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Recognition Is a Key Factor for Employee Engagement and Well-Being

Workhuman-Gallup Research Finds Positive Correlation and Cost Savings with Strong Recognition Programs

Recent data collected by Workhuman and Gallup indicates that even with the demonstrated cost savings and value to company culture of implementing an employee recognition program, many companies are lagging in their focus on recognition, or are not providing the type of recognition employees need.

Recognition is an important and sometimes overlooked factor in job satisfaction and engagement, having not only an impact on work performance, attrition rates, and turnover costs, but also overall viewpoint on life, well-being, and the feeling of connectedness an employee has with its employer.

Dash Research recently spoke with Grant Beckett, SVP Corporate Strategy at Workhuman about the importance of recognition and where it fits into the employee experience landscape. According to Beckett, “Our bread and butter at Workhuman has always been recognition, and we have long known that when employees are recognized there will be lower attrition and increased engagement.”  

Beckett continues, “The biggest thing here is socially building up a culture of what ‘good’ looks like. Allowing employees to communicate the good they see in each other through recognition. This helps create a positive culture more than awards hanging on a wall.”

According to the research, more than half of employees surveyed say the recognition they are receiving at work does not feel authentic or equitable, and that they are actively looking for new jobs. Other research highlights include:

  • More than eight in 10 senior leaders (81%) say recognition is a not major strategic priority for their organization. More than one in 10 senior leaders do not know if their organization has an allocated budget for recognition.
  • Only about one third of employees say their employer has a formal recognition program
  • Two in five employees (40%) say they are not receiving enough recognition from leaders at their organization—only a few times a year at most.
  • A 10,000-person organization with an already engaged workforce can save up to $16.1 million annually by making recognition an important part of its culture.

Recognition must feel authentic, equitable and personal. Employees not receiving the right type of recognition are two or more times as likely to say they do not plan to be employed at the same organization in one year. When done correctly and part of the company culture, the benefits are many.

Source: Workhuman/Gallup

“The Gallup data clearly show that when recognition is truly embedded in workplace culture, people feel its full impact — they feel seen and valued, motivated to put in a little extra, and supported to reach their full potential,” says Chris French, Workhuman EVP. “In today’s world of distributed and hybrid work, keeping employees connected and engaged is a major business priority. By implementing and nurturing a strong and strategic recognition program, many problems organizations face could be overcome. Recognition is no longer a nice-to-have program, but rather a business imperative.”

Even something as seemingly simple as recognizing life events can have multiplicative effects on positive employee experience. Only 15% of employees strongly agree their organization recognizes people for life events such as birthdays, weddings, and other personal events.

“Employee experience is not something that is transactional,” says Grant Beckett. “When an employee has a life milestone, there are many transactional HR functions that need to occur. For an example, if an employee has a baby, there is benefits administration, leave paperwork, training for a temporary replacement, etc. While these operational actions are important to an employee, its not an experience, it’s a transaction. The Workhuman solution enables companies to create experiences through acknowledgement, recognition, and celebration of life milestones.”Service milestones can be celebrated via the platform as well, with onboarding, transfers and promotion being socially celebrating with personalized messages, images, videos, etc.

There are many technologies supporting employee experience, either directly or indirectly, but not all of them pass the “what’s in it for the employee test.” Technologies providing straightforward ways to build company culture, as well as foster well-being and meaningful connection will be important ones as new remote/hybrid models continue to evolve and companies fight to retain their workforce.

Author Information

As a detail-oriented researcher, Sherril is expert at discovering, gathering and compiling industry and market data to create clear, actionable market and competitive intelligence. With deep experience in market analysis and segmentation she is a consummate collaborator with strong communication skills adept at supporting and forming relationships with cross-functional teams in all levels of organizations.

She brings more than 20 years of experience in technology research and marketing; prior to her current role, she was a Research Analyst at Omdia, authoring market and ecosystem reports on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and User Interface technologies. Sherril was previously Manager of Market Research at Intrado Life and Safety, providing competitive analysis and intelligence, business development support, and analyst relations.

Sherril holds a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from University of Colorado, Boulder and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University.

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