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Employee Recognition: The What, Why, and How

Recent research by Quantum Workplace has 3.3.18-Employee-Recognition-The-What-Why-and-Howuncovered that employee recognition is a top 5 driver of employee engagement.


But want to know something scary? Employers aren’t prioritizing recognition: Only 11.8% of survey respondents named employee recognition as a top people priority. In addition, only 36.8% said their organizations used employee recognition software.


Yikes. In a time when employers seem to be doing everything under the sun to drive the success of their organizations, they’re missing one of their biggest opportunities.


Get the ebook: Recognition in the Workplace


So what’s an employer to do? And why does employee recognition matter, anyway? Keep reading for the skinny on employee recognition.


What is Employee Recognition?

Employee recognition is the open acknowledgement and praise of employee behavior or achievement. It is used by organizations to express appreciation, motivate employees, and reinforce desired behavior.


Why is Employee Recognition Important?

There are many benefits of employee recognition, some large and some small, including:


Increased productivity: Employee recognition supercharges employee productivity. Humans have an innate need to be seen by and receive praise from others, and employee recognition does just that. Wouldn’t you work harder if you got an “’atta boy!” every time you completed a goal?


Increased engagement: Recognized employees are more engaged employees. When employees feel acknowledged and appreciated by their place of work, they are more likely to develop the mental and emotional connections needed to be engaged.


Decreased turnover: Research has shown time and time again that engaged employees are less likely to leave their employer. When your organization decreases turnover, they save the time and money it would have cost to find, hire, and train a new employee.


Improved company culture: Besides incentivizing achievement, employee recognition gives employers the ability to reinforce behaviors they find valuable. Recognition showcases the behaviors that make the organization successful. For example, recognizing an employee for cleaning the break room fridge signals to other employees that your organization values community responsibility.


How Should We Recognize Employees?

Follow these best practices when using employee recognition in your own organization:

Encourage social recognition: Any employee should be able to recognize another employee. The openness of such a program creates community in your office and increases visibility among teams and departments.

Use an employee recognition software: An employee recognition software is your best bet for implementing employee recognition that makes a difference. Recognition tech corrals employee praise into a structured, public program—which, in turn, means employees are more likely to recognize others.


Ask employees how they prefer to be recognized: If you’re really looking to motivate employees, do the simple thing: ask them how they prefer to be recognized. Each employee is different and so prefers a different form of recognition.


Recognize for achievement and behaviors: Many organizations fall into the trap of only recognizing employees for formal goal achievements—but recognition can do so much more. Recognizing behaviors that match company values reinforces those behaviors.


Separate recognition from rewards: Though rewards can work, real recognition (not flimsy plaques or cheap trinkets) is most likely to benefit the organization. Specific, authentic praise for a job well done is an unforgettable and momentous event.



Employees want and need more recognition—and denying that reality is only hurting your organization. To learn more about employee recognition and why it matters, download our ebook: Recognition in the Workplace.


Recognition in the Workplace


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