Employee Recognition Improves Performance

By optimizing your employee recognition strategies, you’ll not only boost oxytocin levels but also create a workplace where everyone feels valued and motivated to give their best.


Have you ever felt the magic of being recognized for your hard work? That warm, fuzzy feeling is no accident—it’s the power of recognition at play, driven by a powerful hormone called oxytocin. This post dives into how employee recognition, employee appreciation and effective employee recognition programs can transform your workplace, boost morale and elevate performance.

The Science Behind Recognition

Oxytocin, often dubbed the “love hormone,” isn’t just about bonding in personal relationships. In the workplace, it’s produced when employees are recognized personally, publicly and unexpectedly by their leaders. This boost in oxytocin enhances an individual’s willingness to connect and engage with their team.

A Personal Experience with Recognition

I remember my pleasant surprise when I joined a team where recognition was part of the culture. Team members were regularly acknowledged for their individual contributions that went above and beyond their job duties. This wasn’t just a pat on the back but a well-deserved spotlight during a public PowerPoint presentation given by our director. The presentation, shared on the department’s internal website, highlighted the personal, public, and unexpected recognition that made a significant impact on us all.

The Impact of Employee Recognition Programs

Neuroscience studies indicate that oxytocin significantly affects our willingness to accept social risks through interpersonal interactions. This connection in the workplace leads to impressive results:

  • 13% fewer sick days
  • 74% less stress
  • 40% less burnout
  • 106% more energy
  • 76% more engagement
  • 50% higher productivity
  • 29% more satisfaction[1]

Clearly, the power of recognition cannot be overstated. It creates a ripple effect that improves overall workplace appreciation and performance.

Building a Culture of Appreciation

How can you foster such an environment of appreciation and recognition in your workplace? It starts with consistently striving to enhance the relationship between yours and your employees. Recognize their efforts, celebrate their successes and create an inclusive culture where every contribution is valued. Effective employee recognition programs can transform isolated workers into a cohesive, high-performing team.

Your Turn to Act

Think about your current approach to employee recognition. Are you making the most of its potential to improve performance and workplace appreciation? Implementing regular and genuine recognition can lead to a more engaged, productive and satisfied workforce.

For comments, questions and future article requests, please contact Nicole Van Valen at nicole@keaneinsights.com.

[1]Harvard Business Review. The Neuroscience of Trust. January-February 2017 Issue. Available at hbr.org. Accessed June 3, 2019.

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