Recognition is a powerful tool for workplace good. A well-designed recognition program can help drive an 11.1% increase in average employee performance. Employee productivity, performance, and engagement are 14% higher in organizations with recognition programs than in those without them. Just so we are on the same page, when we talk about "recognition," we mean "acknowledging a person or group of people for efforts or achievements that support their organization."
Consulting firm Korn Ferry describes recognition as a potent "low-cost, high impact" method to improve employee engagement. Notably, Korn Ferry calls out that "employee recognition needs to be done at all levels of the organization." Giving employee recognition uniformly—at all levels and in all areas—is a critical and often-overlooked aspect of this practice.
In many companies, you are more likely to see open recognition of employee and team achievements in some areas than others. Sales departments in the United States have long had a culture where leaders recognize excellent performance, which fits well with typical incentive and commission programs. It's also common to see upper leadership give praise and affirmation to middle leaders when their teams do well and achieve goals. Long-tenured employees are also more often called out and rewarded for recognition.
Outside of these, it is somewhat less common to see leaders recognizing teams and individuals for getting things done or for going above-and-beyond. Some teams are especially vulnerable to being passed over altogether:
When teams and departments fall into the cracks and miss out on recognition, the negative impact can be significant. It leads to these people feeling less valued, less heard, and less cared about. This does damage to the key drivers of employee happiness and engagement, and it can drop performance and spike turnover in areas where we can least afford it.
Let's see what we can do about it:
In addition to the list above, remember that you can conduct regular, personal recognition through email, personal notes, or a quick call. If you are using a system of daily or weekly reports, leaders can reply to staff reports with recognition and encouragement when they see successes The reply can be as simple as, "I see you are ahead of schedule on your current project. We're so proud of the work your team is doing!"
Amazing Workplace can survey your organization and reveal the areas where employees feel unrecognized. That's only one of the 25 happiness drivers we analyze to help you build your own amazing workplace. If you're ready to join our employee happiness mission, start here or email us at email@example.com.