Want to keep employees satisfied in their jobs without one foot out the door? Give them a little credit, a new OfficeTeam survey suggests. More than half (54%) of workers interviewed said they would be somewhat or very likely to leave their current position if they didn’t feel appreciated by their manager.
When asked what type of recognition they value most, 30% favour opportunities to learn and grow. Twenty-eight per cent would rather receive verbal or written praise, while 24% said they prefer tangible rewards such as financial compensation or gift cards. Interestingly, one in ten (10%) workers claim they don’t need acknowledgment for doing a good job.
The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with 229 Canadian workers 18 years of age or older and employed in an office environment.
Workers were asked, “How likely is it that you would leave your current position if you did not feel appreciated by your manager?” Their responses:
- Very likely – 17%
- Somewhat likely – 37%
- Not very likely – 26%
- Not at all likely – 16%
- Don’t know – 4%
Workers also were asked, “What type of recognition do you value the most at work?” Their responses:
- Growth opportunities (“I’m up for a challenge!”) – 30%
- Praise, please! (“I like being told my work is excellent!”) – 28%
- Rewards (“Show me the money!”) – 24%
- No need for recognition (“I know I’m doing a good job!”) – 10%
- Other – 9%
*Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.
When it comes to the amount of recognition employees receive, workers gave their employers mixed reviews: More than four in 10 (%) believe they’re acknowledged a decent amount, and 12% feel they get plenty of kudos. However, 47% found recognition lacking.
The survey also revealed differences by age: Workers between the ages of 18 and 34 are more likely than any other age group to leave their current position if they feel under-appreciated (63%).
“Professionals want to know their contributions make a difference and will be rewarded, especially Gen Y workers,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Because individuals like to be acknowledged in different ways, managers should find out what their workers value most and customize recognition accordingly.”
Although people enjoy different types of appreciation, some tokens of gratitude universally miss the mark. Following are five of the most common recognition mistakes:
- Not getting facts straight. Nothing’s more embarrassing than incorrectly acknowledging a person’s name or individual accomplishment.
- Offering token gestures. The form of recognition should fit the degree of achievement. Giving someone a stapler for his or her five-year anniversary, for example, sends the message the milestone is insignificant.
- Being vague. Telling employees they did a “good job” is a generic form of kudos. Tie acknowledgement back to specific actions so people know exactly what they did right.
- Going overboard. Recognition doesn’t need to be extravagant to be effective. Small everyday things, such as saying “thank you” or giving credit for good ideas can be powerful.
- Overlooking contributors. Although some workers naturally gravitate toward the limelight, don’t forget to also celebrate unsung heroes who help behind the scenes.
OfficeTeam recently launched “Recognition Gone Wrong” video bloopers to highlight funny examples of what not to do when acknowledging colleagues, along with a tip sheet on ideas for recognizing good work.