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The importance of employee recognition

How recognizing your employees strengthens company culture and commitment

Apr. 11, 2019 | By Jemia Young

Employees sitting together and clapping at the recognition of their colleagues

You’re working hard and crossing items off your to-do list. Not only that, but you recently saved up enough to buy your dream car—you’re killing it! You’re good at what you do and you’re efficient, yet you feel like your professional and personal accomplishments are completely overlooked. How does that happen? Does your manager even notice or value you? We’ve all been there.

Being recognized and feeling valued at work doesn’t just give employees the warm fuzzies—it’s an organizational game changer. Those who are starting to burn out or feel a lack of motivation spark up and work harder when they feel appreciated. If your people are getting recognized on a more consistent basis, there’s oomph, drive and determination to do more.

Telling someone that they are doing a good job, making a difference or adding value is one of the easiest ways a leader can encourage and reinforce positive behavior. It doesn’t cost you a penny and what you get in return are employees that feel appreciated, seen and valued.

– Michelle Webb, Executive Director of Employee Experience at TEKsystems

Recognized employees are fulfilled

Effective employee recognition provides a sense of accomplishment, motivation and value to the employee and organization as a whole. It not only increases individual employee engagement and satisfaction, but it also increases productivity and loyalty to the company, leading to higher retention.

Happy employees, happy life

Let’s cut to the chase—happy employees are productive and successful. According to Eric Mosley, CEO and co-founder of Workhuman,

54% of employees who receive 3 or more awards show a year-over-year increase on their performance rating.

When employees are consistently recognized for the work they do inside and outside of the organization, they’re happy, and that enhances productivity, company loyalty and collaboration.

Recognition manifests retention

The ability for an organization to retain its employees is invaluable. Employee recognition is an extremely cost-effective strategy to keep your retention high. Through simple, low-cost (even free) methods, you’ll keep your highest performing pros happy and looking to achieve more. According to Workhuman, on average, an annual rate of seven to 10 recognition moments is correlated with two times lower changes of voluntary turnover.

Recognition strengthens your culture

The act of recognition also demonstrates to other employees what success looks like. Recognition is both a tool for personal reward and an opportunity to reinforce desired culture and core values to other employees.

Creating an inclusive culture

Recognition goes a step further when you consider how it affects women and minorities in the workplace. According to the McKinsey 2018 Women in the Workplace study, women are more likely than men to report they never have substantive interactions with senior leaders about their work. They’re also more likely to say they never have informal interactions with senior leaders, such as casual conversations or lunch meetings. Because senior leaders are often the ones to create opportunities and open doors, this lack of access puts women at a disadvantage. Recognition bridges the gap between employees and managers at work and helps to increase the engagement between women and senior leaders.

McKinsey also acknowledges the “only” experience within a workplace culture—that being the “only” in the room (i.e., gender, person of color) impacts motivation and a sense of belonging. If consistent recognition is shown to “onlys,” it helps foster an inclusive culture. All employees like to be recognized and appreciated for the work they do for their employers. Recognition leads to greater engagement, less attrition and builds high-performing teams.

Jemia has been a part of the TEKsystems team since 2013. She has held various roles, but her current role on the Inclusion & Diversity team is by far her favorite. Jemia focuses on building the TEKsystems brand across our local and national partners and continues to lead the strategy around attraction and retention of diverse talent.