Employers across the board are facing big challenges when it comes to hiring employees. We’re in a place where unemployment is at record lows, and employees are the ones calling the shots. It’s quite a bit different from what it was a decade ago, and many organizations struggle to keep up with these changes.

When asked about some of the biggest hiring challenges employers face, they often cite the fact that hiring managers aren’t adjusting to the fact that they’re in a candidates market. When unemployment levels are low, hiring managers are essentially the ones selling themselves, yet they’re not entirely adjusted to that at this point.

Beyond hiring, there’s another tough challenge for a lot of businesses—they aren’t great at retaining the talent they have. It’s not necessarily that employees aren’t willing to be loyal when the situation calls for it, but employers aren’t always giving them a lot of incentive to do so.

One survey from Gallup showed that only 15 percent of employees worldwide are engaged in their job, and only 22 percent of older millennials have been with their current employer for more than seven years.

Employers are often looking for the newest work perks and benefits to attract and retain employees, but sometimes they look beyond the most simple elements—for example, employee recognition is so important and yet so overlooked in many workplaces.

employee recognition

The following are some key things to know about employee recognition, particularly in the environment we’re in right now.


Employee Recognition Statistics

Ryan Marketing Services recently conducted a survey of employees from around the United States. What they found includes the following:

  • Only 15 percent of survey respondents said they felt valued at the end of their workday
  • Over 1/3 of the surveyed employees said they would be motivated to work harder if they were to receive verbal or public recognition from their manager
  • 26 percent of respondents said they couldn’t remember the last time either their colleagues or manager or recognized their work

Other research funded by an organization called Make Their Day, which is a firm specializing in employee motivation, and Badgeville, which is a gamification company, found that 83 percent of respondents said recognition for contributions was more fulfilling to them than any other kind of reward or gift.


Why Is Employee Recognition So Limited?

When employee recognition is such an easy and highly appreciated thing, you have to wonder why it doesn’t seem to be happening more in the workplace.

There are different reasons for that.

First, managers and company leaders are often unsure of how to effectively provide employee recognition. They fear they’re not going to do it the right way, so they just avoid it altogether.

Also, a lot of employers have a limited understanding of what can constitute employee recognition.


What Is Employee Recognition, Really?

Employee recognition is a psychological way to motivate your employees, retain them and keep them engaged. In the most specific terms, employee recognition can be defined as a timely acknowledgment of someone’s work, behavior or results that are in-line and support the goals and values of the entire organization. The recognition doesn’t necessarily have to be formal to be effective.

Employees want to feel appreciated because it shows that what they’re doing is not only noticed but also valued. When an employee feels like their work is valued, and it’s seen, then they’re more likely to stay motivated and keep producing great work, or even improve their work more.


How to Provide Effective Employee Recognition

A lot of managers don’t know how to do employee recognition the right way, so they just don’t.

First, it’s important to make sure that as a manager you’re always looking for opportunities to provide recognition. A lot of managers and leaders are so focused on other things that they overlook some of the best chances to recognize what’s going well and what people are doing well.

Recognition also tends to be more effective if it’s done in a timely way, which can go along with the idea of always looking out and having an eye on what’s going on.

To simplify things on the leadership end, think about implementing public employee recognition that can be done through one streamlined platform.

You also want to make recognition specific, and it should be in line with exemplifying company values whenever possible. This can be one of the most important parts to fostering positive change through employee recognition.