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Employee Recognition: A Fast-Track to Thriving Company Culture

According to Gallup, 70% of American employees are not engaged at work. We’ve all wasted an hour or two here and there chatting with coworkers or perusing cat videos, but this number is still quite shocking. Most companies have tried everything to boost employee engagement, but far too often these efforts boil down to companies heaving unproven perks at their employees and company culture remains mediocre as a result.

70% of American employees are not engaged at work.

Free meals, games rooms, and increased vacation time are nice, but there is little evidence to suggest that they actually solve the engagement dilemma. Indeed, a different Gallup poll found that engaged employees who took less than one week of vacation in a year had 25% higher overall well-being than actively disengaged employees who took six weeks or more.

Engaged employees who took less than one week of vacation in a year had 25% higher overall well-being than actively disengaged employees who took six weeks or more.

So what are employers to do? Fostering a culture of recognition is one simple – and extremely cheap – way to build and sustain worker engagement. Recognizing a job well done produces more positive outcomes than you’d imagine, but on account of its simplicity, many companies overlook this solution to employee disengagement.

Companies that have managed to develop a company culture of recognition understand that it motivates employees by providing them with a sense of accomplishment and showing them that management values their hard work. Motivation leads to increased productivity and loyalty. This direct correlation is seen in the fact that under-recognized employees are twice as likely as their counterparts to claim they plan to quit in the next year.

Under-recognized employees are twice as likely to claim they plan to quit in the next year.

In order to be effective, though, recognition must be well-conceived and appropriately delivered. Workers do not appreciate an “everyone gets a trophy” system, meaning positive reinforcement should first and foremost be honest and deserved. For instance, unless they are a truly remarkable talent, companies should refrain from naming the new guy or gal employee of the month only several weeks after they’ve joined the team, as doing so tends to sour veteran workers on recognition culture as a whole.

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Further, research indicates that public recognition is typically the most appreciated, and that employees especially enjoy public shouts-out from either their direct manager (because they are an authoritative source on the employee’s work) or a C-suite executive (because everyone likes being noticed by the bigwigs).

And while verbal praise is generally your best bet, it isn’t the only form of recognition that employees value. This is where a learning management system (LMS) comes into play. Among the many ways LMS platforms helps engage your workforce, the “crowd-sourcing” of worker recognition is one of the most powerful. By enabling team members, managers, and execs alike to comment on, like, and share the achievements racked up by employees on its centralized company content hub, an LMS can facilitate recognition of the small, everyday successes that fall through the cracks between formal performance reviews.

These small reminders that management sees and appreciates everything an employee does go a long way toward guaranteeing that everyone stays engaged, productive, and satisfied. It’s a process as simple as it is powerful, and by boosting your workforce’s morale and overall company culture, it also strengthens your bottom line, drives efficiency, and attracts customers and employees.

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