5 Employee recognition statistics: the real value of appreciation

Written by: Nora St-Aubin | Illustrated by: Chloé Allard
Published on: July 29, 2021 |  Reading time: 6m

One of the most basic human needs is to feel seen and valued. We want to know that our efforts haven’t gone unnoticed, and that the people around us appreciate our contributions to our shared goals. That’s why giving employees recognition is such an important part of management. But are managers giving recognition effectively? What can we learn from employee recognition statistics?

We wanted to find out how managers are getting employee appreciation right — and where they might need to reinforce their efforts. So we looked at the data from Officevibe’s Pulse Surveys, and pulled some employee engagement statistics about recognition specifically. This data represents the sentiments of employees in over 50,000 teams worldwide.

Understanding the real impact of employee recognition

It might seem like a small thing, but giving employee recognition can have a big impact on employee engagement, happiness, and commitment, and how they view the company they work for. And we’ve got the data to back that up. When we looked at Officevibe’s employee survey data, we found that…

Recognition Frequency and Happiness at Work are the two sub-metrics with the strongest correlation in Officevibe. This means that employees who score highly on recognition frequency tend to also score highly on workplace happiness. Employee happiness is a big contributor to overall employee satisfaction.

The second strongest sub-metric correlation is between Recognition Frequency and Feedback Quality. People who are satisfied with recognition frequency tend to feel they get high quality feedback. When you tell people what they’re doing well, and the feedback is genuine and specific, they’ll continue doing their best work.

Employees who are happy with how frequently they’re recognized also feel that their organization cares about their mental health. Feeling appreciated makes a difference in how people think of organizational values and company culture. This will impact job satisfaction, employee retention, and employee turnover.

Employees who say recognition is given in a timely fashion also feel that their organization trusts them to contribute to the mission. Giving recognition is also a way of showing people that you trust them to do what they do best, and that their contributions play a part in the greater goals of the team and business.

A good employee recognition strategy is about so much more than a pat on the back or an employee reward. Keep reading to dig deeper into the data.

Find our how your employees feel about recognition. Employee recognition is one of the 10 Metrics of Engagement measured in Officevibe’s Pulse Surveys. Sign up free and invite your team to answer 5 simple questions every week, so you can start collecting insights on how people really feel.

5 Employee recognition statistics managers need to know

Showing employee appreciation is one of the simplest, most impactful things a manager can do to keep their people happy and engaged at work. These employee recognition statistics help you understand how to get it right.

40% of employees say they don’t receive recognition frequently enough.

Employees want more recognition. When it comes to recognizing employees, the main area where manage can focus their efforts is frequency. So, how often is often enough? Every employee’s preferences are different, but generally speaking the more, the merrier.

Recognition Frequency is the second lowest scoring sub-metric in Officevibe.

Out of 26 Sub-Metrics of Employee Engagement

Waiting for your team’s quarterly review or monthly meeting just won’t get you to the frequency of recognition that employees need. It can be tough to create regular recognition rituals, especially when you’re remote. If you need to, set yourself a daily or weekly reminder to send out a couple of kudos to your team. The more you build up a habit of giving recognition, the more it will become a natural reflex.

1 in 3 employees say recognition is not given in a timely fashion.

Beyond giving recognition more often, it’s important to work on giving it in real-time. When people hear ‘great job!’ months after a project is delivered, it will still be meaningful — but it’s all the more meaningful when they hear it right when they put something out. In fact, it can mean a lot to receive recognition in the middle of working on something.

Don’t wait until your team sees the results of their latest initiative to celebrate their success. Actually, you don’t even need to wait for them to deliver their work. Recognize their grit, their critical thinking, their decision-making, and their collaboration in real-time. Let each employee know that their individual efforts are seen and valued.

Timeliness in action: When you notice someone on your team do good work or act in alignment with your company values, send a quick employee recognition message on Slack or email to let them know. You could even keep a pack of thank you cards in your desk, to quickly write a handwritten message for a personal touch.

91% of employees say recognition is meaningful when they receive it.

This goes to show that it’s not so much about what you say, but how often you say it. Recognition is meaningful even when it isn’t perfectly worded, or doesn’t follow the ideal structure. Put simply, it’s better to say ‘thank you’ than nothing at all.

‘Is recognition meaningful when you receive it?’ is in the top 10 highest scoring questions in Officevibe.

Out of 120 employee Pulse Survey questions

It’s natural to want to be intentional and come up with amazing employee recognition ideas to show your team that you value them. But the fact is, people don’t need an elaborate display to feel appreciated. It’s truly the thought that counts.

1 in 4 employees say their organization doesn’t celebrate accomplishments and learnings.

Your company culture has a big influence on people’s job satisfaction and the overall employee experience. An environment that celebrates wins and seeks out learnings even when initiatives fail will increase employee motivation and reduce the risk for employee burnout. But when you never stop to celebrate your accomplishments and you stick to the status quo, it’s a recipe for disengaged employees.

How do you combat this as a manager? While some things might be at a higher level, you still have the power to build up your team culture and values. You can set the tone by carving out time for celebration and digging deeper into adverse outcomes.

Try this with your team: Have a ‘win of the week’ and ‘fail of the week’ on your team. It could be in a slack thread, during a meeting, or on a shared board. Encourage people to share their accomplishments and learnings, and pursue any ideas that are sparked.

88% of employees say they’re encouraged to give recognition to one another.

This is great news because receiving peer recognition can be really impactful for employees. As meaningful as it is when your boss or someone from leadership tells you you did a good job, hearing it from someone whose day-to-day looks more like yours can mean a lot. Support your team in developing a culture of peer recognition. And remember, you’re a part of the team as the manager, so take part in your team’s recognition culture.

A recognition culture in practice: You could have a trophy that gets passed from one employee to another every month, or have everyone vote on a monthly MVP of the team. These are the types of things you can do to create a recognition program within your team.

Learn from these employee recognition statistics

The most important thing you can do with data is to learn from it and apply those learnings. These statistics about employee recognition can help you develop your recognition strategy to be more impactful.