Think beyond the trophy and give your employees what they really want.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt under-appreciated at work.

It doesn’t matter if this is said to a packed stadium, on a New York City subway, or in our dentist’s waiting room. The scene would be the same--- a bunch of people looking like they’re going to high-five one another. Yep, we’ve all had a job (or three) where our efforts went unnoticed. You’re in good company, you with your hand in the air.

Being validated and understood is a fundamental human need. It builds resilience, buffers against stress, and feds our need for human connection. Appreciation is a form of feedback, and people need it to thrive. Especially in the workplace.

In a world where everyone is constantly weighing their career options, creating a culture of trust and appreciation is more important than ever.

According to Glassdoor, 53% of employees would stay longer at a company if they felt appreciated. Employees who are celebrated for their efforts are more likely to feel a sense of purpose, help their colleagues succeed, and produce great work. It’s this kind of career engagement that propels brands forward.

Gallup defines engaged employees as involved, enthusiastic, and committed to their work. Newton’s Third Law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. (That dude knew a few things.) Thus, disengaged employees do the opposite of their counterparts. They’re distracted, indifferent, and unavailable. (Kind of like your teenage nephew, but with mortgages and morning commutes.) 


There is no such thing as too much recognition:

69% of employees would work harder if they felt more appreciated for their efforts. (Source Socialcast) (2)

Back to the good folks at Gallup…

A recent survey of theirs found that only one in three workers have received praise or recognition in the past week. Stunning, right?

Worrying is the first step to feeling disconnected from work. When people doubt if what they do makes a difference, it feeds their detachment. So does silence. This is especially true in large organizations where employees sometimes feel like cogs in the giant wheel of commerce. Recognition is crucial because it helps employees see the bigger picture and reminds them of why their work matters and how they can make a difference.

When you only celebrate work anniversaries, you neglect the very thing people need to keep doing good work: positive reinforcement. Imagine going an entire year without receiving any recognition for your contributions or efforts. Uh, no thanks.

What people really want is to know that they matter. 

Not all recognition is created equal, however. Despite good intentions, a simple “Hey, thanks” isn’t always enough to make your employees feel valued. Half-hearted recognition can actually do more harm than good, as people can spot a Fakey McFakerson from miles away. Generic emails and templated thank you cards come to mind.

Impactful recognition encourages employees to grow, experiment, and learn new things. It builds confidence and reassures employees that they can stretch themselves when the next opportunity comes around.

Recognition comes in many shapes and sizes, but a few things remain constant:

Impactful Recognition #2 (2)

We use the RISE formula all the time to help our clients create epic employee appreciation programs with merch that motivates. Unlike cash, tangible rewards feel like true gifts. Good merch is a vibe. An experience. People want cool, not contrived. When the branded merch they receive as recognition has a curated retail feel, it becomes something meaningful.

Here’s what recognizing amazing work can look like:


The Phoenix

Lynn & Liana



Happiness is a worthy metric for your business. And it’s often overlooked in favor of prioritizing corporate earnings. When employees are engaged and productive, companies win. Like Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS Institute, once said,” Treat employees like they make a difference, and they will.”

Is it time to amp up your employee recognition program? We can help with that. From company stores with integrated recognition programs to scalable incentive solutions, we’re changing the merch game for brands everywhere.