The Importance of Employee Recognition: Statistics and Research

the importance of employee recognitionWe’re all familiar with the benefits of employee recognition. When employees feel valued, they’re more engaged, motivated, and likely to go the extra mile for their company. But despite knowing the impact it can have on employee and business success, some companies still completely fail at employee recognition.

Organizations with formal recognition programs have 31% less voluntary turnover than organizations that don't have any program at all. And they're 12x more likely to have strong business outcomes.

Employee recognition is important to employee, team, and business success—but do you know what motivates employees and why recognition is important to your organization's success?


Check out the latest research on employee recognition: Download our  ebook—Recognition in the Workplace.


This article will cover the importance of employee recognition, plus:

  • The connection between employee recognition and engagement
  • 8 employee recognition statistics


The connection between employee recognition and engagement


Aspects such as performance, goals, recognition, development, and manager effectiveness are all inextricably linked to
employee engagement. And recognition is one of the top drivers of employee engagement.

In fact, our research found that when employees believe they will be recognized, they are 2.7x more likely to be highly engaged.

Other items related to recognition that drive employee engagement, include:

  • The senior leaders of this organization value people as their most important resource.
  • If I contribute to the organization’s success, I know I will be recognized.
  • I understand how my job helps the organization achieve success.


Benefits of employee recognition

Employee appreciation is a fundamental human need. When employees feel appreciated and recognized for their individual contributions they will be more connected to their work, their team, and your organization as a whole.

Here are a few other benefits of employee recognition:

  • Increased productivity and engagement
  • Decreased employee turnover
  • Greater employee satisfaction and enjoyment of work
  • Improved team culture
  • Higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers
  • Increased retention of quality employees
  • Decreased stress and absenteeism


8 employee recognition statistics


Employees want to feel valued at work. They want recognition for their contributions to team and organizational success. While extremely important, recognition isn't only about making employees more engaged and feeling good about their job. It can be a differentiator for organizations in their employee value proposition and can affect an employee’s intent to stay at an organization.

Here, we look at 8 statistics that demonstrate the importance of employee recognition on employee, team, and business success.


1. The #1 reason most people leave their jobs is a lack of recognition.

Source: Gallup

Don’t miss an opportunity to recognize your employees. Celebrate employee accomplishments and progress throughout the employee cycle to demonstrate your investment in their career growth and success. Regular, frequent recognition shows you want to help keep them motivated to hit future milestones.

Pro Tip: Authentically recognize employees in real-time.


2. Organizations with recognition programs had 31% lower voluntary turnover than those without.

Source: Bersin by Deloitte

If your organization doesn't have a formal recognition program, there are a few ways to start. Use your one-on-one meetings or employee surveys to find out if your employees feel valued and how you can improve your strategy. If you do, make sure employees know it exists and how they can take part.

Pro Tip: Continuously communicate to keep the program alive.


3. Organizations with recognition programs in place experience 28.6% lower frustration levels than those without.

Source: SHRM Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey

Recognition shouldn't only be about success and goal achievement. Having a strategic recognition program in place can help you easily celebrate the micro-moments along the way—such as quality work, taking on new tasks, or going above and beyond for their team.

Pro Tip: Recognize the employee behaviors you want to encourage.


4. 52.5% of employees want more recognition from their immediate manager.

Source: Recognition in the Workplace, Quantum Workplace and BambooHR

Recognition should be public and available to all employees—especially managers. Employees want to know what they are doing well, how they can improve, and what support they have available to them. Public recognition gives managers visibility into how often their employees are giving and receiving recognition to impact their engagement individually.

Pro Tip: Make recognition public and easy to give.


5. Organizations with sophisticated recognition programs are 12x more likely to have strong business outcomes.

Source: Bersin by Deloitte

Recognition should be incorporated within one-on-ones, feedback, and talent reviews. Including recognition in frequent performance conversations helps solidifies the importance of employee recognition in your culture and organization. When employees understand how their contributions impact the business (and are recognized for it) they'll be more likely to contribute again.

Pro Tip: Give recognition in the context of a larger goal or business outcome.


6. 4 in 10 respondents (41%) want more recognition from their immediate coworkers.

Source: Recognition in the Workplace, Quantum Workplace and BambooHR

Recognition from immediate managers is key—but so is recognition from peers and coworkers. Give your team members plenty of opportunities to encourage each other and show appreciation. Peers often have more insight into employee effort and morale than senior leaders.

Pro Tip: Treat employees as valued team members, not as numbers.


7. Recognition for work is one of the top drivers of candidate attraction.

Source: Willis Towers Watson

If your company is hiring, recognition might just be the key to attracting top talent. If you don't have a recognition program, make sure you're at least getting creative about showing appreciation. Generic and inauthentic recognition strategies can have a negative effect on the employee experience.

Pro Tip: Match effort and results, or else recognition loses meaning.


8. When companies spend 1% or more of payroll on recognition, 85% notice a positive impact on engagement.

Source: SHRM Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey

Awards, compensation, and incentives are good appreciation ideas, but make sure they aren't your only outlet for recognizing employees. Consider an investment in user-friendly employee recognition software to make every aspect of your employee recognition more efficient, more accessible, and more personable.

Pro Tip: Choose the right employee recognition platform.



Do you believe in the importance of employee recognition? Are you ready to reap the benefits? Download our research on Recognition in the Workplace for breakthrough secrets and stats.

Recognition in the Workplace