Your Employees Are Craving Recognition. Did You Notice These 4 Signs?


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Monday, December 20, 2021

Acknowledging people's hard work is a key part of the employer/employee relationship, so be sure to look out for signs that workers need more recognition.

Article 4 Minutes
Your Employees Are Craving Recognition. Did You Notice These 4 Signs?

Every business relies on its workforce to succeed, so it's crucial to invest sufficient time and resources in maintaining positive, healthy relationships with your employees.

People who feel looked after and appreciated at work are more likely to have a positive attitude and be genuinely engaged in their jobs. This translates into various benefits for the business, including:

Of course, there's a flip side to this equation, with people who don't feel supported by their employer more likely to be disengaged and to have little interest in helping the business succeed.

Therefore, it's crucial to have a clear plan to regularly recognize and celebrate your staff for their hard work, and this needs to go beyond basic financial remuneration.

Why it's vital to recognize your employees

Pay and benefits are undoubtedly a crucial factor in the employer/employee relationship and whether or not your people feel adequately rewarded. However, it's just as important for managers to provide personal, one-to-one recognition if the business wants to build positive and lasting connections with its workers.

According to Accenture, one of the most common 'people at work myths' is the belief that employees are mostly motivated by money. Research showed that most executives think pay is the key factor that determines whether people join and stay with certain companies, but the firm stressed the reality is "much more complex".

"Employees have multiple core needs that drive their behavior at work. While money certainly matters, it is not what matters most. People care about the emotional, relational and purposeful needs too. These are the needs that, when met, accelerate performance in the workplace." - Accenture

Great Place to Work made a similar point about the need for emotional support and reassurance in the workplace. It argued that the human need for affirmation from parents, teachers and friends in childhood continues when people reach adulthood and enter the workplace.

In a survey by O.C. Tanner, a Great Place to Work-certified company, 37% of respondents said more personal recognition would provide the encouragement they need to deliver better work more frequently.

It's also important to get to grips with some of the finer distinctions and nuances of employee relationships, such as the differences between employee recognition and appreciation. This level of understanding will help you identify what your people really need and plan how you can build genuinely meaningful relationships with them.

4 signs your people need more recognition

Knowing and looking out for common signs that your workers are craving recognition is a crucial step on the way to diagnosing and fixing this problem.

1. Negative feedback in staff appraisals

When you want to find out more about how your employees are feeling, it's always best to go straight to the source and have honest, face-to-face conversations with individuals. If you're starting to notice a trend of negative feedback and signs of disengagement in staff one-to-ones and appraisals, it might be time to dig deeper and find out whether lack of recognition is the cause of the problem.

2. High staff turnover

There are many reasons why people might be leaving your organization in higher numbers, but lack of recognition and appreciation is one of the key potential contributors you should consider. Research by Gallup revealed that workers who felt positive after receiving feedback from their manager were 3.9 times more likely to be engaged than those who felt negative. Furthermore, only 3.6% of those who received constructive or motivational feedback were actively looking for another job.

3. Low morale in the workplace

When feelings of dissatisfaction with manager recognition start to spread throughout your workforce, one of the clearest indicators of the problem will be a general deterioration in team morale and a downbeat atmosphere in the workplace. This is when good managers will step up and seek to tackle the issue head-on by engaging with employees directly and asking how the business could be doing things differently.

4. Steadily declining productivity

Much like staff turnover, a decline in productivity can be a symptom of various underlying problems, one of which is people feeling like their hard work is going unnoticed. An employee who feels overlooked and undervalued might start to wonder why they should push themselves to achieve the best results for the business, as opposed to doing the bare minimum. Make sure you're taking proactive efforts to avoid this problem by developing a clear strategy to provide fair and consistent recognition in the workplace.

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