Woman laughing in front of coworkers.

Rethinking Employee Recognition: From Employee of the Month to Employee of the Moment

Over the last year, an unprecedented 48 million employees left their jobs. This “Great Resignation” is costing employers thousands of dollars in hiring and recruiting costs — up to $30K per employee.

That’s left employers everywhere asking: “What does a company need to do to improve employee retention?” The answer is easier than you might think: Employee recognition makes all the difference.


Life changes, higher wages, and career growth opportunities will always cause employee turnover. And while “employee recognition” may seem like a soft HR term, employee appreciation actually plays a much larger role in retention rates than you might think.

The statistics speak for themselves:

That’s led many employers to realize that their current employee engagement and recognition programs are no longer going to cut it. Historically, these programs have focused on recognizing employees at set, infrequent intervals — think employee of the month or annual achievement awards. But when the norm is only appreciating a few employees’ hard work once a month (at most), employees are left wondering if their daily achievements are even being noticed. That leads many employees to report feeling frustrated with their management due to “a focus on the negative” and an overall “lack of appreciation” for the work they do daily.

At Maritz, we know that the future of employee recognition and engagement comes down to ensuring that all types of contributions are valued and appreciated. Your organization needs to be celebrating, nurturing and recognizing every employee — not just for their great work, but for who they are as people.


Let’s be honest — the bar for employee recognition has been set too low.

Typically, employee recognition looks a lot like checking a box. Most companies implement a program that relies on semi-regular performance reviews, appreciation lunches, and monthly or annual awards. Unfortunately, these broad, sporadic forms of recognition can be largely inconsistent and don’t actually do anything to impact an employee day-to-day. Further, it makes it difficult, if not impossible, for organizations to track whether or not this implementation of “employee recognition” is actually working.


Put yourself in your employee’s shoes. If you’re a top employee who receives a 5-star performance review once a quarter, that’s nice — but you probably still feel like the essential duties you perform on a regular basis go overlooked. Did you know that high-performing employees are the most likely to resent a lack of recognition for their results? This means that your company may be losing its most productive workers due to a simple lack of employee appreciation. What’s more: Research shows recognition and appreciation are the No. 1 thing employees say their boss could do to inspire them to produce great work and stay at their organization longer.


The good news is that investing in employee appreciation daily will go a long way in terms of turnover, productivity and morale.

  • Organizations with formal recognition programs have significantly less voluntary turnover than organizations that don’t have any program at all.
  • They’re also more likely to have strong business outcomes.
  • Companies who celebrate and champion their employees through the use of recognition software experience lower frustration levels overall than those that don’t.
  • Most HR professionals say their company’s recognition practices has a positive effect not only on retention but also on engagement, culture and employee happiness.


To make your employees feel valued, you must show active appreciation. That’s why at Maritz, we have developed CultureNext® — a recognition and rewards platform that encourages employee appreciation and engagement daily, for both work and personal achievements.


CultureNext® is built on principles of behavioral science to help you create conditions that foster engagement, happiness, and, ultimately, retention.

More than a semi-regular performance review or employee of the month program, CultureNext® is an employee recognition platform that fosters a culture of daily recognition and engagement. When employees are seen and appreciated, not only does their quality of work increase, but the culture of the office also becomes more positive, productive and profitable.


All the different characteristics of a valuable employee are nurtured and celebrated through the CultureNext® platform. To bring this to life, we use The 3C’s of Strategic Tenure™:


The CultureNext® platform operates using 3 tiers of recognition and rewards based on the impact of the contribution. Recognition tiers encompass everyday, strategic and high-impact efforts.


Recognition from management is important, but peer-to-peer appreciation matters more than you might think. CultureNext® fosters connections between management and employees, and also between coworkers, with its social stream for likes and comments to drive engagement.

Using this network feature, achievements can be celebrated by both managers and coworkers easily in real-time — reinforcing and rewarding social connections and celebrating people, company culture, and life events.


CultureNext® provides a space for milestone recognition (both automated and not) that goes beyond years of service to continuously show appreciation. This could look like celebrating and rewarding career milestones and work anniversaries but also includes publicizing educational achievements and new skill developments.


Despite knowing the impact recognition can have on a business’s bottom line, many companies never take action.

With CultureNext®, we make taking that action easy. By focusing on employee recognition daily, you can:

  • Keep your best talent
  • Spark joy
  • Inspire productivity throughout your organization as a whole
  • Save money with lower turnover and higher ROI
  • Boost engagement
  • Add considerable value to your business

A happier, more engaged workplace is waiting. Contact us today to get started.