Why All Employees Need Recognition To Feel Valued

Employee monitoring

Why All Employees Need Recognition To Feel Valued

Employees are without doubt the backbone of any successful organization, but all too often they’re left feeling overlooked and undervalued by employers who fail to recognize their importance. The result? A lack of motivation, poor morale, high turnover rates, and ultimately diminished performance and productivity. 

In what continues to be a candidate-led employment market—and with remote and hybrid working becoming increasingly commonplace — it’s never been more important to recognize the value of employees. By offering consistent and meaningful recognition, businesses can increase employee engagement, boost loyalty, and ultimately be more productive. 

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In this article, we’ll explore the key reasons why employee recognition is crucial and how it can benefit both employees and organizations.

It increases engagement

Research by Quantum Workplace shows that employees are likely to be almost three times more engaged if they believe they’ll be recognized for the work they do, and maintaining employee engagement is important for several reasons: it boosts productivity, increases retention, creates better relationships, and establishes a more positive work environment. 

How can you tell if your employees are engaged in their roles? Well, here are some examples that suggest a highly-engaged employee: 

  • They’re proactive. Engaged employees take the initiative to improve processes, suggest new ideas, and take ownership of tasks without necessarily being instructed to do so.
  • They’re invested in their company’s success. Engaged employees have a vested interest in the company’s success and take pride in their contributions to achieving company goals.
  • They’re committed to personal growth. Engaged employees are committed to their own growth and development, seeking out new challenges and opportunities to learn and improve their skills.
  • They have positive relationships with co-workers. Engaged employees tend to get on well with their co-workers, working collaboratively to achieve common goals and providing support to their colleagues when needed.

Engagement and recognition are intrinsically-linked, because an employee whose contributions and accomplishments are frequently recognized will inevitably feel that their role is more fulfilling, increasing their sense of commitment to the organization. Employees who lack consistent recognition, however, are likely to disengage, feeling that they owe the company little more than their bare minimum.

It boosts motivation

Think of your employees as highly-trained, physically-honed athletes: without the promise of a medal or a team trophy at the end of a hard-fought competition, what’s motivating them? What’s the value in training hard and giving them all if their accomplishments don’t warrant recognition or reward? Serena Williams’ warrior-like determination may be innate, but it’s likely emboldened by the prospect of holding a glimmering trophy on the pronouncement of ‘game, set and match’.

Your employees are much the same in this regard. While motivation, in many ways, comes from within (it’s hard to motivate someone who just doesn’t have it in them to care), recognition and reward are vital in giving employees a reason to keep caring. If you’re not offering these, you may find that employee motivation wanes, ultimately leading to dips in productivity and performance. On the other hand, frequent and meaningful recognition means your employees will be more motivated to engage in ‘deep work’. 

It contributes to a positive culture

Your company culture refers to the shared set of values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that you embody as a business — and crucially as an employer. And why is it important? Well, your company culture dictates everything from the strength of your internal relationships to the sense of inclusiveness that permeates your workplace, and having a positive culture is conducive to high levels of employee satisfaction, motivation, engagement, and productivity. 

For an agency such as Seeker Digital, for example — who recently published a blog post on the importance of employee appreciation — the role of tangible benefits and rewards in creating a positive, employee-first culture cannot be overlooked, particularly as they operate a hybrid model where it can be easy for employees to feel sidelined or siloed. 

In reality, recognition is a culture all in itself: by building a culture where employees feel acknowledged and appreciated for the work they do, you ultimately create a happier, more harmonious workplace, where your teams feel motivated to deliver their best work while supporting and collaborating with others to reach common goals. A lack of recognition is only likely to lead to resentment and disconnection, where relationships between employees and their line managers are particularly affected. 

It can increase retention

On average, businesses lose about 18% of their workforce each year to employee turnover. Now, employees can decide to leave a role for a variety of reasons, of course — they may simply have found a more exciting opportunity elsewhere, or there may be lifestyle factors behind their decision, such as relocation — but whatever the reason, you’re likely to experience a higher-than-normal turnover rate if you fail to consistently show your employees that you value them.

Conversely, a strong employee recognition program can help to boost retention by almost a third, with employees more likely to forge a strong, long-lasting connection to a business that values their contributions and demonstrates that through rewarding hard work and high performance. Any employee will feel far more inclined to stick around if they expect their accomplishments to be recognized, while one who feels overlooked or unappreciated is likely to start looking for an alternative employment opportunity. 

Tips for providing recognition to make employees feel valued

Make it timely

Don’t wait for your scheduled performance reviews to provide recognition — in many businesses, these occur quarterly, bi-annually, or sometimes even less frequently, and this may simply not be frequent enough if you want to maintain employee engagement and motivation. Instead, recognize your employees’ accomplishments as close to the event as possible, either through introducing a weekly or monthly recognition program or just doing it as and when it’s warranted. 

Keep it fair

Of course, it’s important that recognition is available to all employees, regardless of their role, department, or level of seniority. If certain teams or individuals feel that they’re excluded from being rewarded for their contributions — or that certain team members are continually being recognized over them — you risk creating a culture of resentment, which will lead to employees feeling demotivated and disengaged. 

Don’t neglect those ‘behind the scenes’

While the type of achievements you recognize will likely depend on the nature of your business — a recruitment agency like Hays may typically reward individuals who’ve filled the most open positions, for example — remember that there are many different ways an employee can go above and beyond. For instance, instead of always rewarding the top ‘performers’, think about those who have delivered value through less obvious means — those in customer service or IT support, for example.

Consider individual preferences

As a manager, it’s important to understand that each of your employees has different personalities and preferences, and this might mean they prefer to be recognized in different ways. While some may appreciate the limelight, for example (and therefore a company-wide shout-out will be appreciated), others may feel less comfortable with this level of attention and may prefer to be recognized in a less public way (in a smaller team meeting or one-on-one setting, for instance). 

Show gratitude

A simple thank you shouldn’t be underestimated. While significant, above-and-beyond-type accomplishments merit more official recognition, don’t forget to thank your employees for the hard work they do from time to time. Maybe they’ve impressed you by delivering an enlightening presentation, or they’ve put in a few extra hours to support with a project — either way, a little “thank you” or a “well done” can go a long way.