Jordan Rogers is the manager of research and measurement at O.C. Tanner, the world’s leading employee recognition and engagement company. He
helps research how appreciation impacts employees across the globe and what companies can do to ensure their employees are producers of great work.
By Jordan Rogers
The Importance of
Companies need to foster a culture in which employees celebrate together often
Many organizations understand that employee recognition is important, but most struggle to
actually implement a meaningful strategy
that makes their employees feel appreciated. This struggle is puzzling because
recognition doesn’t need to be complicated. It really is quite simple: On a frequent
basis, employees want to feel like someone
else notices and cares about their work
and sees the value their contributions
bring to the organization or team. And
they want their peers to celebrate suc-cesses with each other.
According to a global study conducted by
the O.C. Tanner Institute, organizations are
failing to recognize and appreciate employees frequently enough. The O.C. Tanner
Institute told respondents that recognition
can be something “as simple as having others acknowledge, notice, value, or care about
your work.” The Institute then asked how
often they gave and received recognition
over the past month. Among the findings:
29% of employees hadn’t given someone else recognition in the
33%of employees hadn’t received recognition from someone else
at work in the past month.
At these frequencies, most organizations
won’t see the ROI they are expecting from
their recognition programs, and it isn’t
because recognition doesn’t have a large
impact on employees. It’s because organizations aren’t providing the recognition
experiences employees need at frequent
intervals. Employees need praise for ongoing effort, results that matter, and loyalty
to the company.
More than just the types of recognition
employees receive, companies don’t do a
good job making recognition social. Many
organizations have falsely bought into the
idea that social recognition means something
similar to Facebook or some other social
media site where online social interaction is
all that matters. The same study asked how
often employees observe other people receiving recognition at their organization; 41 percent of employees said they hadn’t observed
someone else receiving recognition in the
past month ( 20 percent hadn’t observed recognition for over a year). Having two out of
every five employees report that they haven’t
observed others receiving recognition in the
past month doesn’t sound very social.
Ongoing effort should be recognized
weekly or even daily, great work should be
recognized, and loyalty should be recognized
on employee work anniversaries.
There are differences in how employees
want to receive praise
As with almost everything, there are differences in how individuals want to receive
praise at work. These dissimilarities span
many areas and include generation-specific
differences. Most notably, the study found
that the very act of giving others recognition has a much larger positive effect for
Millennials than it for other generations.
Millennials are the generation that values
recognition and social connection in the
workplace more than any other — and it
isn’t just on the receiving end. In fact, 80
percent of Millennials in the study indicated
that the act of giving someone else recognition makes them want to stay at their current organization, but only 57 percent of
Baby Boomers and 76 percent of Generation Xers said the same. It seems that creating a social recognition culture is an effective strategy for retaining the Millennial
group — a generation perceived as prone
to jumping ship and feeling entitled.
At its core, employee recognition is
the mechanism that organizations use to
signal to employees that they have accomplished something. There will always be
differences in individual preferences, but
there will also always be a fundamental
human need for recognition.