[New Research] A Manager's Recognition Matters

Recent research by Quantum Workplace6.14.18-New-Research-A-Manager's-Recognition-Matters examined the role of the manager in improving employee engagement. Looking at data from over 8,000 organizations and over half a million employees, the research found five key areas managers need to focus on to increase employee engagement. One of the most important? Recognizing employees. Read on to discover exactly what the numbers had to say.

Recognition Matters

The study found that recognition drives employee engagement; in fact, receiving recognition is a top 5 driver of employee engagement. Unfortunately, however, employees don’t feel good about how much recognition they’re receiving. The survey item “If I contribute to the organization’s success, I know I will be recognized,” ranks in the bottom 5 nationally for favorability, out of 30 total items.

Manager Recognition Matters

Who’s in the best position to solve this lack of recognition? Managers. In fact, employees put more importance on receiving recognition from their immediate manager or supervisor than from coworkers. 




But Managers are Failing

Since employees highly value manager recognition, you’d expect managers to respond in kind. However, the research found managers aren’t recognizing employees. Only 44% of employees receive thoughtful recognition from their immediate manager or supervisors, and almost a quarter of employees never or rarely receive any recognition from their managers.

So why is that? Why aren’t managers recognizing employees?

Managers Need Support

There are many factors at play when discussing the lack of recognition, but the data pointed to one clear cause: Organizations aren't encouraging or supporting manager recognition. Consider these stats:

  • Only 11.8% of organizations named employee recognition as a top people priority.
  • Only 36.8% of organizations said they use employee recognition software.

Simply put, organizations aren’t empowering managers to recognize employees.

So how do we solve for the lack of managers recognizing employees?

1) Educate your managers.

They may have no idea their words of praise are so important! Show them the stats above, and they won’t be able to deny the importance of recognition.

2) Lead by example.

If organizations aren’t making recognition a priority, you can bet that managers aren’t! Managers already have so much on their plates, there’s no way they’re devoting time to something the C-suite doesn’t seem to find important. So, if your organization does  want to champion recognition, make it obvious. Set the example at the executive level.

3) Provide easy ways to recognize.

This item involves two parts: resources and tools. First, you managers need ideas about what good recognition looks like — provide them with best practice content, curated idea lists, and info about what other teams are doing. Second, your managers need an easy way to fit recognition into their already busy schedules; that’s where an intuitive, lightweight employee recognition software comes in.



Manager recognition is a powerful thing – make sure your managers are taking this part of their jobs seriously. What are the other essential tasks that every manager must master? Download the rest of the research to see for yourself!


manager's role in employee engagement

Published June 14, 2018 | Written By Christina Thompson