3 steps to boost morale and connect your people

4 min read

There’s a quote that I like from Friedrich Nietzsche that says, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

A powerful tactic for keeping ourselves and our teams motivated during times of stress and uncertainty is staying focused on the ‘Why’ or the purpose of our work. 

My husband used to work at Wegmans Food Markets and he would explain that rather than thinking of his job as “selling produce” he would focus on the company mission of “Making Great Meals Easy” to instead think about how his work was making a difference.

Recognition is always a great opportunity to connect the work that people do to the mission or impact they are supporting. While there are lots of short-term focuses you could recognize for, a long-term way to connect to purpose is by recognizing your employees through values. 

Let’s walk through 3 steps for boosting morale and connecting your people with company values in employee recognition.

Download our eBook to learn more about what values-based recognition is »

Step one: Consider your values and what it looks like to deliver them 

Some of these actions may have always been a focus, some may be especially important now as we continue navigating uncharted territory. Take some time to reflect on what matters the most to your people and what’s going to drive your culture forward. Here an example of what I mean:


Value: Compassion

Value: Teamwork

Always important

Saying what you are doing as you do it with patients

Confirming expectations at the start of a project

Especially important now

Carefully and thoughtfully explaining new visitation policies to families

Establishing email groups to support projects as we all work from home

Step two: Look for examples of the actions that support your values being lived every day 

Don’t worry so much about whether the actions are “part of the job.” If they support the values it’s important for people to get that feedback – especially in times when motivation may be lagging. Some actions may look different these days but are critical for holding the team together.

It may seem harder to recognize remote employees at first, but if you take the time to check in with others, see what they’re working on and understand how they’re making an impact – you’ll be able to find concrete examples of how your people are continuing to drive the business forward despite not being in the same office location.


Step three: Tell a story that connects to the purpose and values

I encourage people leaders to set aside time each day or week to highlight those that are delivering on your values and to make sure they explicitly connect employee’s actions to the purpose or values they support. 

c-space_logo 260x176

When one of our clients, C Space, refreshed its company values, the organization realized it needed to bring these values to life in the digital space to drive a more strategic recognition culture

Working with Reward Gateway, C Space launched its employee experience platform, “The Spot,” as a place for its employees to connect, show each other appreciation and keep customer stories top of mind, while connecting the values back to the actions or behaviors that support them.

When C Space employees started working remotely full-time because of the pandemic, driving this values-based recognition culture became even more important. One of the company’s values is “showing the love” and has become particularly top-of-mind recently as a way to boost morale and connections across the company when people need it most and to feel like they’re making a difference.


When recognition is sent on The Spot, it lives on a social recognition wall, so others can react to it or add comments. At C Space, senior leaders get involved and read some of the values nominations out loud in meetings to show how the employees are living the values and driving behaviors.

Improving visibility on values-based recognition while everyone is remote is another key piece of the puzzle to transform company culture.

As you highlight the examples of your values happening around the company, you will remind others about the values, increase motivation and wellbeing by connecting employees to the purpose of their roles. It also gives you a powerful and positive way to make a difference for others! What next step will you take towards building a values-based culture of appreciation?

Alexandra Powell

Alexandra Powell, Director of Client Cultural Insights, not only knows American Sign Language, but uses it to secretly communicate with her husband and kids at parties. Alex is a highly experienced employee engagement consultant, trainer and speaker. For over 20 years she has helped HR and business leaders implement strategies that drive true culture change.

Director of Client Cultural Insights

Subscribe to our blog

Subscribe to our Blog Updates!

Receive our most popular articles in your inbox every other week for employee engagement best practice and inspiration