The Power of Recognition

Praising others will help them and you.

At ADURO, one of our core values is to Delight Others. This includes not only delighting our clients and their employees with exceptional services and products, but also creating a culture of happiness and recognition internally. We believe that recognition is the key to a happy and productive workforce. Likewise, if you are recognizing the greatness in others you too are ultimately happier. Research shows that recognition, happiness, or lack thereof go hand-in-hand. At ADURO we have witnessed this to be true, teams who regularly recognize peers and efforts across the organization report higher happiness scores through our recognition tool.

Companies that scored in the top 20% for building a “recognition-rich culture” actually had 31% lower voluntary turnover rates. [Forbes]

Shawn Achor, a known Happiness Researcher and author of “Big Potential”, talks about the Happiness Advantageand how by expressing gratitude to others, we in-turn boost our own happiness. Not a new concept, but something to ponder. When was the last time you positively recognized a co-worker? How did it feel?

Psychology of Recognition

It’s not a surprise that we feel good after receiving praise, recognition and appreciation. You may be less aware of the effect recognition has on others as well as what happens when you fail to receive praise.

When you’re giving praise, it expands the potential for the person receiving praise and they become more resilient. They are more open to receiving feedback and creating action from that feedback. They start to recognize their own accomplishments. In-turn, those who give praise ultimately feel better and are more motivated in their work. Win-win.

When you do not receive praise, your brain assumes criticism of your work. There’s a chemical release that shuts down the executive function of our brain. This makes us start looking for things that aren’t going well. [John Demartini]

So what to do when we need to shift our brain to think about what is going well? Praise someone else.

Pointers on Giving Recognition

  • Be authentic –Empty praise can actually destroy trust. So, rather than just say “good job”, add in details about why their efforts were significant or impactful.
  • Avoid comparison praise –at the expense of someone else or past efforts. “That was the best presentation you’ve ever done!” …does that mean my last presentation wasn’t really that great?
  • Promote extension praise– rather than onlyshowering praise on the leader of the project, remember to include those that held support roles or behind-the-scene
  • Give recognition with undivided attention– Free of distraction. This goes back to authenticity. If you’re not taking the time to provide praise with concerted effort, it can come across empty and non-impactful.
  • Acknowledge Efforts– Time, energy and extent of work. Explain why you thought it was exceptional and acknowledge the time and energy necessary to complete the work.

Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival – to be understood, to be validated, to be appreciated.

Steven Covey

Okay, go forth and spread the recognition (and encourage others to do the same!).


Hear more from Shawn Achor during a TEDx talk.

You can also read more about ADURO’s Core Values here.