People crave recognition.

That innate need to be acknowledged and rewarded is just as important in the adult world as it is in childhood—and it’s crucial in business.

Because when we know others are seeing us in a good light, we feel so good about ourselves that we naturally do what we can to get more of that fuzzy feeling.

When it comes to the workplace, recognition is in short supply and often, managers aren’t aware of just how much that can hurt a company’s bottom line.

Because if high-performing employees aren’t feeling valued and recognised, they’re going to lose momentum and start slipping.

It’s no revelation. Anyone who has gone above and beyond without reward knows just how dispiriting it can be day-to-day.

How to build recognition into your company culture

Recognition isn’t the only driver for employee engagement, but it’s a powerful one that can quite literally transform the way people in your business work. With a handful of tools, you can build it into the foundation of your business and strengthen the overall feeling of engagement and loyalty within your teams. Here’s how:

Schedule quarterly State of the Company meetings

Arrange quarterly meetings with your entire workforce and update everyone on the recent progress you’ve made as a company, as well as your plans for the future. 

Meetings don’t need to be longer than 45 minutes—brief enough to keep everyone interested, with enough time to talk about your recent plans, where you are now, and where you’re going.

These quarterly meetings are the perfect chance to recognise key accomplishments and acknowledge where employees met the company’s values. You can also encourage employees to recognise and praise others on the team, creating a great space that doubles up as a motivator to go above and beyond.

Quarterly Conversations

One way to engage with employees and encourage them to stay connected is to schedule informal one to one conversations with employees. It’s not a performance review or an assessment of any kind, but a chance to catch up on how they’re feeling, address any concerns and offer some guidance on any blocks they might be facing. Try to organise these every three months.

These more informal conversations are another great opportunity for you to share recognition and praise for their performance, separate from company-wide meetings. 

According to a Badgeville study, 40% of employees who don’t feel meaningfully recognised at work won’t go above their formal responsibilities to get the job done.

85.5% of employees who do feel meaningfully recognised, will.

Acknowledge great work as and when it happens

The best time to show appreciation for a job well done is as soon as it happens. When you notice employees giving their best, living out the company core values or anything praiseworthy, make a point to let them know and thank them for it as soon as it’s appropriate to do so.

When you stop and show appreciation in this way (and encourage others to do the same), you create a feel-good environment that’s natural and empowering for the whole team.

Don’t use rewards as a way to solve business problems

Often, managers introduce recognition schemes they think will encourage employees to fulfil an expectation—without realising they’re actually doing more harm than good.

A famous Harvard Business School experiment found that when a laundry business introduced a prize draw to recognise perfect monthly attendance, productivity actually fell 6 to 8%. 

Why? Because the employees who routinely arrived on time disliked how others who were constantly late were now being rewarded for something they considered a basic habit.

It happens often in businesses where performance falls and managers experiment with ways to keep teams on track. But the HBS experiment showed a striking reveal on employee values. For many, there’s a big difference between appreciation and reward, and if employers are aiming to show the former, monetary rewards aren’t usually enough. 

Building a more engaged workforce 

With such a big portion of today’s employees not feeling recognised at work, it can’t come as a surprise that engagement levels in the workplace are at an all-time low. 

Being loyal to a company simply because you were hired by them, isn’t the only consideration anymore. People are loyal to the companies they work for when they feel stimulated, appreciated and rewarded. As a people’s leader, you can pave the way and provide the right space for employees to engage more with their work, go above and beyond and enjoy the natural value it will bring to your company’s bottom line.

Share this article

Schedule your 15 minute, no obligation call today!

Become a  healthy, focused leadership team and organisation that makes continual progress towards achieving everything in your vision.

Book Call