The Surprising Truth About Seeking Recognition At Work

June 05, 2014 4 Comments
Shocking Truth About Recognition
Today more than ever, organizations realize the positive impact recognition has on employee performance and engagement. Recognition, afterall, is a powerful way to show employees how they fit within the culture of the organization and encourages them to thrive in an environment of supportive feedback. (Source)

The abundance of research on the topic shows how valuable it is for companies to recognize their people. A culture of individual empowerment and autonomy, where people and team success is celebrated and encouraged, is a primary driver of high performance and a happy workplace. Here are some key findings on recognition:

O.C Tanner Institute research shows frequent and effective employee recognition is highly correlated to increased engagement, productivity, innovation, trust, and tenure.
When employees receive formal recognition for going above and beyond, as well as informal recognition for everyday effort they tend to have more drive and determination, better work relationships, improved personal standing, and stronger connections to their organization. (Source)
Gallup’s “Work and Workplace” report found that 69 percent of employees prefer praise and recognition from their managers more than financial rewards, and 82 percent of employees say such recognition inspires them to improve their performance. (Source)
If we work better with, and crave, recognition (78 percent of US workers said being recognized motivates them in their job), why aren’t we receiving it more often? We aren’t asking for it!

Workplaces have been changing at a fast pace. Most of us will have many more employers in the future than past generations have. We, the individual employees, are increasingly expected to be the master of our ships and ultimately held responsible for our career success. If we want the recognition we deserve for the work we’re doing, we can’t leave our boss, our colleagues and our many potential supporters in the dark.

A “Humble Brag” is Okay
Co-workers are a valuable support system. As much as we want to be praised unprompted, the reality is people are often not tuned in to what we are accomplishing. It’s up to us to “lean in” and let people see how our efforts are making an impact and to reciprocate by acknowledging and encouraging their good work. Doing so will pay off not only in making our work better recognized but also in stronger workplace relationships and culture of winning together.

A research study conducted by O.C. Tanner on The Effect of Performance Recognition on Employee Engagement found that among those who receive strong performance recognition, 86 percent say they have a strong relationship with their direct managers. More so, when employees are committed to their colleagues, they (and the company) will perform better.

Sharing progress at work and seeking warranted recognition can be difficult. But understanding its importance for our success and that of our peers will encourage us to give a shout out to co-workers and be less hesitant in celebrating our own accomplishments with them.

One way to feel more comfortable is to make it a part of a daily routine. Soon it will start to feel like a positive habit and and an important productivity boost. Need more proof? A respondent in the O.C. Tanner study said, “There is a community aspect to recognition. People see others getting recognized and they want it too.” If we start to speak up more about our successes it will encourage others to do the same.

The Bottom Line
If we’re not sharing progress or what we’ve accomplished, its unlikely to be noticed. We’ll spend our time at work feeling unappreciated, unmotivated and uncertain about where we stand.

Supporting our own success creates a more impactful and satisfying work experience for ourselves and favorable business outcomes for the companies we work at.

We’d love to hear from you! What are you doing to support your career success? Do you have any best practices for seeking recognition at work?

-Lolly Fitzpatrick