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Why an employee recognition program should start from the top

Posted June 8, 2022


More than one-third of U.S. employees said in a recent survey that more recognition would be the biggest driver for them to do better work. No other response in the survey was higher than 13 percent, so employee recognition is very meaningful in creating a workplace culture that produces results! 

WEX Chair and CEO Melissa Smith joined us on our Benefits Buzz podcast to discuss the value of an employee recognition program that starts all the way at the top of an organization. Learn the impact that reimagining employee recognition can have on your business or organization. 

Why should employee recognition start from the top? 

Smith offers one simple reason: It matters. She said it’s particularly valuable to uplift employees when they least expect it. 

“When you think back to your own experiences, being seen and being recognized is an important part of why you show up every day,” Smith said.

How has flexible work and hybrid working changed recognition?

Smith feels there are ways that flexible work arrangements have ensured a more level playing field. Employee recognition programs have often been re-focused or re-imagined to adapt to employees’ abilities to work from anywhere and to not be tied to a major office (or any office, really). For example, WEX recently introduced Inspire & Celebrate, which is a peer-to-peer recognition program that is a fully digital experience. 

“Now, what you hear from employees is they feel that connectedness regardless of where they live in the world,” Smith said. “I think it’s really important that we continue that and nurture that.”

What can a recognition program mean for retention? 

Retention and the Great Resignation have been top of mind for employers and their HR teams for more than a year. An employee recognition program is another valuable tool in the employee retention toolbox, helping to build that bond between employee and employer. Smith views retention as a byproduct of a strong recognition effort. 

“We’re thinking a lot more about how do you make sure people feel like they’re engaged,” Smith said. “Do they want to come to work? Will they recommend you to other people?”

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WEX receives compensation from some of the merchants identified in its blog posts. By linking to these products, WEX is not endorsing these products. 

The information in this blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, you should consult your own counsel. 


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