What Foreign Talents Can Expect About America’s Praiseworthy Culture

Coming to America, a foreign talent may wonder what the American corporate culture is like. Giving credit where it’s due is common in the States unlike in certain parts of Europe and Asia where the absence of criticism is praise enough. No one gives those compliments.

American companies like to acknowledge people for doing their job well, even if it’s part of their job description already. They simply believe that employees love being praised. 

For those in the receiving end, who also don’t know what to make of it or how to accept it gracefully, the list culled from Capterra provides some common and not-so common praises or praiseworthy gestures one simply needs to accept or recognize, even as a foreigner who may wonder why American companies bother to implement them: 

Open praise sharing: Employees may lavish praise on you publically. If some cultures think it’s not a virtue to do one’s job, in America, they think it’s good to motivate employees every now and then.

Breakroom snacks: This is too much for other cultures to consider, where the only breakroom snack offered is coffee. At Google’s offices in Mountain View, snacks are plentiful. There are many cereal flavors to choose from. The company goes beyond snacks and offers so many meals in many of its offices in San Jose. 

Wall of fame: The modern version of an “employee of the month” wall. This writer was a recipient of the Employee of the Year award in a company that only had 20+ employees. Yes, the honor even came with a plaque.

Siblinghood of the travelling trophy: Not easy to spot, but it’s been said that some companies do some kind of peer-to-peer recognition, where a trophy (be it serious or silly) is bestowed by employees to one another for jobs well done. Each recipient keeps the trophy until they see someone else who deserves it.

Pet days: Never-heard-of in other parts of the world, but a pet day in America is common. Yes, it’s common for employees worldwide to have casual Fridays or a “civilian day.” This simply means an employee is allowed to wear something other than their business attire. Shorts? Yes.

Sweets: Nobody will ever complain about cookies, cupcakes, or donuts in the office kitchen or common room, except for those in a diet. In some cases, the reception area carries loads of chocolates as if it’s in a Halloween trick-or-treat party.

Work from home days: Ah, yes. It’s a perk that companies like to offer these days. Home days is one of the biggest perks for employees raising families and maintaining a busy household. 

Company-facing praise: Employers spread their love via the company newsletter, mass emails, or regular all-hands meetings. Sometimes they go as far as extend their praise to employees on the company website or give them a shout-out in a meeting in front of their superiors, or on the company’s social media.

Mug full of treats: One leaves for lunch and comes back to work with a company-branded coffee cup that is full of little snacks and sweets as well as a thank-you note. 

Lunch with the boss: Does anyone relish the idea of sharing a meal with the boss? Some feel uncomfortable doing this, but it’s a good little interaction that emits a positive vibe to the boss and employee.

Commuting assistance: A gift certificate for a tank of gas or a topped-off Metrocard is a big help to people who deal with long commutes. Even better if a car service waits for those who are working late.

End-of-year party: It’s not just the US where this happens, it’s everywhere — and it’s also Christmas party. Nothing to see here.

Happy hours: This is also common but in the States, it’s not unusual to see this every day where there’s a beer station beside the coffeemaker. 

There are so many more where this list came from. The important thing is to understand that this praiseworthy culture extends to foreign talents making their mark in the States.