Employee recognition ought to be a simple matter of, “Here’s a pat on the back for a job well done,” but according to Victor Lipman at Forbes, it’s anything but a simple issue. In fact, there are decades of surveys that all point to the same problem – employees are chronically under-praised.
The Award for Best Employee Recognizer Goes to…Nobody
The typical company reaction is to sponsor formal bureaucratic “recognitions” days, months, awards, or whatever. In reality, employees just want the praise to come directly from their manager in the form of, well, you know, maybe a brief “thank you” for starters. Lipman recognizes the fallacy of giving praise where none is due, and yet he admittedly has no answers regarding this unsolved mystery:
All of these small but valued forms of management recognition have a common cost: zero dollars and zero cents. And all have a common management investment of time and energy: minimal. So why is this kind of recognition a…management stumbling block? Why are employees so frequently frustrated by managers who are parsimonious with praise?
Some companies are better at recognition than others, and yet average employee engagement levels are still hovering at an abysmal 30%. The statistics stare us bleakly in the face. What this means is that the majority of employees who report emotional detachment and non-committed attitudes toward work are most likely suffering from a basic lack of recognition.
In absence of an explanation, Lipman solicits his readership by asking Why is employee recognition a big persistent problem? Instead of answering this (possibly rhetorical) question, here’s one solution: The next time someone in your employ is working above par, turn around and say, “Hey Bob, nice job.” Perhaps even a thumbs-up will do.