Employee Recognition is an Easy Win for Company Culture

You know what feels great pretty much any time? Being recognized for hard work. Recognition for a job well done is often a simple act, but it can have a surprisingly big impact on employees’ engagement—and work—going forward. In today’s market, where competition for the best talent is high, the employee experience is often an important component of company culture. And, in many companies, simple employee recognition is a tool that is very underutilized.

Retention can be a product of better recognition

A Gallup survey focused on this topic posits that company efforts to optimize the workplace would benefit from short and simple acts of employee recognition. According to the poll, only one in three US workers strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the previous week. Of course, not every employee deserves a pat on the back for opening the door for their manager, but as a management tool, positive feedback could probably be used a bit more:

This element of engagement and performance might be one of the greatest missed opportunities for leaders and managers. Workplace recognition motivates, provides a sense of accomplishment and makes employees feel valued for their work. Recognition not only boosts individual employee engagement, but it also has been found to increase productivity and loyalty to the company, leading to higher retention.

And retention is huge in today’s workplace. When employees can log onto sites like Glassdoor and research every company’s culture, keeping and developing talent is much more competitive. Recognition is a relatively inexpensive way to fight that. Gallup notes that, “employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.”

Manager recognition leaves lasting impressions

So how, then, do the best companies go about recognizing their employees? Employees surveyed rated public recognition or acknowledgement as the most memorable method of recognition that they could receive. Getting good feedback from direct managers is most impactful to employees, but that’s closely followed by a high-level leader or the CEO:

Nearly one-quarter [of respondents] said the most memorable recognition comes from a high-level leader or CEO. Employees will remember personal feedback from the CEO—even a small amount of time a high-ranking leader takes to show appreciation can yield a positive impression on an employee.

Now, the CEO doesn’t often cross paths with employees in every company, but when high-level leaders take just a few moments out of their day to understand and recognize what their teams have done, it makes a measurable difference. Verbal praise, while the most memorable, isn’t the only form of recognition that employees appreciate. Receiving awards, increased responsibility, and monetary rewards can all be effective ways for management to show top performing employees and teams that they are doing a great job.

Gallup concluded its article with a maxim that company leaders should take to heart, “Great managers know that they can never give too much recognition, as long as it’s honest and deserved.”

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