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How to improve employee recognition

The why’s and how’s of employee recognition

Eagle Hill Consulting research finds that far too many employee recognition programs are sorely lacking.  Failing to acknowledge employees is a recipe for subpar organizational performance and high attrition, the last thing employers need in a volatile economy. See what U.S. workers have to say about how to improve employee recognition—and learn how to quickly implement programs that are both cost effective and will get results. 

The employee recognition gap

Employees signal that employers should increase efforts to thank workers for their efforts.

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47%

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 employee performance

Employees say recognition impacts their work, retention, teammates, and customers.

When their hard work is recognized:

53% will go above and beyond their responsibilities

will go above and beyond their responsibilities

48% are more likely to stay at their organization

are more likely to stay at their organization

43% are more motivated to support their team

are more motivated to support their team

38% will go above and beyond for customers

will go above and beyond for customers

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

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

Only 25% of employees have been asked how they would like to be recognized.

Top ways employees want to be recognized:

chart showing top ways employees want to be recognized

Top ways to improve employee recognition and rewards

Employees have ideas for how employers can improve recognition programs.

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 employees for a job well done

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 workers is woven into the fabric of day-to-day operations from the top to the bottom. Here are five 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 employees at team meetings or virtually using existing platforms or recognition-specific platforms.
  4. Offer tangible rewards that your employee base wants: gift cards, spot bonuses, training opportunities, or awards.
  5. Reward a job well done with an extra day off. 

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.