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Government employees ask for more recognition

How to improve government employee recognition programs—and agency performance

Eagle Hill Consulting research finds that government employees want to receive more recognition for their work. Agency workers voice that recognition impacts their drive and motivation, and if not acknowledged, can lead to retention and agency performance issues. Yet, workers indicate government employee recognition programs need improvement.

The recognition gap

Government employees signal that agencies should increase their efforts to thank employees for their efforts.

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46%

would like to receive more recognition for their work

YET
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21%

are never recognized for a job well done

Recognition drives government employee performance

Government employees say recognition impacts their work, retention, teammates, and citizens.

When their hard work is recognized:

51% will go above and beyond their responsibilities

will go above and beyond their responsibilities

47% are more likely to stay at their organization

are more likely to stay at their organization

46% are more motivated to support their team

are more motivated to support their team

37% will go above and beyond for customers

will go above and beyond for customers

How to improve government employee recognition—government workers share how they want to be recognized

Government employees have recognition preferences, but many aren’t asked for their input.

Only 36% of government employees have been asked how they would like to be recognized.

Top ways government employees want to be recognized:

chart showing top ways employees want to be recognized

Top ways to improve government employee recognition and rewards

Government employees have ideas for how recognition programs can be improved.

Employees say recognition should be:

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More frequent

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More proactive

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More broadly shared
across the organization

Quick and easy ways to recognize government employees for a job well done

Public sector employers can quickly set up regular recognition that is cost effective and will get results. The key to success lies in creating a culture where thanking employees is woven into the fabric of day-to-day operations from the top to the bottom. Here are three quick and easy ways to get started:

  1. Ask your employees how they prefer to be recognized.
  2. Personalize recognition with simple thank you notes or emails.
  3. Regularly give public shout-outs to government employees at team meetings or virtually using existing platforms or recognition-specific platforms.

The results are based on the Eagle Hill Consulting Job Well Done national survey conducted by Ipsos from October 5-10, 2022, among 1,347 employed adults aged 18 and older, including 750 federal, state, and local government employees.