A strengthening U.S. economy and an improving job market suggest that the tide is shifting in favor of employees… giving them greater leverage to demand higher wages and a friendlier workplace or options so they can more easily switch jobs. There’s also ample proof that happy employees are far more productive and contribute more strongly to a company’s brand, bottom line and share price, so employers have every incentive to create a work culture that their employees can thrive in.
Moreover, the bulk of today’s employees view workplace happiness and overall job satisfaction as key elements in… where they want to work (employer brand/perception), how engaged they’re likely to be at work (employee engagement), how long they plan to stay with their employer (employee retention), whether they’d need higher compensation levels to stay at their current workplace (workplace happiness and job satisfaction), whether they’d recommend their employer as a good company to work at to their friends and colleagues (employee referrals), and a lot more.
Employee Recognition and Appreciation – the incredible influencer on workplace satisfaction
So while our earlier blogs have highlighted the things employers need to do to attract, engage and retain today’s talent, there’s one additional aspect – Employee Recognition and Appreciation – that a recent study by TINYpulse highlighted as “an incredible influencer on workplace satisfaction”… and they could not have said it better!
The study surveyed over 4,500 employees across the globe and found that a whopping 80% felt they were not strongly valued for the work they did. The study also found a strong correlation (with a correlation coefficient, r, of 0.55 for the statistics experts out there – with r between 0.5 and 1 signifying a strong positive relationship) between “recognition when you do great work” and “happiness at work” which clearly shows that employee recognition plays a vital role in impacting employee happiness, which in turn influences employee retention, workplace perception, and peer and supervisor relationships.
The study delivered four key insights that tie employee recognition to:
Better Employee Retention: Employees want to work for organizations that not only value their work but also recognize and appreciate them for it; the study found that employees who feel valued at work are significantly more likely to stick around and less likely to jump jobs for marginally better pay (with a correlation coefficient, r, of 0.56 between how valued employees feels at work and the likelihood they’d want to keep their current jobs). Statistics from TalentWise show that when employees leave, they take 70% of their knowledge with them, that it costs up to 150% of their annual salary to replace them, and as much as eight months for a replacement employee to become fully productive – so attrition comes with a steep price tag while recognition doesn’t cost a dime, metaphorically speaking!
Positive Workplace Perception: The more recognition an employee receives, the more fun they believe their workplace to be, and are more likely to recommend it to others. In the TINYpulse study, fully 70% credited their peers for making the workplace a fun environment while 8% credited work functions, parties and amenities for creating an engaging work environment. And fun made the work environment very or extremely motivating for 90% of those surveyed.
Improved Peer Relationships: Employees who are recognized tend to be more satisfied with their colleagues and want their peers to do well too (r = 0.47), and this leads to better workplace relationships, improved team spirit and greater information sharing and collaboration.
Improved Employee-Supervisor Relationships: This feel good aspect also translates to managers, so employees who receive appreciation and recognition from their supervisors and seniors tend to rate their direct supervisors more positively, are more open to input and more motivated to perform (r = 0.35).
So how does one meaningfully recognize and appreciate employees?
First, there are those obvious ways… such as above-average annual raises and strong doses of employee praise at annual performance evaluations… but, believe it or not, raises and positive evaluations could still leave employees feeling inadequately recognized or wondering how they did relative to their peers.
Next there are alternative, less obvious ways… such as workplace giving, matching contributions and volunteering that appeal to an employee’s higher sense of purpose and deliver significant workplace satisfaction beyond monetary and laudatory plaudits. Studies also show that giving delivers greater happiness than receiving and appeals to employees’ desires to make meaningful contributions to the world through their work. In addition, team based volunteering in support of shared causes and awards and public recognition for non-work-related contributions play an influential role in boosting employee happiness at the workplace.
The Answer: Employee-Centric Corporate Philanthropy
So… when done right, collaborative corporate philanthropy programs drive employee retention, improve workplace perception, boost peer relationships and improve workplace perception at virtually no cost… making workplace giving a clear winner that addresses each of the four vectors that the TINYpulse study also highlights as key drivers of employee retention.