What does kudos mean?

When you give someone kudos, you’re recognizing what they’ve achieved and showing your appreciation. 

Kudos’ meaning comes from the ancient Greek kydos, which means honor, glory, or fame—especially in battle. 

Even though kudos’ definition isn’t tied to war anymore, it still means honoring someone— honoring them for what they’ve achieved, the effort they’ve put in, or for the character that they’ve shown. 

Giving a person kudos is a form of employee recognition. You’re giving them their moment of well-deserved glory and fame. It’s a way of saying thank you too. 

Giving kudos regularly, and making it a central part of your company’s work culture, can have a dramatic effect on various aspects of your business. 

Many companies today use kudos—with impressive results.

What are the uses of kudos?

People often say “kudos to you” as a way of expressing praise and admiration to someone who’s really earned it.

But kudos can be much more than a few spoken words.

It could also be a formal event which recognizes deserving professionals in front of the whole company, a written message of appreciation, or even a prize in the form of money or a free lunch. 

Kudos can take many forms, with many companies still discovering new and creative ways to express their appreciation even now.

Examples of kudos in the workplace

There are many ways that you can give someone kudos in the workplace. You can:

  • Simply thank them in person and say you appreciate their hard work, or recognize a goal they’ve achieved, or a company value that they’ve embodied.
  • Send them a private message on your company’s communication platform, or in an email. 
  • Praise them on your company intranet, or in a company-wide email. 
  • Give them a greeting card with a handwritten message.
  • Award them a gift card, an extra day of annual leave, or another prize.
  • Give them a kudos trophy (a trophy that gets awarded to someone deserving each week).
  • Give them, and their hardworking team, a free lunch.
  • Recognize their achievements, efforts, and character in a company awards ceremony.
  • Put them on your company’s wall of kudos (a wall where, each week, you surprise one of your team with their photo and a note of recognition).
  • Give them a raise or a promotion.

What are the benefits of kudos?

Giving people kudos might seem simple and ordinary, but it can have a significant impact on your company.

After all, recognition is known to be a top driver of employee engagement.

Along with engagement, a recognition programme’s benefits include:

What impact does kudos have on company culture?

Companies can gain a lot from ensuring kudos-giving is an established practice in the workplace. It has the potential to completely transform company culture.

But to have the greatest impact, kudos needs to be given by everyone in the company: from the CEO and management teams right through to the most junior professionals. 

When people give kudos to each other, regardless of position or seniority, it creates a positive and healthy work culture. A culture that promotes wellbeing and helps professionals to perform at their best. 

A kudos-filled workplace elevates the employee experience. People are not only more productive, engaged, and satisfied, but also inspire each other to pursue excellence and help the company grow. 

Just a simple act of appreciation or recognitionon an ongoing basis can transform an entire company for the better.