognition allows the employee to know exactly what he did that demonstrated the Customer Service value. More importantly, when that recognition is shared, every member of the organization understands what are the actions that are aligned with the company’s core values. The chart below shows how creating a connection with your core values is beneficial to your organization.



Many companies fall into the trap of only spending time and resources into processes that will have a direct impact on the bottom line. Defining your core values and then creating programs that will promote them is definitely time consuming and the ROI is not as straight forward. Don’t wait until employees are leaving your company because they do not see your company having a positive culture or they are simply not engaged. I believe to be a successful company, you need to be proactive rather than reactive. So I encourage you to start implementing core values more in your business processes as you want to promote your company’s identity throughout your whole organization.

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