Great Recognition Moments

How industry leaders are creating in-the-moment experiences to recognize and reward employees


Four companies that are making recognition matter by creating compelling, in-the-moment experiences

Every week, more than 150 million Americans go to work with the expectation that they will make decisions that are in the best interest of the company they work for and its customers.

Employee recognition plays a vital role in influencing the attitudes and actions of employees, motivating and celebrating behaviors that bring company values, aspirations and policies to life.

In this report, we showcase insights, strategies and examples from Four Engage2Excel clients that do an exceptional job at integrating recognition into operations and the daily experiences of employees. The programs represented include different types and styles of recognition for performance, safety, demonstration of core values and employee loyalty.

Trendicators is the research division of Engage2Excel, a leading provider of employee recognition, engagement survey and talent acquisition solutions. Trendicators provides original research along with reports on insights and best practices from industry leaders and experts.

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Atrium Health enables teammates, company-wide, to recognize one another via eCards that motivate and inspire

Atrium Health (formerly Carolinas HealthCare System) is one of the nation’s leading healthcare organizations, connecting patients with on-demand care, world-class specialists and the region’s largest primary care network. A recognized leader in healthcare delivery, quality and innovation, its foundation rests on providing clinically excellent and compassionate care.

Atrium Health has earned its reputation as one of the nation’s leading healthcare organizations by recognizing that teammates are its most valuable asset. Atrium Health’s culture is built around four core values that are held in the highest regard: caring, commitment, integrity and teamwork.

One way Atrium Health creates great recognition moments is by enabling teammates, company-wide, to recognize one another via eCards. Promoted on the company Intranet, Atrium Health’s eCards are easy for anyone to produce and personalize with just a few clicks. The organization’s Recognition & Rewards Platform allows teammates to express appreciation for great work, anniversaries, birthdays and actions that make a difference in the lives of patients and teammates. These programs are intended to inspire, motivate and connect teammates to Atrium Health’s mission to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing – for all.

In July 2017, Atrium Health launched a way to automate and centralize a system-wide initiative called the Good Catch Program, designed to protect and prevent potentially harmful events. The program, developed by Atrium Health, created standardized processes for submissions, scoring and recognition through an easy-to-use platform. More than 600 teammates have been recognized through the program, which serves as a model for healthcare institutions nationwide. The Good Catch Program resulted in a 47% increase in annual teammate submissions for detecting and preventing a potentially harmful event.

Last year, Atrium Health teammates celebrated great work, special occasions and years of service by sending more than 200,000+ eCards.

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The Atrium Health Recognition & Rewards Platform, shown above, makes it easy for teammates to recognize one another via eCards and nominate individuals for demonstrating core values. The Good Catch program serves as a nationwide model for the prevention of a harmful event.

Each year, the children of Atrium Health teammates are invited to participate in a birthday card design contest. Eight winning designs are selected for inclusion in the enormously popular eCard gallery, inspiring young artists and reinforcing a family-centric culture throughout the year.

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McLane revs up performance, safety and engagement with its recIGNITION program

McLane Company, Inc. is one of the largest supply chain services leaders, providing grocery and foodservice supply chain solutions for convenience stores, mass merchants, drug stores and chain restaurants throughout the United States. The company operates over 80 distribution centers across the U.S. and one of the nation’s largest private fleets.

Creating a cohesive corporate culture is a challenging and ongoing process, especially when employees are at widely distributed locations or always on the road.

McLane is a leader in the supply chain services industry, with more than 20,000 employees, 80 distribution centers throughout the U.S. and one of the nation’s largest private fleets. The company buys, sells and delivers more than 50,000 different consumer products to nearly 110,000 locations across the nation. In addition, McLane provides alcoholic beverage distribution through its wholly owned subsidiary, Empire Distributors, Inc.

The McLane HR team understands that frequent and visible employee recognition is vital to creating a culture of teamwork and instilling a sense of pride in every team member.

Jason Whiddon, a McLane supervisor, believes that the company culture is what sets McLane apart:

“This culture instills a sense of pride in every teammate and encourages teammates to build upon successful outcomes.”

