Best Practices in HR

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  January 5, 2017

The Power Of Employee Recognition In The Workplace

A thank you can go a long way. Even more so, acknowledgment of a job well done, whether personal or professional, can make someone feel understood, valued and respected. We’ve been taught this since we were children, yet it isn’t always what we think to say to our colleagues or employees because often times we are led to believe they are just ‘doing their jobs.’

In fact, recognition for performance in general is rare, with Bersin & Associates reporting that 87% of recognition programs in the US alone focus only on tenure, and not contributions or efforts. Couple that with the report that more than half of employees believe their company does not care about them, and 52% are dissatisfied with the level of recognition they receive at work, and we have a problem.

Despite not putting a lot of effort into recognition programs on the whole, the companies that do greatly benefit from it. We decided to dig a little deeper into this to find out what happens when good employee recognition programs are put into place. We wanted to know what metrics it affected, and if the outcome was a better customer experience from an internal program made for employees.

What we found was definitely worth taking a look at.

58% of leaders believe better engagement comes through employee recognition


A study by Psychometrics showed that leaders believed quality recognition of their employees could help increase engagement in their work and the quality of output.

Why? It’s simple. Employees feel motivated when they know what they are doing is being valued. There is no such thing as too much recognition (unless you do it in a way that isn’t seen as authentic).

Alternatively, it can be seen as a way that employees know their managers are watching. That hint doesn’t have to only come through criticism of the employee’s work, but also praise and recognition of a job well done.

69% of employees report working harder when they feel appreciated

employee recognition

Employees surveyed by SocialCast could not stress enough how much recognition can drive a productive work environment. Even when we were kids in school, a gold star on a report card made us want to do better.

Recognizing an employee isn’t just saying thank you and moving on. It’s recognizing the work they do, and the time and effort they spend to keep the business afloat day in and day out. It is recognizing them, and their existence. While it may just be a few, heartfelt words from you, it could be a game changer for them.

How you actually recognize an employee can be specific to that person. There are some people on your team that would be over-the-moon about you writing a company-wide email spotlighting their efforts. Another employee would be mortified at just the thought of it.

Getting to know your employees is going to be key to creating a recognition process that truly accomplishes what you’re looking to do: making your employees feel valued and appreciated.

Furthermore, when you make an effort to do employee recognition well, you’ll become more in-tune with the business because you’ll be seeing what decisions are being made, day in and day out.

41% of companies that use peer-to-peer recognition see positive increases in customer satisfaction


There’s no arguing that a happy employee passes that happiness onto customers. The same goes for an employee who hates their job.

What can you do to up the chances an employee passes on a good experience to a customer? Use peer-to-peer recognition programs. In a study by Globoforce, 41% of companies reported positive increases in customer satisfaction by doing just that.

What is peer-to-peer recognition? It’s allowing colleagues to recognize each other and the work they are doing. Programs such as Bonus.ly do a great job at this. The tool allows employers to give each employee a small amount of “money” each month. The employees can then recognize each other’s efforts through micro-bonuses, distributed whenever they please. These micro-bonuses can then be redeemed for gift cards to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sephora or donated to a charity the employee cares about.

The way an employee feels about the work they are doing directly connects with the customer. A happy employee is willing to go above and beyond not only in their day-to-day tasks and responsibilities but also in interactions with customers. They have a sense of ownership that transcends their job responsibilities, and in turn, keeps your customers beyond satisfied with your business.

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Source: KIN