Why Employee Recognition Matters Now More Than Ever

Employee recognition is not just a feel-good practice; it has tangible benefits for both employees and organizations. When employees are recognized for their hard work and contributions, it boosts their self-esteem and motivates them to continue performing at their best. A simple “good job” or a nod of appreciation can go a long way. Sadly,  more than 3/4 of employees have gone a whole year without any form of recognition in the workplace.

In this blog, we will discuss the 4 reasons that clearly prove that employee recognition matters now more than ever. As well as touch upon some best practices for giving employees the recognition and appreciation they deserve.

4 reasons why employee recognition matters now more than ever

“Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human beings is psychological survival: to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated. 

The need to be recognized.”

Dispersed workforce

According to Upwork, by 2025, an estimated 32.6 million Americans will be working remotely, which equates to about 22% of the workforce. One thing is certain - our workforces are becoming more dispersed, with some employees working fully remote, while others are fully on-site, as well as hybrid arrangements between working on- and off-site.

Recent research highlights that around 64 % of employees emphasize that appreciation and recognition is more important, specifically  when physical proximity is lacking. As face-to-face interactions are limited in a dispersed workforce, showing gratitude through digital channels and/or implementing recognition programs becomes an essential way to establish a positive work culture, as well as maintain employee motivation and engagement high. Which brings us to the next point.

Recruitment & retention in a competitive job market

The great resignation, quiet quitting, war for talent, shortage of talent…the struggles faced by organizations when it comes to seeking & retaining talent seem to be never ending. What role does employee appreciation and recognition play when it comes to battling these challenges?

A shocking 65% of employees haven't received any form of recognition in the past year. This lack of acknowledgment has a direct impact on employee morale, job satisfaction, and ultimately, an organization's ability to retain its workforce. The result? An average of 46% of US employees leaving their jobs as a result of feeling under-appreciated for their work.

The impact of employee recognition on recruitment and retention is clear:

  • Prioritizing and actively expressing appreciation for employees will lead to a more positive employer brand, thus making talent more eager to work at the organization.
  • Organizations that prioritize and express appreciation for their employees are more likely to attract top talent.
  • Employee recognition reduces job turnover by increasing overall job satisfaction and employee morale.
  • Recognition allows to foster a workplace culture that is positive, resulting in improved employee loyalty and commitment.
  • If employees feel acknowledged and appreciated for their contributions, they will undoubtedly be more engaged with their work and more productive.

Multigenerational workforce

From the silent generation, baby boomers, Gen X, millennials and Gen Z - the generational differences when it comes to recognition and appreciation in the workplace are more prominent than ever before.

What is interesting is that the changing needs of US employees include a growing desire, particularly among younger workers, for meaningful recognition in addition to financial compensation.  Younger employees, in particular, thrive on frequent and consistent recognition, a stark contrast to the traditional annual review system. Feeling valued for their unique contributions is crucial, as they are more likely to remain committed to an organization that meets these needs. Failure to provide adequate recognition may lead younger employees to consider leaving for workplaces that prioritize acknowledging their contributions and individual value. 

Older workers exhibit different preferences regarding the frequency of recognition compared to their younger counterparts.

Work-related stress is on the rise and so is absenteeism caused by it

With 83% of US workers suffering from work-related stress and an estimated 12 billion working days are lost every year as a result of mental health-related absence.

At a cost of US$ 1 trillion per year in lost productivity according to WHO.
It's time to act.

Cost of work related stress (2)Recognizing and appreciating employees at work is super important, especially in situations when people are or might be feeling stressed out, and lacking motivation.

When the work and contributions of employees is acknowledged, we create a positive and supportive environment, making work less stressful. Showing appreciation regularly not only leads to a boost in motivation and engagement, but also improves the overall well-being of employees. 

Plus, when there's a culture of recognizing efforts, we foster a workplace environment where everyone feels and can do their best. A simple “thanks” and giving credit for good work can go a long way when it comes to keeping employees happy and motivated.

Best practices for employee recognition in the workplace

Now that we have touched upon a few of the most crucial reasons as to why employee recognition matters more than ever, it’s time to shift that focus on creating a successful employee recognition program. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Regularly acknowledge and praise your team members for their hard work.
  2. Make it personal. Find out what each employee likes and tailor your acknowledgment to their preferences - perhaps Sarah prefers a private message rather than a public shoutout.
  3. Share and celebrate successes openly within the team or company, whether it be reaching individual milestones, team or company related ones.
  4. Motivate employees to recognize and appreciate each other's contributions. For example, you can create a dedicated channel on your messaging app for shout-outs, allowing team members to publicly recognize and appreciate their colleagues for their efforts.
  5. Think about giving small rewards or incentives to show gratitude for your employees' efforts. For example gift cards, a paid afternoon off, or a team lunch to show gratitude for going above and beyond.f
  6. Create an attractive employee recognition strategy that lasts and keeps motivating employees in the long run.

How an employee app can help with employee recognition & appreciation

Employee apps, such as Speakap, provide an efficient way to recognize and appreciate frontline employees. These user-friendly mobile solutions ensure accessibility for all employees, regardless of their tech proficiency. Whether it's a quick confidence boost for a junior staff member or a reminder of value for an experienced contributor, the app ensures equal opportunities for recognition.