72% of employees across the world report that they don’t get nearly enough praise.
This is according to a research report about the state of employee engagement that Officevibe just finished conducting.
We measured data from thousands of organizations across more than 150 countries over the course of the last year. This represents approximately 1,200,000 data points of employee engagement from tens of thousands of people all over the world.
We measured 10 different metrics of engagement, with employee recognition being one of them.
What we found was pretty shocking.
- 65% of employees feel like they don’t get enough praise
- 72% of employees get praise less than once per week
- 34% get it less than once every 3 months.
According to Gallup, you should be praising your employees at least once per week (ideally more).
The reason they give for that frequency is the way dopamine works in the brain.
Without getting too much into detail, dopamine is something that humans definitely need. There are a few ways they can get it – praise at work, exercise, alcohol, drugs, etc.
When an employee goes too long without dopamine, they become unhappy, or will start to look to get it another way.
For example, if it’s been a while since they’ve received recognition, they might feel the need to go for a drink. Not because they need the drink, but because they need to get their “fix” of dopamine.
But what always confuses me, is how managers still can get this wrong.
Employee recognition is literally the easiest way to engage your employees.
Recognition is Easy
It’s so easy to do, that it still makes no sense to me that this is still an issue in the workplace.
It takes 10 seconds to do, it’s free, and it can have such long-lasting effects.
More than anything, it requires you to be mindful of what’s going on around you.
If you notice one of your employees or coworkers doing something good, highlight it.
Other than being mindful, there are no real skills required for you to be able to say “great job” or “that was a really nice presentation you gave”, and it means a lot to the person receiving it.
The biggest frustration, is when an employee secretly knows that they deserve praise or are expecting it but don’t receive it.
This leads to resentment, disengagement, and decreased productivity.
Recognition is Powerful
This is what managers need to understand.
It’s actually beneficial for them to be frequently recognizing their employees. Going back to the concept of dopamine I was explaining earlier, when an employee does something and they get praised for it, they’re more likely to repeat it again.
The reason for this is that they want to seek that approval from you again.
For example, if you give praise to an employee by saying “great job on this presentation. I especially loved how you were able to do it so quickly and add creative images”, what will happen is the next time around, the employee will want to create a high-quality presentation with creative images quickly.
It’s a simple technique managers can use to consistently get amazing work out of their employees.
Recognition Lowers Turnover
According to the book How Full Is Your Bucket, the number one reason people leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated.
Similarly, research from Deloitte found that:
“Organizations with recognition programs which are highly effective at enabling employee engagement had 31% lower voluntary turnover than organizations with ineffective recognition programs.”
Considering how expensive turnover is, you should be doing everything you can to make sure it doesn’t happen.
Not only is turnover expensive financially, but it’s incredibly expensive emotionally. It stresses employees out, lowers their productivity, and hurts the culture of the team.
3 Simple Ideas to Improve Recognition
To help you out, and to show you how simple employee recognition really is, here are three simple ideas you could try right now.
- Highlight an employee at your next meeting: At the beginning of your next meeting, take 2 minutes to highlight an employee in front of everyone. Make them feel special, it will help them shine for the rest of the day.
- Send someone a personal email: Take a few minutes out of your day to write someone a personal email thanking them for something they recently did. It seems simple, but it could make someone’s day. People will appreciate the time you took to write them a personal note.
- Write a “thank you” post-it: This is an easy one, and won’t take a lot of time because of how small post-its are. Write a quick thank you note and leave it on someone’s desk. This simple gesture will be a nice way to publicly say thank you to someone for doing something great.