Stats, Facts & Research

Employee Engagement: More Employee Recognition Is Desperately Desired (And Employers Aren’t Giving It)

Employee Engagement RecognitionDoes your company depend on engaged employees? Of course it does. Engaged employees are happy. They’re passionate about what they do. They’ll go the extra mile for you—oftentimes without even being asked.

But the reality is that barely half of your workforce (52%) is happy at work, let alone set up for success, according to a recent workplace report by Achievers. This is chilling news, because companies cannot be successful without employees that are fully engaged.

“Employee engagement needs to be a top priority for executives in today’s changing workplace,” says David Brennan, general manager of Achievers. “Research proves that business success is driven by engaged employees—those employees that know why they get up every morning and go to work. The results from this study should incite organizations to take action and implement engagement strategies today that will help keep their employees tomorrow.”

So why are employees so dissatisfied and disengaged to the point where 50.4% say they’re not likely to be in their current job a year from now? There’s a “recognition gap,” and it’s getting wider every day. The survey found that:

  • 57% say they don’t feel recognized for their progress at work
  • 53% say they don’t feel recognized for their achievements at work
  • 60% say they don’t receive in-the-moment feedback from their managers

Yet, employees long for recognition: A whopping 85% hope to be recognized at least quarterly, if not more!

Without momentum, purpose and inspiration, the disconnection only grows. It’s a negative snowball effect that causes the recognition gap to grow wider and wider.

So how can employers meet the less tangible but critical needs for direction, inspiration, purpose and recognition?

For a start, have an annual awards program that at least gives employees recognition once a year. This is typically a more formal program that includes awards for performance, length of service, departmental excellence, wellness and/or safety. You can take it a step further and have Employee of the Month awards.

But keep in mind that recognition doesn’t always have to be top down. Peer-to-peer recognition can be just as meaningful. Have a time at the end of monthly staff meetings, for example, for anyone to recognize a coworker who has pitched in, gone above and beyond, or exceeded expectations/quotas/metrics.

You can also incorporate a variety of small, informal recognition items for team members to give one another. Get creative and give the recognition program a clever name. Design a logo for the program and use it to decorate the recognition gifts.

When planning gift options, you may want a selection of informal items for peer-to-peer recognition. It could be something as simple as sticky notes printed with “You’re Awesome!,” “Thanks For Your Help!” or “Couldn’t Have Done It Without You!” For gifts supervisors can give to their employees, you may want to go with something with higher perceived value. This could be something such as a cool sporty watch—a “thanks for your time”—for an employee who worked a lot of overtime to get a big project completed on time.

These are just a few examples of recognition gifts that can work. The items you choose should represent both your corporate values and be gifts that will appeal to your target audience. Whatever is chosen, make sure there are options that appeal to a wide variety of recipients and have multiple items to ensure that if someone is recognized multiple times that they don’t get the same thing over and over.

For tips on how build an employee recognition program, check out these 7 Tips To Reward And Recognition Outstanding Performance Without Breaking The Bank.

And if you’re still not a believer in increasing recognition within your company based on the above study findings, consider these stats from Bersin by Deloitte: In organizations where recognition regularly occurs, employee engagement, productivity and customer service are approximately 14 percent better than companies without recognition.

Employee Praise


Highly successful companies create a culture of recognition. They recognize the big…and the small. All employee efforts, even if they may seem minimal, are valuable and make a difference.

Keep in mind that small steps lead to great accomplishments, and employees must be able to see that they’re headed somewhere. Recognize their daily efforts—the great little things happening all the time, the stuff that’s done right or is on the right track—because it all adds up. This culture of recognition enables employees to see the value in what they’re doing and why.

The researchers at Achievers conclude that recognition is the biggest opportunity in business because the result is an engaged workforce. And an engaged workforce is a powerful force.


Inspired to get to work on a recognition program to boost your employee engagement? We can help. Book an appointment by clicking here or call us now at 248-538-4700. Mention the blog, and we’ll send you some SMART Swag to get the conversation started!