Why Employee Recognition Should Be Part of Your DEI Program

Organizations with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs should consider employee recognition as a key element to further any DEI initiatives - but unfortunately, not everyone does. The data is clear that recognition programs can have an enormous effect on a company’s culture and output. 

If employee recognition is separate from your DEI goals, here’s why the two need to be combined:


Drive Change and Give Insights

Including employee recognition as a part of your DEI strategy means going beyond just “talking the talk.” At its core, any DEI program is the acknowledgement and confrontation of biases, inequality, and inequity - and one of the areas in which all three are often present is recognition within an organization. Ensuring that your company’s qualifications for recognition are designed for everyone is an important step to putting DEI initiatives into action.

Additionally, recognizing employees in an inclusive fashion can help you uncover insight into your teams and company culture. You’ll likely find that when you dig deeper into eligibility for recognition, that it’s not as “fair” as you assume. Are rewards based on performance metrics that favor in-office employees and exclude remote employees? Is attention limited to employees with certain titles and seniority? Is your program exclusively top-down instead of peer-to-peer? You might be surprised by what you find. 


Support Inclusion and Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Conventional awards and recognition unfortunately often have weak points that lead to employees being left out. When members of a large team are responsible for giving out acknowledgement, it’s extremely common that they tend to stick to the recipients they work with the most - which means others are left out of consideration. Likewise, programs based purely on output are often unfairly weighted in favor of certain duties, teams, and roles.

Including recognition at your organization as a part of DEI initiatives helps to shine a light on these weak points. One way you can incorporate the two is by moving to a peer-to-peer model, as opposed to the more traditional manager-to-peer. This encourages co-workers to commend the people they work with every day, and it helps show all employees that they belong and are a vital part of what makes a group successful.

➨ Related Content: 5 Tips for Navigating a Multigenerational Workplace 


The Data Shows it Matters

Finally, the data shows that these initiatives matter. Studies have proven that rewards programs and togetherness are closely linked - 87% of employees who reported a strong culture of recognition at their company also reported a high level of inclusion.¹

Additionally, at companies where recognition incorporates diversity & inclusion, 3x as many employees are highly engaged.² That engagement translates into financial outperformance - The most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability.³

➨ Related Content: Surefire Strategies to Keep Employees Engaged

The evidence is clear - recognition and DEI are tightly linked, and these programs should work together to ensure the success of your initiatives.


Employee Recognition with QRG

Our meaningful recognition solutions can help strengthen connections between employees and employers which creates a strong sense of community, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty. Check out QRG’s recognition and retention solutions and contact an account executive for help starting a program at your company.

Unlock the Power of Recognition

QRG is a customer-driven, single-source commercial printer, branded merchandise agency, and direct marketing firm tailored to meet your business goals. Our corporate identity solutions create deep connections with a lasting impact on your audience. Learn more about how it works and check out our website for more information.


1. “Being seen: New study says combining recognition with DEI efforts is good for business” ALM Benefits Pro 

2. “The Recognition and D&I Study” Workplace Intelligence

3. “Diversity wins: How inclusion matters” McKinsey

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