Employee productivity is an ongoing concern for organizations around the world. Managers, CEOs, and HR executives
are constantly looking for ways and means of driving effective performance while improving levels of
engagement. You can invest in all the expensive and complex schemes you like and update each and every workplace
process, but before you get carried away, you should ask one simple question: how much attention are you
really paying to your employees?
We spend a great deal of our time at work. It forms a great deal of our identity and, for most of us, we genuinely
care about the work we do and how we do it. For reasons such as these, it’s difficult and demoralizing when we
feel we’re being ignored at work. When our efforts aren’t being acknowledged or appreciated, or our attempts to
progress up the corporate ladder are met with indifference. This can be terribly detrimental in terms of morale,
which has a huge impact on a company’s bottom line.
It’s important to keep the spirit of employee appreciation alive and well, reminding employers that recognition
should be something that is prioritized each and every day of the year. Every executive and business leader should
be aware of the importance of employee recognition, the dangers of ignoring employees, and how technology
can help businesses appreciate their hard-working workforce.
What is employee recognition?
Recognition is very different from incentives and rewards. Employee recognition doesn’t necessitate any money at
all — it is simply the acknowledgment of a job well done. It’s about giving employees the respect and appreciation
they deserve, which is something we can all do for free. That being said, it’s a key tool when it comes to employee
retention and engagement, as well as being a basic human need.
Why is employee recognition important?
Employee recognition is important simply due to the fact that it is what employees want — and need. In fact,
the average employee prefers employee recognition to financial incentives and extrinsic motivators, with 60% of
millennials claiming that the simple act of recognition is enough to keep them engaged.
Further to this, a lack of appreciation is certainly significant enough to prompt employees to jump ship. One
source suggests that 66% of employees would quit their job if they felt underappreciated. This percentage
jumps to 76% among millennial employees, meaning employee recognition isn’t simply a soft HR concept — it’s
something we need to take seriously.
If you need further convincing, it has been shown that employee appreciation is critical in terms of employee
recognition and engagement. It also has the ability to help forge a unique and dedicated company culture, while
strengthening employee relationships. Praise and recognition are fundamental human needs, which can be seen
by looking at our neurology. When we are appreciated, dopamine (the reward transmitter) is released and we are
fueled by feelings of satisfaction and gratitude. This causes us to want to work even harder in order to feel that
same rush of positivity. This results in a rise in productivity and increased motivation within a business.
Why is employee recognition an ongoing problem for employers?
While we might have science on our side when it comes to building a case for employee recognition, the everyday
reality is that managers aren’t always able to fulfill their part of the bargain. This might be due to limited time
or the fact that it hasn’t been solidified as part of the company’s culture, meaning it simply isn’t a priority. We can
observe this by looking to one source, which claims that while 44% of employers agree that employee recognition
is important, only 10% of companies do anything to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day.
The extent of the problem can be seen in other studies and surveys. According to Gallup, only one-third of all
employees felt that their efforts had been appreciated in the past week. The two-thirds of employees who hadn’t
received any recognition in the past seven days were twice as likely to leave the company as those who were given
recognition. To further drive the point home, research from Deloitte reached the conclusion that companies with
a highly effective recognition program had 31% lower voluntary turnover when compared to companies with an
ineffective program. This is a huge concern, given massive expense and productivity losses associated with high
Employee recognition all boils down to company culture and communication.
If you want to reap the benefits of employee recognition, you need to take steps to ensure it is an important part
of your employee performance management system, your organizational values, and your company culture. This
isn’t going to happen overnight, but it’s necessary to take strides today and start as you mean to go on.
In large part, employee recognition is all about authentic and timely communication. As we know, regular checkins
are one of the biggest workplace trends of 2018. Annual appraisals are now an old-fashioned and redundant
concept. They are being replaced by frequent performance discussions that allow employee and manager to
discuss expectations, objectives and — importantly — achievements. Such regular catch-ups are a great opportunity
to let an employee know how they are progressing, to thank them for their effort and to let them know how
important their efforts are to overall company goals. Remember: recognition should be timely, specific, sincere, and
positive . This will ultimately result in an employee who feels like a valued part of a team, making them all the more
likely to want to work hard to surpass expectations.
How software can facilitate employee recognition.
With the rapid evolution of modern technology, it has never been easier to deliver employee recognition. Effective
communication and great technology are a winning combination and one which businesses need to make full
use of. There are various team collaboration tools that can be used in order to promote more authentic communication
between employees and managers. On top of this, performance management software has been shown
to be a great tool in terms of improving communication and boosting levels of employee recognition .
Technology can help in a great number of ways, but it is simply a tool to be utilized. Ultimately, recognition and
communication comes down to human interaction and effort. Companies need to make the time to prioritize this
area, knowing that in the end, it will result in a happier, more engaged, and more productive workforce that will
drive forward the company’s bottom line.