The post-Covid employee | Why we all need a little more recognition

Why we all need a little more recognition

If you feel like your efforts are being recognised, you don’t mind working hard. You’re prepared to put in that extra effort. In fact Quantum research discovered that when employees believe they will be recognised, they are 2.7 times more likely to be highly engaged.

This is backed up by a Glassdoor report which revealed 70% of employees feel better about themselves if their boss thanks them regularly. Flip the coin, and Gallup claim that lack of recognition is the number one reason people decide to walk away from jobs.

It’s no wonder that the SHRM Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey found that out of companies spending 1% or more of payroll on recognition, 85% notice a positive impact on engagement. So, if recognition is such a key driver, isn’t it time to review your employee experience to ensure recognition is optimised – and you’re embedding free and simple ways managers and peers can recognise their teams into your company culture?

We think so.

Since the start of the pandemic, leaders have built up a lot of trust with colleagues. So, there’s never been a better time to #SAYNOTONORMAL and build back better work with an individual and imaginative approach to recognition. And we’re not the only ones saying this. The Workforce Institute say employee-centred recognition is the number one thing that employees want in a post-Covid world.

So where do you start?

This isn’t just about setting up or bolstering your recognition programme (though that’s a good start). People are looking more closely at their personal purpose in life. And looking for more meaning in their work. So, this is about talking to colleagues. It’s time to offer a two-way partnership where people are empowered to ask for what they want – or tell you where they want to go. McKinsey’s research tells us that nearly 70% of employees say that Covid-19 has caused them to reflect on their purpose in life. And nearly 50% say they’re reconsidering the type of work they do because of the pandemic.

From our own research, it’s clear that people who live their purpose at work are more productive, happier, healthier and resilient. And if their purpose aligns with the organisation’s purpose, the benefits expand to include stronger employee engagement, heightened loyalty and a greater willingness to recommend the company to others.

Making recognition meaningful

Each employee will want something different from life. But while their purpose may be unique – there will be some common ground. If managers align recognition to these three key areas – but have the freedom to be creative within them – that’s a good place to start.

  • Purpose outside work – the most meaningful way to recognise a colleague’s work could be the simplest. An extra afternoon off during the school holidays, matching volunteer time outside work, an early finish before a weekend away. It all shows you understand the juggling act your people face – and how much you value their time in your organisation.

  • Purpose from work – recognition, career development and performance management should all work hand-in-hand. While career plans are important, line managers need to connect with team members to understand how they get the most meaning from work. Providing them with coaching on how best to give feedback and keep them motivated will help them recognise their team achievements with the reward of being able to do more of that.

  • Purpose from organisation – it’s important to remind colleagues of the great stuff being done by the team and throughout the company. Regular, immersive and engaging communications will do this – keeping the energy, excitement and personal connection high. And this is something that everyone can share in and contribute to.

Are you listening?

When research from Quantum shows that half of all employees want more recognition from managers, you know it’s time to think seriously. Talk to us and we’ll help you create a culture of recognition, where everyone can thrive doing the work that’s most meaningful to them.
Ask us about our other Future of Work packages and #SAYNOTONORMAL with McCann Synergy.


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We’re McCann Synergy and we plan, create and deliver insight-driven creative comms to connect with colleagues and drive culture change.

We’re proud to be part of the McCann Worldgroup, tied together with the belief that we can help brands play a meaningful role in people’s lives.

And that’s exactly what we do for clients globally, helping them activate their brand experience for colleagues, redefining the people experience to making their working lives more fulfilling and purposeful.