Employee recognition: why kudos matters

9 min read  |   14 February, 2019   By Aimée Brougham-Chandler

A woman is smiling and holding a star shaped golden "employee of the month" balloon. She is pointing behind her at her colleague who is on the phone in a meeting room.

Employee appreciation is acknowledged as one of the most effective ways to improve company culture and employee engagement. Peer-to-peer kudos and feedback is essential for promoting a healthy company culture and retaining staff. Don't worry, we've got you covered.

We'll cover:

Off the back of the #MeToo media campaign, it’s no surprise that the lines surrounding employee appreciation are now blurrier than ever. Dusting off those not-so-rose-tinted specs, we’re helping HR specialists and SME business owners refocus on rewarding individual and team efforts positively.

Employee recognition and reward

Touched on in our popular Culture Economy Report, recognition, reward and feedback are identified as management musts. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Research highlights that verbal, non-monetary incentives have a greater impact on employee engagement and thus, business performance. This free-for-all strategy for face-to-screen recognition and reward is also strongly endorsed during our interview with Masabi (a transport tech company). They’ve seen that peer-to-peer kudos and feedback is essential for promoting a healthy company culture and retaining staff.

And Masabi aren’t the only ones who share our attitude. TinyPulse (a successful Employee Engagement & Feedback Software business linked with Microsoft) went on to comment:

‘...employees who were prominent hubs of giving and receiving kudos from both inside and outside of their workgroup outperformed their colleagues’.

While the stats are well in favour of promoting employee recognition and reward, our Culture Economy Report revealed that many employees are in fact sensitive to public attention. We’ll ditch the flowers, chocolates and silence the fanfare then...


How to appropriately handle employee appreciation

Good news; there’s a solution right at your fingertips. Thanks to our in-app kudos feature, you can now award your team with a virtual sticker of appreciation, alongside a helpful note or comment for all the business to see (and applaud).

The best bit? You can try this for FREE for 14 days, no strings.

kudos appreciation

Split into categories of excellence, employees and managers can select another member of their team for kudos. Customise kudos types for your company, or feel free to use ours:

  • Job well done
  • Made my day easier
  • Saved the day
  • Went the extra mile
  • Living our values: 5 pillars:
    • People first
    • Can do attitude
    • Growth mindset

The more kudos each employee receives, the higher up the leader board they climb. The scores are totted up every month and, yep - you guessed it - the one at the top receives the well-deserved accolade of Breathe’s employee of the month.


A woman is smiling and holding a star shaped golden "employee of the month" balloon. She is pointing behind her at her colleague who is on the phone in a meeting room.


Bethan Roles, our Partner Account Manager, shot to the top of our leader board for January 2019 and is now humbly wearing the glitzy title of Employee of the Month.

“The kudos feature is simply wonderful. It doesn't take much to say a simple well done, but I can pop into my account and say thanks to a colleague. Not only does it make me feel warm and snuggly on the inside, but it always makes my colleagues’ day. Praise costs nothing! I received 14 kudos in January and was awarded employee of the month. I felt very honoured and was hand delivered a balloon and bottle of bubbly by our CEO. It feels great to be working at a company where they live and 'breathe' their culture and it's demonstrated by the kudos feature.”

What is kudos?

Deriving from the ancient Greek word kydos, kudos refers to acknowledging acclamation, or praising exceptional achievement. Predominantly popular with academics, it gained exposure within 20th century journalism and spread around the web in the 90s.

Now prolific in business and educational sectors, this simple plural-noun has covered impressive ground. Weaving its way into boardrooms, offices and corporate social media channels (such a LinkedIn), many HR consultants and SME managers recognise kudos as the go-to-tool for improving employee engagement and encouraging great company culture.

And quite right too.

Recognition in numbers:
  • Our company have sent 2,190 kudos to each other since the feature went live in January 2013.
  • 75,000 kudos flew across our clients’ teams in 2018.
  • A staggering 228,813 kudos have been awarded since the beginning of Breathe.

In the words of Led Zeppelin: That’s a whole lotta love.

So, in-line with cultivating healthy company cultures and positioning employee’s needs at the heart of business ethos, let's avoid the pitfalls of transactional analysis and show some recognition of our people's hard work.

Kudos to that.


Author: Aimée Brougham-Chandler

An IDM-certified Digital Copywriter as of February 2023, Aimée is Breathe's Content Assistant. With a passion for guiding readers to solutions for their HR woes, she enjoys delving into & demystifying all things HR: From employee performance to health and wellbeing, leave to company culture & much more.

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