Here’s Why Recognition Is The Key To Employee Engagement

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Everyone wants to go home feeling like they did a good job, that they were valued, that their input mattered, and it was appreciated.

However, according to a Gallup, only 1/3 people felt strongly that their efforts were appreciated or had received praise in the last seven days.

What is interesting about that number, is that it is very similar to the percentage of company employees that are engaged.

Coincidence? No, I don’t think so either.

Employee recognition is directly tied to employee engagement.

The two-thirds of the employees, who said they hadn’t received any recognition in the last seven days, they were twice as likely to say they would leave the company as the other workers when asked.

Who would be happy to continue doing a good job for a company who never appreciated them, I know I wouldn’t, and I can say that from experience.

At one firm where I worked, I managed to turn around a project that was failing and costing the company a small fortune to deliver. It was a fixed price project where the previous manager had completely underestimated the scope and scale of the work involved, by up to 200% in some areas.

I took over the project and managed to deliver it, at a much lower loss than was expected. However, my boss never once offered any praise to either myself, or the team involved. He constantly criticized the cost overruns that had been caused by the previous manager, and our efforts were largely ignored. We never expected any bonus or reward for delivering the project, but a ‘well done’ or a ‘thank you’ would have been most welcome.

We all understood the situation the company was in, and many of us worked extra hours to try and save the situation and the company money. But all we got was complaints.

Instead of the team being happy to complete the project, many of the team were frustrated, demotivated and started to look for work elsewhere.

Recognition costs nothing, yet its return can be significant.

It encourages people to do a good job again; it boosts engagement, and engaged companies outperform non-engaged companies by 167%.

In situations where markets are tough, and there is little to differentiate between companies, employee engagement can bring tremendous benefits. It helps boost efficiency, effectiveness, and creativity and these can be the difference between a company thriving or just surviving.

Everyone wants to be recognized, but it needs to be done in the right way.

The approach that I use with my teams is the PRAISE model:

Specific, and

When you include these elements, the praise is always well received, and will look to foster engagement and increase motivation.

Interestingly, where the praise comes from also have a big impact on its effectiveness too.

When asked about their most memorable praise, 10% said it came from peers, while a similar number said from it came from the customer.

Not too surprisingly, praise from the CEO was well received with 24% claiming that to be their best recognition.

However, it was praise from their direct manager which was most effective with 28% remember it as the most memorable.

As leaders, we should look to provide positive feedback wherever we can, if we want to boost engagement. And if we can combine that with recognition from senior management then we will be able to have a significant impact on engagement and bottom line results.

Recognition costs us nothing, but it can generate significant returns.