According to the results of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) recent “Employee Recognition Survey,” most employees know they are appreciated but would like to hear it more often. The survey found that 51 percent of working Americans feel that they are valued by their employers. Eighty-one percent of those same workers said their organization provides some type of recognition.
Just 46 percent, however, said their organization recognizes employees for individual job performance, while only 29 percent said that team- or work-unit performance is recognized. Twenty-one percent of respondents said their employer provides recognition for companywide results, with that number dropping to 18 percent for engaging in specific behaviors, such as those “consistent with the organization’s values.”
In addition, more than one third of respondents (36 percent) said they haven’t received any form of recognition in the last year, and just 47 percent said they feel recognition is provided fairly within their organizations.
“If you’re a leader in an organization, you want to be reinforcing the kinds of positive behavior that gets you to the performance level you want to be on,” said David Ballard, assistant executive director for organizational excellence at the APA. He noted that only 31 percent of respondents said that direct supervisors express written or verbal appreciation for exemplary performance, and only 24 percent reported their organization uses performance-based bonuses or promotions as a form of recognition.
Ballard shares that, what the organization’s approach to recognition should be, is designed to suit the company’s workforce, based on feedback on what kind of recognition employees most value, and who they would like to see acknowledge their performance.
In some companies, for instance, employees may seek acknowledgement from a top executive, while peer-to-peer recognition may carry more weight in other organizations, “as opposed to being recognized by someone who may not even know [the employee’s] name,” he says.
“So the first step is getting to know your workforce and tailoring what you’re doing around recognition to fit your people.”