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25 May 2017
by Debra Corey

Study shows 80% of UK employees want continuous recognition

I was practicing a speech I’d be delivering at a conference, trying it out as I always did with my very supportive friend as we walked our dogs together. The topic for the speech was employee recognition, and I was just explaining the point about the importance of providing continuous recognition when she jumped in and said “Wouldn’t it be great to get this, I can’t remember the last time my boss recognised me. I recognise my children (she’s a teacher) each and every day, why can’t my boss do the same with me?”


Good question, why can’t recognition happen the way it used to when we were in school?  Remember the days of getting gold stars, merits, certificates or even house points? I know we’re all grown up now, but don’t we still deserve to be recognised and appreciated in many ways as often as possible? 

According to William James, psychologist, philosopher and author “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” So I ask you, shouldn’t all companies be fulfilling these cravings for the humans working for them? The answer to this question is yes, companies need to find ways to fulfill the needs of their employees, or, going back to my school analogy, they won’t ‘get the grades’, and deliver results. 

Without recognition staff will walk

A new study conducted by my company of 500 employees and 500 senior decision makers provides more evidence of the importance of continuous recognition. It shows that a whopping 84% of employees think managers and leaders should spot good work and give praise and thanks whenever it happens. It also shows that the majority of employees (80%) think this should happen on a continuous, all year round basis.

And if that wasn’t enough, the study also found that if employees don’t receive this, they’ll walk out the door. With almost half (49%) of British workers saying they’d leave their company if they weren’t regularly thanked and recognised for their efforts, it shows the importance of addressing continuous recognition if we want to manage employee retention rates.

So how can companies do this, how can they get recognition ‘right’?  Here are five tips:

1) Make recognition frequent

Recognise your employees frequently, on an ongoing and continuous basis, showing them over and over again how much you appreciate them.

2) Make recognition specific

Recognise your employees for specific actions and behaviours, not leaving it up to them to guess what they’ve done which is recognition-worthy.

3) Give peer-to-peer recognition

Make recognition a company-wide activity, don’t just limit it to managers, as your employees will want to join in on the fun.

4) Put recognition under the spotlight

Find ways to celebrate recognition, publically sharing it so that others are invited to the recognition ‘party’.

5) Recognise based on company values

Create recognition programmes that relate back to your company’s values, driving the behaviors that support your business.

If you’d like to hear more about these tips as well as more data from the study, please join me on the 22nd June for a webinar where myself and Liz Crutchley Head of Reward and Benefits at HomeServe will be discussing how to create a culture of continuous recognition. You can register here.

Debra Corey is group reward director at Reward Gateway.

This article is provided by Reward Gateway.

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