Why Recognize Impact as Part of Your Organizational Culture Strategy?

By Nicole Bendaly

Impact is about more than goals and outcomes. Impact, especially in the context of corporate culture, is about recognizing and appreciating team members for their contributions and effort (in addition to the outcomes they achieve). Celebrating impact is a key part of any organizational culture strategy and one of the five characteristics of a culturepreneur.

When culturepreneurial leaders recognize team members and the impact they have on success, those team members know their work is valued and as a result, we see levels of productivity, engagement, and motivation go up. In fact, it’s been found that organization with formal plans and programs in place to recognize impact have “31% less voluntary turnover than organizations that don’t have any program at all. And they’re 12x more likely to have strong business outcomes.” 

Four ways to recognize impact as part of your company culture development and help improve employee retention

  1. Be deliberate about debriefing
    Debriefing gives everyone on the team the opportunity to identify what went well and where you could have done better. It also provides people the perfect opportunity to recognize the effort of their colleagues, celebrate wins, and share ideas on how to improve for next time. Building time to debrief into your project plans is an efficient and effective way to ensure people are getting their voices heard and that you’re recognizing impact on a regular basis. Need tips on effective debriefing? Try this article from hbr.org.
  2. Mix the formal with the informal
    Formal recognition programs are incredible tools for celebrating successes and letting team members know they’re making an impact. But don’t overlook that many informal recognition opportunities that come up day-to-day. Take the time to send a quick email recognizing the effort of a team member, drop a quick “we couldn’t have done it without you” message in your Teams chat, or post a note on your internal communication channels celebrating the achievement of a new milestone. Recognizing impact doesn’t have to be done on a large scale (or in front of a big group) to be effective!
  3. Make it meaningful
    In his book, The Culturepreneur: How High Performance Leaders Craft Culture as Competitive Advantage, Marty Parker talks about the importance of leaders customizing their leadership approach to the needs of each team member. The same holds true when it comes to recognizing impact. Link recognition back to the individual’s own purpose and how they connect with the organization’s mission and vision. How many people were helped because of their efforts? What goals were met because of their contributions? Understanding how, where, and why your team likes to be recognizing and what aspects of their work they most connect to will help make recognition even more meaningful.
  4. Focus on learning
    Because recognizing impact is about celebrating effort and contribution in addition to achievement, it’s the perfect opportunity to reinforce an organization’s learning and development culture. Focus on the steps that team members are taking to achieve personal, team, and company goals. Celebrate what’s going well, find opportunities in what isn’t going as planned, and identify key milestones that will keep the recognition and learning going.

Recognizing impact is an important part of every organizational culture strategy. At Waterstone, our corporate culture consultants support clients who are looking to build high performance cultures.  Find out how our tools and process – including recognizing impact – can help you improve business performance, attract, and retain top talent, and drive incredible growth. Book a meeting with our team today.