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Generic recognition won’t win over employees, study shows

Receiving praise goes a long way for employee motivation and engagement, and Australian firms are currently lacking in giving effective recognition, a new study shows.

Surveying 500 employees around Australia, Reward Gateway, the employee engagement company, found that generic and annual recognition or rewards are inadequate. In fact, employees demand to be recognised in more timely and meaningful ways.

Of those surveyed, 23% of employees surveyed noted they liked receiving praise at a single event or function and almost two in three (64%) of employees agreed that their managers could do more to praise and thank them in a timely, specific way, highlighting the importance of in-the-moment recognition.

In addition, three quarters (75%) of employees agreed that motivation and morale would improve at their company if managers said thank you more and noticed when people do good work.

The research also found two in five (40%) of employees are feeling their manager unfairly rewards certain people over others, while 29% agreed they had received a reward that didn’t reflect the work put into it.

According to the research, currently employers are investing $46 billion globally on employee reward and recognition initiatives, however, the modern workforce requires more than is already being given, as it values recognition that is timely, consistent, and fair over that which is generic or invisible.

In the research Reward Gateway CEO Doug Butler says, “Companies need to be investing in the right kind of recognition and reward programs that fit both the employees and company’s goals, and were focused on helping our clients to deliver recognition programmes that create an environment where their people can be motivated and engaged.”

Presbyterian Homes is an independent, not-for-profit, senior living provider in the Chicago area and a Reward Gateway client.

Chief operating officer Nadim Abi-Antoun comments on its approach to reward and recognition at work.

“We have over 1,200 employees who represent multiple generations and work in a wide variety of locations and environments from nursing, to dining, to maintenance and operations.

“We know that consistent and timely recognition is a powerful driver of employee engagement for our entire workforce. This positively impacts retention and our ability to provide a high level of care and support to our residents and their families.”