Recognition or Appreciation?


Most organisations today are trying to figure out how to create an engaging workplace.  Employee engagement is a top of the mind issue for most companies and especially HR’s as they have come to realise that in order to stay relevant they need highly engaged employees. A recent study shows that engagement level of the Indian workforce stands at 46% which is higher than the global average of 36% for the same. But still the fact remains that 54% of the Indian workforce is somewhat dissatisfied with their jobs.

When it comes to lack of employee engagement, employee recognition and appreciation are always amongst the top 3 reasons. 90% of companies and businesses have some form of reward and recognition programs, still job satisfaction among employees is declining. 79% of employees who quit their jobs state lack of appreciation as a primary reason. I hope you noted that its lack of “appreciation” and not recognition.

Recognition is positive feedback based on results and performances and so, such programs do not consider employees making mistakes or not achieving the mark. Yes, it feels good to get recognised for our good performances. However the limitation of recognition is that it is finite and scarce as it has to come down from the top management to hold value. Usually recognition programs revolve around monetary and non monetary benefits which are relatively easier to provide for most organisations.

If the reality is that it’s so easy, why is it that research shows that 2/3rd of employees are not engaged. It is because our basic need is ‘appreciation’ and not mere recognition. Authentic appreciation is tailored to individuals and requires some amount of openness to make it genuine. It is more about the people and what they are and less about what they do. Appreciation is simple and personal and it should mean something to the person at the receiving end. And to identify what is important to your employee’s, relationships need to build within teams, departments and the organisation. Because, appreciation works best when it comes from someone whom you want it from and it is usually expected from people whom you have a relationship with.

A study relating to motivation and productivity reveals that 23% of people are more effective when they are recognised and 43% are more effective and productive if they felt valued.  A pat on the back, few words of motivation to someone who is having a bad day or even appreciating an extra effort of a team member can do wonders. So I leave you with the question “What would you choose to motivate and engage your team or employees, recognition or appreciation?”

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