Globally, one in four employees strongly agree that they have received recognition or praise for doing good work in the last week.

The important phrase here is “in the last week.” Employee engagement requires consistent, frequent action from managers and leaders. Annual or quarterly awards and accolades are not enough to improve worker performance. However, based on Gallup’s analysis, if organizations could move the ratio on this item from one in four to six in 10, they could see a 28% improvement in quality and a 31% reduction in absenteeism.

​But the impact goes beyond productivity. A 2015 Gallup study of German companies found that receiving regular praise and recognition was a key factor in employee burnout and wellbeing. Most organizations think about wellbeing in terms of health insurance. Consider that having a culture of recognition may be as essential to the overall health of your workforce as a gym discount.

If you are a manager or leader, it may be worthwhile to solicit candidates for recognition and put it on your weekly to-do list.

​Leaders who unexpectedly find themselves with a remote workforce need to realize that people who work from home still need their psychological needs met. That includes the need to be recognized, noticed and appreciated for exceptional work.

​Here are a few ways leaders can initiate a remote culture of recognition:

​- Start your next team meeting by recognizing someone on the call who did exceptional work in the past week while working remotely.
– Every Friday, think of three people who really helped you this week. Recognize them privately or publicly, based on your knowledge of what they prefer. (If you don’t know how they like to be recognized, ask.)
– Find creative ways to make recognition special. For example, send a note through traditional mail.
– If your team is fully remote, establish regular, nonrequired virtual hangouts for employees to connect socially. Use these times to encourage, support and praise your team.

Recognition begets recognition. When a leader recognizes others, they act as a role model. When employees see this behaviour from leaders on a regular basis, it becomes an unwritten expectation, part of “the way we do things around here.” It’s not a rare or exceptional event. It becomes part of the culture.

Thank you to NATE DVORAK AND RYAN PENDELL, Gallup, September 202