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Workhuman-Gallup Research Finds Recognition at Work Bolsters Engagement and Shields Employees from Burnout

Research reveals four practical steps organizations can take to improve culture through the power of recognition

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. & WASHINGTON, September 27, 2023--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Workhuman® and Gallup released a new report today, Empowering Workplace Culture Through Recognition, which examines the significance of recognition in the workplace as both a foundational element and a catalyst for organizational culture. Employees who strongly agree that recognition is an important part of their organization’s culture are 3.7 times as likely to be engaged, 3.8 times as likely to feel connected to their culture, and half as likely to experience frequent burnout than those who do not.

In the wake of pandemic-era workplace shifts and the Great Resignation, and amidst recent mass layoffs, the research highlights crucial considerations for leadership in reinforcing strong organizational cultures. Employees who strongly agree they are connected to their organization’s culture are over three times as likely to be engaged at work. They also are over five times as likely to strongly agree they would recommend their organization as a great place to work and 55% less likely to be actively or passively seeking new job opportunities.

"This new research serves to illustrate the choice that lay ahead for company leaders: to either invest in culture and define it for themselves, or risk it being defined for them," says KeyAnna Schmiedl, Workhuman Chief Human Experience Officer. "Our analysis found that when engaged employees describe their company’s culture, they’re using words such as caring, innovative, and inclusive. Meanwhile, actively disengaged employees are more likely to use words such as toxic, disorganized, and chaotic. It’s up to leaders to decide which of those cultures they want associated with their companies, keeping in mind this isn’t just about their employee satisfaction scores or the tone of the office, it’s a choice that determines if their business is future-proof or not."

The report finds that only 34% of employees say that their employer has a recognition program in place. And of those who do have one, just 13% of employees rate it as excellent. Employers are missing out on a simple way to reinforce the other cultural elements that an organization views as important. Employees who say their recognition program is aligned with the values of their organization are 4.9 times as likely to strongly agree that they know what is expected of them at work compared with employees who indicate their recognition program is not aligned with the values of their organization.

"Giving great recognition is an effective way for leaders to communicate the values and behaviors they most want to see from their employees," said Gallup Global Practice Leader, Ed O’Boyle. "It also sets the example for establishing a culture of recognition and inspires employees at all levels to receive and give recognition that is authentic and meaningful, and to do so often."

Workhuman and Gallup have identified four steps to create or improve a recognition program, outlined below:

Step 1: Establish Your Workplace Culture Goals and Values in Alignment with Business Strategy

  • Define the values, behaviors, rituals, and routines that will best support your business strategy so that you are cognizant of where to aim recognition. Just two in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree they are connected to their organization’s culture – clearly defining culture can solve for this.

Step 2: Use Recognition to Reflect Your Workplace Culture Goals and Values

  • Strategically recognize employees who are exemplifying the culture goals and values established in step 1. This promotes employee understanding and connectedness – among employees who strongly agree that recognition is an important part of their culture, seven in 10 strongly agree that they feel connected to their organization's culture.

Step 3: Continuously Evaluate and Refine Your Recognition Strategy

  • Frequently evaluate your recognition program to ensure it is accurately promoting the workplace culture you have set out to achieve. The research shows that employees who receive great recognition are 20 times as likely to be engaged as employees who receive poor recognition.

Step 4: Promote Quality Recognition Across Your Organization So Your Culture Can Flourish

  • Ensure recognition is frequent, consistent, and genuine, and is being embraced by individuals across all tiers of the organization for all accomplishments. Among employees who have great recognition experiences, 72% say that performance for little things is commonly recognized at their organization, compared with 16% of employees with poor recognition experiences.

To read the full report and learn more about the impact of recognition on culture visit, please visit

To learn more about how Workhuman’s employee recognition solution can help improve engagement and connectedness, and promote a stronger culture, please visit:

About Workhuman

Workhuman® is helping companies meet today’s biggest human capital challenges — including unprecedented turnover, employee engagement, hybrid work environments and DEI — through the Workhuman Cloud®, a secure SaaS platform that provides the industry’s best-in-class Social Recognition® solution. As the leading global provider of technology solutions, analytics, expertise and services helping organizations of all sizes build and foster workplace cultures powered by employee recognition and crowdsourced feedback, Workhuman is revolutionizing the way employees celebrate, connect with, and appreciate each other in the workplace. Combined with unmatched data through Workhuman iQ®, we empower HR (Human Resources) and business leaders with proactive insight to understand issues as they develop and tools to help them make the right decisions to align business objectives and culture to deliver immediate impact. And, with world-class award redemption from our proprietary global network, Workhuman is committed to building more connected human-centered workplaces that recognize the value and potential of each and every employee.

For more than 20 years, Workhuman has been pioneering the human workplace by disrupting legacy and obsolete HR approaches to improve the employee experience at work, with solutions that engage with approx. seven million customer employees in 30+ languages, in 180 countries, generating 100 million instances of human connection. With dual headquarters in Dublin, Ireland and Framingham, Massachusetts, Workhuman deploys solutions and services at scale and is committed to helping companies improve returns on their most important investment — their people. For more information, please visit

About Gallup

Gallup delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 80 years of experience with its global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students and citizens than any other organization in the world.

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Media Contacts:

Jenna West

Annie Speer