Employee Recognition Matters: Here’s How to Champion It Authentically
Updated: Dec 30, 2022
No one likes feeling unseen and unappreciated at work. This is especially when we’ve clocked in the majority of our waking hours at the office. Yet, a Gallup study found that only one-third of employees received some form of recognition in the past seven days (1). Not only that, but the study also reported that underappreciated workers are two times more likely to quit.
Evidently, genuine and regular employee recognition has a significant impact on both employee wellbeing and overall organizational performance. So how can managers and leaders promote a recognition-rich environment?
Why Employee Recognition Matters
It’s a no brainer that an employee’s wellbeing affects their performance and motivation. Therefore, employers bear the onus of uplifting their teams on a regular basis, and more so during challenging times. And employee recognition serves as a fantastic way of doing so, here’s why:
When an employer recognises both life events and work milestones, employees are 3x more likely to strongly agree that their organisation cares about their wellbeing (1).
Boosts workplace culture
Recognizing and celebrating employees’ creates a culture of gratitude and positive human connection.
According to organizational psychologists Adam Grant and Francesca Gino, when people receive gratitude from their manager, they’re more efficient and happier at work (2).
Appreciation is cheaper than churn. Underappreciated employees are disengaged ones. They’re more likely to perform at lower levels, burn out, and quit their jobs.
A Guide to Authentic Employee Recognition
Recognition and appreciation are universal human needs. Therefore, routinely celebrating our teams’ efforts is more than a nice-to-have. And here’s how employers can do so in an authentic, genuine, and equitable way.
Make it regular
Consistent check-ins and interactions create valuable touch points for both you and your employees. Whether it’s a monthly 1:1, a weekly shout-out, or a daily “good morning”, these practices help people feel seen.
Doing so also keeps the door open for employees to talk about what they’re working on or any blockers they may be facing. All of which help you stay in the loop with how the team is doing.
Invest in their growth
A Deloitte study reveals that the most valued type of recognition is a new growth opportunity (3). Employees appreciate it when managers spend time highlighting potential while providing resources or guidance on how to expand further. Career development support may include reimbursement for courses, access to conferences, and equipment upgrades.
Even with budget limitations, employers can still provide personalized support by providing mentorship, introducing them to industry professionals, and offering them projects they feel inspired to lead.
Create fair raise and promotion structures
Remember, people have bills to pay. If your employees are unfairly compensated, all the recognition in the world won’t work. So, make sure that people are earning as per their market rate. And set clear metrics and milestones for reaching the next level.
If money is tight, reason it out and consider other alternatives. Look into stock options, additional paid time off, work-from-home days, and/or insurance coverage.
Acknowledge life beyond work
Your employees are more than cogs in a machine. They’re people with feelings, families, hobbies and a need for connection. Giving them breathing space to handle non-work matters can ease a great deal of stress. This may look like flex-time policies for people to settle responsibilities at home or other commitments.
Facilitating workplace camaraderie is also a great way to help people feel appreciated on a team-level. Regular group luncheons and team trips help humanise the entire organisation and nurture inter-team appreciation.
Organisational leaders who champion employee recognition will witness their teams radiate from the inside out. We need genuine human-centric practices and policies that acknowledge people’s efforts. Only then can we help both our teams and our business make the world a better and more meaningful place.
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