Numbers Don’t Lie: It Pays to Invest in Employee Recognition

It’s that time of year again when we pause to give thanks for one thing or another; friends, family, and good health often top the list. But when was the last time you shared gratitude for your employees?

Recognizing staff contributions is easy yet often forgotten — what with only one in three workers saying they receive praise at work. If you’ve been falling short with employee recognition, you may want to start weaving it into the feedback you provide on their performance.

After all, regular recognition can be beneficial to the workplace in a number of ways:

1. Recognition Improves Trust

Trust is a fundamental building block of any good relationship. But its implications on the employer-employee bond can be crucial. It doesn’t just impact employee confidence in your leadership ability. It also affects motivation, collaboration, and morale.
Though trust is hard won, something as simple as employee recognition can help build it. In fact, 86 percent of employees recognized within the last month said they trusted their boss, while only 53 percent of those with no recognition could say the same.

2. Recognition Improves Productivity

Think about the last time you were recognized for a job well done. It didn’t just make you feel good but probably inspired you to do even more. In other words, recognition drove your productivity, so why wouldn’t it do the same for your employees? 

Research shows that recognition motivates 82 percent of workers, and 78 percent have said they’d actually work harder if their contributions were better recognized. Simply thanking staff for their efforts may just yield the result you’re looking for in your team.

3. Recognition Improves Retention

No one needs to tell you turnover is expensive. To replace an employee, you’ll pay anywhere from 16 to 20 percent of his or her salary. So imagine wasting all that money on recruiting and training new talent when a recognition program could’ve solved the problem.

Companies that improve employee engagement through recognition programs often experience 31 percent lower voluntary turnover than those with ineffective programs. And one of the most important elements of recognition appears to be specific feedback.

4. Recognition Improves Reputation

A common misconception among business leaders is that posting a job opening will inevitably lead to a deluge of resumes from top talent. Sure, you’ll get your fair share of applicants, but the caliber of candidates has a lot to do with your company’s reputation.

While many things contribute to your image, it almost always starts with how you treat staff. If you recognize their efforts, job satisfaction improves by as much as 85 percent. And this has the potential to not only improve retention but recruitment efforts. People, as they say, talk.

5. Recognition Improves Culture

Culture has always been important, but has recently become a hot topic. Part of this has to do with the fact that culture contributes to a company’s identity and values, which can help differentiate a business from others in the marketplace.

But an even larger factor is the future workforce. Millennials are driving most of the changes in the workplace, and they desire a strong company culture. It’s one of the deciding factors on whether they choose to work for one company over the next.

Though recognition won’t make your culture, it’ll have an effect on its development. If you recognize staff, they’ll be 35 percent more likely to say the culture is fun and enjoyable and 37 percent more likely to believe the company cares about them as a person.

When you recognize the efforts of those who work for you, and do it more than just at special events or work anniversaries, it has a ripple effect on all other facets of your business. So the next time someone does something good, drop a stone in that proverbial pond and say thanks. The person may just return the favor by working a little harder, trusting you a little more, and telling others about your business.


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