Bad Equation: No Recognition = Lost Productivity & Lowered Performance

In a guest post on the Great Leadership Blog, Dr. Paul White (coauthor of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace), offered these statistics (I wish I could say these were startling):

  • 65 percent of workers say they have received no recognition or appreciation in the past 12 months.
  • While 80 percent of large corporations have employee recognition programs, only 31 percent of their employees say they feel valued for doing good quality work.
  • The #1 reason for recognition in most workplaces is longevity (how motivating is that?).
  • Only 8 percent of employees feel their top management cares about them personally.
  • Some 70 percent of employees are either disengaged or under engaged in their work.
  • Yet only 21 percent of these workers are looking for work elsewhere, meaning approximately 50 percent of the workforce are just passively enduring work they don’t enjoy.

Numbers show employees don’t feel appreciated

Compare these to results from the September 2011 Workforce Mood Tracker Report from Globoforce, which found in part:

  • 39 percent of workers don’t feel appreciated at work.
  • 52 percent are dissatisfied with the level of recognition they receive.
  • 78 percent of U.S. workers said being recognized motivates them in their job.
  • 69 percent said they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized

The bottom line: employees don’t feel appreciated for what they do, but they would be much more motivated and work considerably harder if their efforts were noticed and someone simply said, “Thank you” for more than not quitting.

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Noticing the efforts and achievements of those around you, then pausing to express your appreciation costs no more than time. What’s your excuse?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at


2 Comments on “Bad Equation: No Recognition = Lost Productivity & Lowered Performance

  1. Not shocking at all Derek.  It is amazing.  I talk about this all the time with employees and friends.  The CARE Movement is working to improve morale in the workplace.  The CARE acronym is; Communicate, APPRECIATE, Respect, Encourage.  It is something we all must Practice.  Especially management.  Starts at the top with the CEO’s.  They need to set the example. Just a pat on the back works wonders.  Love this Mary Kay quote;

    “There are two things people want more than sex and money; Recognition and Praise”

    So true.  Inded.  Thanks Derek.


  2. While it’s great to be metrics driven and understand our HR-related problems in the organization, we need to tackle the very core of this problem. How do you define “recognition” and how do others define the term? Is it a gift presentation in front of the entire company? Is it a pay raise? Is it serious praise during the next one-on-one session? I’m sure the feeling of recognition is different for all employees across all organizations.

    If we were to break it down at a large corporation I’m sure “recognition” could mean a pay raise and/or title change. Whereas at one of our expansion stage tech startups here at OpenView, recognition could be giving a top-performer more responsibility, more freedom, more face time with customers. We won’t be able to solve these types of problems until we understand the very core of the issue. Great post either way!

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