3 Ways Employee Recognition Can Boost Morale

Sadly, 79 percent of employees don’t feel strongly valued at work. What are you doing to boost employee recognition in your workplace?
May 12, 2015

There’s a remarkable phenomenon that occurs when people receive recognition. Employees feel valued for the time and effort they put into their work. They feel like actual human beings and less like cogs in a machine. However, what can happen when their work goes unacknowledged? You guessed it—they quit.

And unfortunately, the price of an employee walking out the door can be pretty hefty. When you consider the cost of recruitment, training and loss of productivity, you may be taking a huge financial hit. This is what TalentWise found in relation to turnover:

  • When employees leave, they take 70 percent of their knowledge with them.
  • To replace an employee, it costs up to 150 percent of the annual salary associated with that position.

That only summarizes the cost of one employee leaving. Now think about how much you can lose after multiple employees quit in one year. Not a pretty picture, right? This is where employee recognition can really help you.

Using Employee Recognition for Retention

According to Globoforce, 55 percent of employees are willing to quit their jobs to join a company that clearly recognizes its workers. Globoforce's Spring 2014 Mood Tracker found that 73 percent of respondents credit recognition for having a positive effect on their happiness at work.

Recognition can be a great strategy for fighting attrition. It’s a completely free tool—you don’t have to drop a dime to say “thank you” to someone. You’re also making your employees feel valued for the work they’re putting in.

Using Employee Recognition During Rapid Growth 

Australian-based Geeks2U was experiencing rapid growth. Since its workforce was expanding, it needed a way to boost morale during the change. So it started leveraging an employee survey tool with a built-in virtual employee recognition feature.

Michael Hancock, strategic planning manager, explains, “Our experience has been that the ‘virtual pat on the back’ between colleagues is invaluable. Employees no longer receive positive feedback from just their manager, but now their coworkers, too, and it’s had a tremendous effect on the team as a whole.”

When it comes to organizational change and growth, a whole lot can go wrong. And unfortunately, a lot of companies may face high turnover as a result of change. However, the employees at Geeks2U were able to maintain morale and, as Hancock says, “It’s an even closer team now that everyone can thank one another and celebrate each other’s achievements in such a friendly, public way.”

Building Employee Recognition Into Your Culture

The traditional supervisor-subordinate method of employee recognition can be considered outdated. In actuality, this strategy may do more harm than good. Consider these results from TINYhr's recent Employee Engagement & Organizational Culture report:

  • 30 percent of employees haven’t received recognition from their boss in the past two weeks.
  • 79 percent of employees don’t feel strongly valued at work.

Fact of the matter is, no one wants to be ignored. And the easiest solution can be to hand off the responsibility to employees. Instead of having employees sit around waiting for their boss to recognize them, peer-to-peer recognition enables people to acknowledge their peers for a job well done. Here are a few ways that employees at my organization recognize each other:

  • Share wins: During our daily morning huddle, we kick-start everything by talking about “wins” from the previous day. It’s a great way for employees to publicly tell others about a job well done by another team member.
  • Project insight: During team or company meetings, we let project owners talk about what they're currently tackling or what they've accomplished. This offers a larger platform to acknowledge their efforts.
  • Peer-to-peer recognition tool: When it comes to spontaneous recognition, we leverage our own peer-to-peer recognition tool. This digital tool is accessible 24/7 so employees can give their colleagues a shout-out at any time of the day. Even better, we stream the recognition onto a TV screen so everyone else can watch as the thank-yous roll by.

To some, employee recognition is just a fluffy idea meant to boost people’s egos. But that’s not the case. Recognition shouldn’t be a second thought, nor should it be dismissed. It actually can do wonders for your bottom line by improving retention and making people feel valued in the workplace.

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Photo: Getty Images