Using Recognition to Increase Engagement

Studies show only 1 in 3 individuals are engaged in the workplace. 

As companies hone in on improving culture, engagement, and retention, this statistic is concerning. Culture and engagement are closely tied to one another and make a large impact on retention rates. With an increase in competition for hiring top talent, retention rates and creating a culture that employees want to join is essential.

Recognition is key to driving employee engagement and improving retention rates and company culture.

Employees who are engaged at work care about their job, the success of the organization, and can envision themselves growing within the company. While financial incentives will always be a driving engager, many employees would prefer a title promotion or recognition for a job well done. 94% of satisfied employees have one thing in common- recognition.

Financial compensation isn’t the only way to recognize employees, nor is it the most effective.  Below are 4 strategies for employee recognition: 

1. Provide Instant Gratification and Recognition-  In a Gallup workplace survey, data revealed that recognition most memorable came from an employee’s manager (28%), a high-level leader or CEO (24%), the manager of the employees manager (12%), customers (10%), and lastly by peers (9%). Look into setting up simple ways to recognize an employee’s hard work. Whether it be in a weekly one-on-one with a “Great job” or a shout out with “Tacos” in the team’s slack channel- make sure that managers are trained to provide instant recognition for an employee’s accomplishments. Don’t wait until quarterly or yearly reviews- the little wins add up and make an employee more engaged over time.

2. Reward with Relevance- Depending on the task accomplished recognition and rewards should vary. For small tasks, shout-outs might be appropriate, but for a large task accomplished- blast a company-wide email so everyone can understand how this project contributes to the long-term success of the organization. Or perhaps even just lunch- everyone loves free food. Take the time to consider various rewards and recognition for differing accomplishments. Having this scale could also increase employees drive to do more in order to receive that recognition.

3. Link Recognition to Core Values- Teamwork, Honesty, Learning- whatever your core values might be, link recognition to that. At each quarterly all-hands have employees discuss what they’ve accomplished that quarter and then vote on whose work most aligns with the company values. Celebrate those individuals with a special dinner or work outing. Having peers and the organization recognize individuals creates a validation of hard work and encourages those employees to continue engaging in projects and their day-to-day work.

4. Ensure Recognition is Inclusive- It’s great to recognize employees on the managerial level or those who manage a department or had a hand in large company initiatives. But what about those employees who’s day to day isn’t as glamorous? Don’t forget to recognize the work of your office manager who keeps the coffee stocked, the admin on the team who organizes everyone schedules and calendar- every employee makes a difference in the hierarchy. Ensure everyone feels the love- if they do, they’ll stay engaged and happy.   

While salaries will always be the top way to improve engagement (everyone loves a bonus) there are other ways to keep an employee happy and keep your culture positive. Recognition- big or small goes a long way.


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