O.C. Tanner

Appreciate Employees Any Day of the Year

March 3, 2017
Even if you only do it once a year, recognizing employees for their contributions to the business, to safety efforts, to production and to corporate culture has far-reaching benefits.

Employee Appreciation Day is March 3, and even though employees should be recognized regularly for their performance and work milestones, a survey of over 3,400 workers around the world by global employee recognition and engagement leader O.C. Tanner shows that receiving recognition even just once a year, such as on Employee Appreciation Day, can make a significant difference in many facets of the workplace.

Results of the study, “Influencing Greatness: Giving, Receiving and Observing Recognition,” indicate that while people understand the importance of giving recognition, many don’t make a habit of it. Nearly one third of those surveyed – 29 percent – admit they haven’t given any recognition in the past month. Furthermore, it appears that even though fewer non-managers give recognition than their managerial counterparts, the non-managers who offer “attaboys” do so more often.

“If you want great work from your people, recognition is an incredibly powerful tool to achieve results,” says Gary Beckstrand, a vice president at the O.C. Tanner Institute, the research arm of O.C. Tanner. “As employees give recognition more, their motivation to contribute increases, as does their support of company values, likelihood to recommend the organization, willingness to go above and beyond, desire to be working at the same organization in one year and many other metrics that most businesses would love to improve.”

When the researchers at O.C. Tanner Institute examined the results, they said the most compelling numbers came when they looked at the combined effects of all types of recognition: giving, receiving and observing. Of the employees who said they had received, given or observed recognition, there was a total increase of 591 percent who considered themselves engaged in their work and workplace. There was a 420 percent increase in employees who say they have “excellent” wellbeing.

“Employee appreciation and recognition is vital to a thriving company culture,” Beckstrand points out. “While an organization can’t require its employees to be passionate, committed or caring – all attributes that signify strong employee engagement – it can create a culture that people want to engage with.”

The study found that employees who received recognition at least one time in the past 12 months saw marked improvements in several areas over employees who didn’t receive any recognition:

  • Engagement – 26 percent of employees are engaged vs. 16 percent 
  • Wellbeing – 11 percent of employees have “excellent” wellbeing vs. 5 percent 
  • Motivation – 67 percent of employees are highly motivated to contribute to the success of their organization vs. 46 percent 

Adds Beckstrand: “Who doesn’t want to come to work every day full of passion, commitment and caring when the people around you notice your effort, celebrate your career and life and reward the results of your work? In the end, recognition is an important aspect of any great culture and in order for it to be successful, all levels of employees must participate and take part in giving recognition.”

Credit: O.C. Tanner
About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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