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Dow Chemical

The Dow Chemical Company has been at the forefront of companies combining the power of science and technology for over a century. All the while they were making a difference within our world, they were creating a culture of recognition within their company.

As an industry leading chemical company headquartered in Midland, Michigan, Dow has created a reputation as a market leader that attracts and retains great talent. In an ever-evolving and competitive landscape, Dow continues to win the loyalty of their employees across the globe.

Curtis Kesler, the Recognition and Appreciation Program Manager at Dow describes their previous recognition programs as stagnant.

“We had a formal recognition tool that was oriented primarily around monetizing the appreciation experience so it was only vouchers or it was only cash. There was no long term strategy in terms of driving a different culture,” says Kesler, “We had a program that was stuck. It wasn’t moving forward.”

Kesler continues to describe their previous platform as a ‘one size fits all approach’ that simply wasn’t ringing true to Dow employees.

“Every single person has an individual motivator,” says Kesler, “there was a need to move forward with a global strategy, but with local implementation taking more of the local culture into consideration.”

“O.C. Tanner has helped us to be more flexible in reaching our employees wherever they are. Employees are more open to collaboration, they're more open to innovation, they're more open to helping others around them succeed, and therefore succeed themselves.” Curtis Kesler, Recognition and Appreciation Program Manager.


One way Dow successfully came to understand what connected their employees to their local cultures and the company they worked for was by conducting companywide employee satisfaction surveys, and more importantly, taking the time to evaluate what was working and wasn’t working in particular regions.

These surveys helped Dow work with O.C. Tanner to create customized strategies that would thrive in local cultures around the globe but still be a part of one cohesive Dow recognition platform. By utilizing these surveys and adjusting their program accordingly, they saw program registered users increase from 60% to 84% in one year. In 2015 alone, there was a recognition moment every 3 minutes. And, the amount of employees engaged in their formal recognition program, Accelerate Great, increased 11% from 2014 to 2015 taking the global average to 84%.

“When employees feel validated and feel a part of the bigger picture, and a part of the strategy, we all work harder. We do more. We put more effort into everything we do and we do better work. That impacts the shareholders. That impacts corporate initiatives. That impacts the bottom line. It’s very good business sense to make sure that we have an engaged workforce.” Curtis Kesler, Recognition and Appreciation Program Manager.


According to Dow, once they understood their employees’ needs at a more human level, they were able to not only recognize, but recognize with purpose. By successfully understanding how to connect the head and the heart of their employees around the world they became a leading figure in the corporate culture arena.

The culture at Dow, when described by their own employees, is a culture of openness, innovation, diversity, team spirit, and growth. By focusing on the feedback they heard from their employees, they made the appropriate changes to their recognition program companywide. Once their new program was implemented, they sustained its progress by continually appreciating great work, great employees, and recognizing when something great was achieved within their company.

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