Employee Recognition: Why Is It Important?

Whether it’s a plaque on the wall, a hefty bonus, or a simple note, employees who receive recognition in the workplace are more confident, more likely to stick around, and more likely to do better work with increased creativity. Nonetheless, a Workhuman report found that 81% of leaders do not prioritize employee recognition in their organizations. Furthermore, 73% of senior leaders revealed that they do not provide managers with training on how to recognize employees.

What Is Employee Recognition?

Employee recognition is the act of showing gratitude for a worker’s efforts. Employee recognition may be as grand as an award or reward or as simple as a note left on someone’s desk.

Why Is Recognition Important?

The importance of employee recognition cannot be overlooked. A “culture of recognition” is one of the main contributors to a positive work environment, which Deloitte says makes your workplace “simply irresistible” to workers.

Recognition also helps workers grow as employees and people. Many people often have trouble seeing their own strengths, so recognition of their good qualities and work can boost confidence and self-awareness.

What Are the Benefits of Employee Recognition?

Attract Top Talent

In an SHRM-Globoforce survey, 56% of HR professionals said employee recognition programs have a positive impact on attracting top talent to a company. Employees are looking for a culture of recognition and want to see that the company is investing in its workers in more than a monetary way.

Employee Retention

In the same SHRM-Globoforce survey, 68% of HR professionals agreed that employee recognition has a positive impact on keeping employees around. Workhuman says a company of 10K employees can save $16.1 million in turnover costs yearly when they concentrate on employee recognition efforts.

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation will naturally follow when employees feel valued, confident, and empowered. Recognize not only the person and their efforts but be specific about how their efforts contributed to the overall organizational purpose. This will help employees see the impact they are making, which will spur them on to do even greater things for the company.


In an Indeed study, 96% of respondents say increased confidence in their company and their skills makes them more likely to stay at that job. A skillful way to grow confidence is to reinforce how well someone is doing in their job. Hearing praise and receiving recognition are morale boosters.


It’s no secret that recognition for efforts and ideas can increase creativity. In a Dale Carnegie survey, companies deemed highly creative had 61% of employees who agreed their manager makes them feel valued through recognition. In a less creative company, that percentage was only 17%.

Ten Ways to Recognize an Employee

The employee recognition experience is different for everyone. Some workers may love social praise, while others would feel uncomfortable. Some people appreciate gifts or bonuses, while others would value a handwritten note. Finding the best way to recognize each employee is critical to engaging them.

You can show employee recognition by…

  • Saying thank you; a quick recognition of someone’s help or efforts can go a long way in showing appreciation.
  • Sending a card; sometimes, something as simple as a thank-you note can boost confidence.
  • Praising publicly; many employees enjoy the spotlight especially when they are verbally recognized in a meeting or in front of peers.
  • Acts of service; doing something nice for someone shows gratitude because you are giving your time and effort to make their life easier.
  • Remembering names; knowing people’s names shows that you care about them and their contribution to the company.
  • Offering gifts and bonuses; still relevant, but don’t rely too heavily on this category, as fewer employees are responding to material bonuses.
  • Assigning more challenging projects; workers who complete excellent work can be assigned more difficult or important projects to show their efforts and skills are being recognized.
  • Giving random surprises; providing a staff lunch or giving someone a half day off are great surprises to use as rewards for good work.
  • Making a staff webpage; show appreciation by recognizing employees on an About Us or Staff page of the website or on social media.
  • Providing upskilling opportunities; think of what skills are relevant to each employee and show recognition for their needs by providing training opportunities.

How to Increase Employee Recognition

Knowing how to give recognition is  different from being able to put these ideas into action. You can increase your employee recognition skills by…

  • Putting a coin in your pocket; anytime you feel the coin during the day, show recognition to someone.
  • Increasing self-awareness; once we understand ourselves better, we can be more cognizant of our actions and how they affect others.
  • Setting calendar reminders; recognizing someone on their birthday, work anniversary, or any other special occasion can be a pleasant surprise for employees.
  • Boosting formal employee recognition programs; formal systems and policies can increase recognition, boost employees overall, and make recognition second nature to the company culture.

Recognition in the workplace is essential for happy and productive employees, whether it comes from an individual like a manager or the entire company. . To learn more about empowering employees through recognition in the workplace, download our whitepaper or contact Dale Carnegie today for training opportunities