When No One Gives Recognition To People

Hard work always pays off, right?

You probably heard wise counsel like this from parents, teachers or mentors along your journey of life so far.

And, for the most part, I think it does pay off. I will further say that in the long-term hard work always pays dividends.

But for the short-term it can appear there are problems in getting acknowledged for doing hard work.

Watch Your Younger Employees

Take for example this account from an OfficeTeam survey they conducted:

“Approximately 65 percent of employees between 18 and 34 are more likely than any other age bracket to leave their current position if they feel their hard work is being unrecognized.”

Especially for the younger generation, but for all of us generally, when employees work hard and put their best effort and attention into their work, it is gratifying to be acknowledged for the work done. And when the work has made a difference to people they should be recognized.

Imagine putting over two-thirds of your younger employees at risk of leaving the company simply because no one recognized them. This is a foolish strategy that should be corrected immediately.

A Practical Risk Prevention

When you start looking at appreciating and praising your employees appropriately as a risk prevention strategy, it takes on a whole different perspective.

Make time in your schedule to acknowledge people’s positive actions and significant contributions at the end of each day. Solicit input from your direct reports of employee’s living the values and how they have made a difference.

You can send a handwritten note to the employee or use your online recognition platform to send acknowledgment to them depending on the their personal preferences.

Frequency of Giving Recognition

Then there is the question of how often are you supposed to recognize people?

From the Gallup organization’s Q12 Engagement Survey, the fourth element asks, “In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.”

The implication from this statement is that employees should be receiving at least some form of recognition or praise on a weekly basis. What is the reality of this actually happening?

Check out this principle of weekly recognition against some insight from Bersin by Deloitte.

They discovered that “senior leaders are out of touch with how often employees are recognized. Nearly 80 percent of senior leaders believe employees are recognized at least on a monthly basis, with 43 percent of senior leaders stating employees are recognized weekly or more often. This finding contrasts starkly with the reports from managers and individual contributors: 40 percent of managers and only 22 percent of individual contributors report that their peers are recognized monthly or more often.”

No Recognition = Poor Engagement

In my own consulting work, I have seen in organizations where managers do not understsnd the importance of recognition, or how to give it the right way, and that as few as one third of all employees are likely to receive some form of recognition within any given month. To make matters worse, over a quarter of the employees claim they have not been recognized at all in the entire year.

As you can appreciate engagement scores in these organizations are always poor.

Frequency of giving recognition is not about always giving people rewards either. It could be mentioning things in a staff meeting to indicate the positive example of someone. You could pick up the phone and leave a voice message if the employee doesn’t pick up. Even send an email or text to say thanks for their actions.

Remember to put your employees and their feelings as a top priority in your day. By making relationship building first on your list and your regular tasks second, you will find this kind of hard work pays off right from the start.

Question: What outcomes have you observed when people are not recognized?

Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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