Have you ever had a job where it felt like no-one would notice if you just didn’t turn up? Where your extra effort was met with resounding silence? If you understand that feeling, then you already know the benefits of employee recognition at work. A shiny new company car or pay increase won’t help. You just want people to appreciate your effort. You want them to recognize your contributions.

Workplace recognition says that people deserve to be acknowledged when they deliver results. Some might argue that the wages you pay your staff are appreciation enough. We disagree.

If the Great Resignation has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t expect employees to put up with terrible workplace cultures because of money. One of the main benefits of employee recognition is that it helps to prevent your people from feeling like cogs in a machine.

How employee recognition benefits the wider company culture

So, why is employee recognition important? Broadly speaking, there are two types of workplace recognition to consider. Manager recognition and peer recognition. And both influence workplace culture in different ways.

Top-down managerial recognition is excellent for shaping employee performance. Managers can use it to encourage the behavior they want to see. But it’s also essential for establishing that manager/employee relationship that’s so vital for engagement.

Peer recognition is great for building up the connections between your employees. It helps create trust between your team members, which is important if you want them to collaborate effectively.

You might think that your employees trust each other. But a survey from Ernst and Young found that less than half of professionals globally trust their manager, employer, or colleagues. Giving your people a way to share peer recognition can help the to build much more confident working relationships with each other.

Zensai has a built-in focus on workplace recognition

Zensai encourages users to take full advantage of the benefits of employee recognition. Firstly, recognition-based questions are part of our check-in system. In these questions, users can tag specific colleagues using @mentions.

The best part is, employee profiles keep a running total of their number of mentions. That way, your people always know at a glance when someone has thanked them or recognized their efforts in an update. Being able to highlight each other’s positive performance has consistently been one of our most popular features with users.

Three benefits of employee recognition

Now you know the benefits of employee recognition. Here are three ways you can use employee recognition to build more engaged teams.

Motivation and morale

Firstly, workplace recognition is a vital source of motivation for your people. Being proud of the work you deliver is a core pillar of employee engagement. We’re social by nature. So, it makes total sense that we look to others to recognize our success.

The money we make doing our jobs is important, and people deserve fair financial compensation. But a generous salary and bonuses are no substitute for effective workplace recognition. Recognizing the contributions your staff make will help them feel content in their roles.

Another one of the benefits of employee recognition is its ability to reduce staff attrition. In a study, 82% of employees said recognition played an important part of their happiness at work. And 63% of those who were “always” or “usually” recognized at work said they’d be very unlikely to look elsewhere for another job.

Employee visibility

When you improve staff visibility via recognition, it highlights for everyone what a good employee experience should look like.

It’s not enough to quietly say “good job” in a private 1:1 meeting. You’ll see the most impact when you give employee recognition publicly. You could do that in an All-Hands, a company town hall, or through a Microsoft Teams Recognition Channel.

And we can’t oversell how important this is. Capterra found that more than half of employees say they don’t get enough recognition at work. Leaders need to set the example here. If your people see their managers and senior team giving recognition then they’re most likely to do the same too.

Recognition will also start to surface your hidden talent. You’ll start to see the extra effort that usually goes unnoticed. Public channels mean senior leaders, HR and other teams can see the great work being delivered by your people and the teamwork happening in unexpected places.

Rewarding employees who embody company values

Now, we’re generally the first to hype the benefits of employee recognition over quick-fix reward schemes. But that’s not to say rewards don’t have their place.

Problems arise when these rewards are used to pit employees against each other. Or when they’re attached to some arbitrary metric. But managerial and peer recognition give you a 360° bird’s-eye view of who’s going the extra mile.

You can use it to reward employees who embody your company values. We’ve seen customers use employee recognition feeds to support award nominations.

Recognition benefits employee engagement too

The link between employee recognition and morale are obvious. But you won’t feel the full benefits of employee recognition if you try to use it insolation. To develop a thriving work culture, you need to take a multifaceted approach. Workplace recognition is only part of that.

Other important aspects of managing workplace culture include:

  • Regular exchanges of mutual feedback for performance and workplace improvement.
  • Clamping down on toxic elements of workplace culture that negatively affect employee wellbeing.
  • Championing accessibility, diversity and flexibility in the workplace.

It may seem like a lot of plates to keep spinning. But, as long as you give your people a voice, regularly check in with them, and recognize their contributions, we’re sure you’ll find your way.