The “McLane recIGNITION Station” website makes it easy for employees and supervisors to grant and receive recognition and use accumulated points to shop for rewards. Anyone can nominate a coworker who goes above and beyond to lead by example for a Teammate of the Month award. Supervisors use points cards for on-the-spot recognition and HR managers use the RecIGNITION Award to recognize employees who support McLane’s beliefs and values each and every day.

Recognition has long been a part of the McLane culture. Founded in 1894, the company has gone through many changes, but one aspect that hasn’t changed is the beliefs and values that guide relationships with teammates and customers.
The McLane recIGNITION portal automates various programs that were previously managed manually, making it easy for teammates and supervisors to participate in a variety of recognition programs. Posters, postcards and email campaigns are used to raise awareness and drive participation company-wide.

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Six Flags takes in-the-moment rewards and recognition to new heights with a multi-faceted program

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world’s largest regional theme park company and the largest operator of waterparks in North America, with $1.5 billion in revenue and 26 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. For 58 years, Six Flags has entertained millions of families with world-class coasters, themed rides, thrilling waterparks and unique attractions.


Hiring and motivating seasonal workers is one of talent management’s greatest challenges. For Six Flags, the world’s largest regional theme park company, that means hiring, training, engaging and inspiring more than 50,000 seasonal employees every year.

According to Six Flags Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Kathy Aslin, “Because our team members are our most valuable asset, we strive to provide them with a best-in-class benefits package and create a working environment that is not only fun, but one that recognizes and rewards their efforts.”

There’s plenty of evidence that this strategy is working. For the third year in a row, the National Association for Business Resources has named Six Flags as one of the Nation’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®.

Recognition and rewards play an important part in the Six Flags employment experience. In addition to exciting work, flexible scheduling and the opportunity to have fun, employees receive on-the-spot recognition and rewards cards. The cards explain why the employee is being recognized and either include points or the opportunity to spin a rewards wheel for free drinks and food. In addition, Six Flags has a nomination program for Excellence in Action, uses eCards to celebrate birthdays and has a robust loyalty program that recognizes and rewards employees with three to 25 years of service.

Fun Fact: Singer John Denver, ventriloquist Jeff Dunham and Dwayne O’Brien from the band Little Texas all got their start selling snacks and buckling kids into coasters at Six Flags.


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Bright Horizons takes employee appreciation to heart with its “HEARTfelt Thanks” Recognition program.

Bright Horizons® is a leading provider of high-quality child care, early education and other services designed to help employers and families better address the challenges of work and family life. The Company provides full service, center-based child care, back-up dependent care and educational advisory services to more than 1,100 clients across the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada and India, including more than 150 FORTUNE 500 companies.

Founded in 1986 to provide childcare solutions for working parents, Bright Horizons operates approximately 1,100 child care centers, caring for more than 120,000 children annually in the U.S. and around the world. The company’s back-up child and elder care, tuition program management, education advising, and student loan repayment programs support employees through every life and career stage, and help people succeed at work and at home.

Bright Horizons has been recognized 18 times as one of FORTUNE magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For® and is one of the U.K.’s Best Workplaces as designated by the Great Place to Work® Institute.

The Bright Horizons culture, which includes more than 32,000 employees around the globe, is built around the belief that home is where the HEART is. The company’s HEART principles, encourage Honesty, Excellence, Accountability, Respect, and Teamwork. Many in the Bright Horizons family adopt these principles in both their personal and work lives.

Bright Horizons’ HEARTfelt Thanks recognition platform provides supervisors with a wide array of tools and resources for acknowledging employee achievements and milestones. Employees use the platform to access an extensive library of eCards to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays and actions that make a difference.

Comments from parents, like this one from a Berkley, CA family, provide Bright Horizons teachers with the greatest recognition moments of all:

“[Our daughter] wakes up so excited to come to school each day and talks about all of her teachers when she comes home. Thank you for making her feel so loved.”


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