Workforce & Workplace
Recognition: A Key Dimension for Employee Quality of Life
Ivor MacGregor
Ivor MacGregor
SVP, Onshore & Mining, Energy & Resources Sodexo

It’s estimated that disengaged workers cost the Canadian business economy over $350 billion annually in lost productivity. According to the Management Journal’s semi-annual Employee Engagement Index, approximately 60 percent of employees are not engaged, 15 percent are actively disengaged at work and only 25 percent are actively engaged. Why are these statistics important to businesses and economic growth? To remain competitive and grow as a business, organizations must stay focused on winning the talent war by hiring talented people and proactively working to keep them. Turnover costs are high — and not just in terms of replacement expense.  It can also cost your company in productivity, and it’s demoralizing to other team members when they see good people leaving the organization.

Companies today are very focused on attracting talent by offering new incentives, like flexible workplaces to financial perks. But in their search for new ideas and approaches, organizations are overlooking one of the most easily executed strategies: employee recognition.

Employee recognition is a highly effective and proven strategy for improving employee engagement. A well-implemented employee recognition program improves morale, productivity, engagement and even retention. Companies without an effective recognition program will see demotivated employees and decreasing profitability and growth. This affects innovation, too:  the fresh ideas that drive organic growth usually come from motivated employees.

Recognition tends to be among the most commonly missed opportunities for engagement among leaders and managers. Only 33 percent of workers believe they receive timely and often positive recognition or acknowledgement for quality work, according to a recent Gallup poll. In any company, it’s not uncommon for employees to feel that their best efforts go unnoticed. Employees who feel that way are twice as likely to leave their positions within the next year.

Leaders who acknowledge and celebrate accomplishments drive a culture of recognition. This yields a couple of key benefits: First, employees feel valued for their work, which boosting individual employee engagement. Second, productivity increases and sends messages to other employees about what success looks like.

For example, at Sodexo, we recognize our people by providing honest, authentic and individualized feedback and honor how that employee wants to be recognized. We also encourage recognition from all sides including managers, peers and customers. We also offer employee development programs, which are a key part of recognition and retention.

Ensuring we invest in and continuously recognize our employees helps us maintain a culture of productivity and engagement. How do you recognize accomplishments in your workplace? Please share your ideas in the comments section.

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