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Employee Engagement Performance Management Employee Experience

How to Boost Employee Engagement and Productivity with Recognition

July 28, 2022
5 min read

Total Employee Engagement Resource Pack

This post was originally published in October 2019 and updated in July 2022 to reflect new information about how employee recognition impacts employee engagement and productivity.

According to a recent Gallup poll, we’re in an employee engagement slump: only 32% of U.S. employees are engaged at work, and 17% are actively disengaged. A lack of engagement can lead to a decrease in productivity and employee retention — and it’s expensive, too.

Luckily, there’s a strategy for solving these problems that doesn’t have to be: employee recognition. In today’s post, we’ll look at a few ways you can use recognition to engage employees and make them feel valued so they can do their best work.

First, dig into some reasons why employee engagement should be a top priority for your company.

#EmployeeRecognition is a top way to increase #EmployeeEngagement — find out why:

The High Costs of Disengagement

Lost productivity due to disengaged employees costs businesses an estimated $450-500 million annually in the U.S. and $7.8 trillion globally. For reference, disengaged employees could cost your company around 18% of their annual salary. Actively disengaged employees are at an extremely high risk of quitting, with 74% looking for a new position. High employee turnover rates lead to increased hiring costs, which can be as much as two times the employee’s salary.

On the other hand, high employee engagement leads to better performance and higher retention and has a positive effect on companies’ bottom line.

Organizations with highly engaged employees report:

  • 18% higher productivity for sales teams
  • 18% lower turnover for high-turnover companies
  • 43% lower turnover for low-turnover companies
  • 23% more profitable
  • 10% higher customer loyalty

The benefits make it clear that employee engagement strategies are worth creating, supporting, and maintaining. In today’s post, you’ll find out how to add employee recognition into your engagement strategy.

Why is employee recognition so important?

Don’t underestimate the positive impact of an employee recognition program, even if it seems like a simple strategy. Employee recognition in the workplace is important because it has a lasting influence on engagement, productivity, retention, and company culture as a whole.

Employees want to be recognized — it motivates them, and it can even inspire better performance:

Compared to employees who don’t feel they’re recognized regularly at work, employees who do feel recognized have a more positive view of company culture:

  • 2.6x more likely to say they think promotions are fair
  • 2.2x more likely to say innovative thinking is embraced
  • 2x more likely to say people at their company are willing to go above and beyond

Let’s dig into how you can help your team members become long-term top performers with your own employee recognition strategy.

How to Create a Culture of Recognition

A staff recognition program doesn’t have to be complicated to increase engagement and productivity. You can build it into your existing talent management processes for a work environment where gratitude is the norm. Try these tips for making employee recognition a part of company culture.

Build #EmployeeRecognition into your existing processes to #motivate and #engage your employees:

1. Motivate employees during goal check-ins.

Set and track performance review goals to give managers lots of opportunities to recognize employees as they progress towards their goals as well as when they reach those goals. Encourage managers to conduct regular goal check-ins where they can encourage employees to keep working toward a difficult goal, highlight the value they add to the team, or express gratitude for a time they went the extra mile. This provides continuous motivation for employees instead of just receiving recognition when goals are completed.

If your company uses performance and engagement software to set and track goals, managers can easily reference employee goal data during performance reviews. That gives employees another opportunity to be recognized for the work they’ve done, and it can help determine your company’s employee reward system, including merit increases and bonuses.

An added benefit of employee goal setting is the increased employee engagement and productivity that comes with it:

  • Goals motivate employees to work harder.
  • Goals help develop employees’ strengths.
  • Goals clarify expectations and direct employees’ focus.
  • Goals provide progress benchmarks and define success.

2. Encourage peer-to-peer recognition.

Recognition shouldn’t just come from leadership — getting positive feedback from colleagues is an essential part of building recognition into the company culture. Peer recognition provides more opportunities for employees to receive specific, timely praise from different perspectives.

Peer-to-peer recognition is extremely effective:

  • 36% more likely to have a positive effect on employees vs. recognition from managers
  • Can improve performance by up to 14%
  • Helps foster closer connections and trust between coworkers

3. Make employee recognition easy.

In order to make recognition part of your company culture, it needs to be easy to do. With the right software, it’s easy for managers to keep an eye on goal progress and provide timely feedback and encouragement. They can also recognize employees for achieving especially difficult goals or blowing goals out of the water.

Software tools like ClearCompany’s Celebrations and Shout Outs ensure that employees’ years of service don’t go unnoticed and their hard work is recognized. ClearCompany’s Celebrations feature modernizes how companies celebrate and share employees’ milestones, including birthdays, work anniversaries, and new hire welcomes. Teammates can bond and create more personal connections when they’re aware of their colleagues’ big days.

The Shout Outs feature is also a useful employee recognition tool that empowers coworkers to publicly recognize peers who have done a great job or helped them out in some way. It’s a simple but meaningful gesture and even reflects on employees’ performance reviews so managers are aware of employees’ contributions.

Start Your Employee Recognition Program

There’s no overstating the impact of employee recognition: based on an employee survey, 37% consider recognition to be the most important thing a manager or a company could do to help them be successful. Recognition leads to increased motivation, a sense of pride, and increased confidence at work, which in turn boosts employee initiatives and their ability to take responsibility for one’s work. A company that actively recognizes and rewards its employees is more likely to see elevated levels of accountability, responsibility, employee engagement, and productivity.

ClearCompany’s complete Performance, Engagement, and Goals Platform has the tools you need to support a strong employee recognition program that increases engagement and productivity and contributes to positive workplace culture.

Learn how you can use ClearCompany tools, including Goals, Shout-Outs, and Celebrations, to create an effective employee recognition program — book a free demo today.

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