Recognition as well as reward is key to employee engagement

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Employee motivationRecognition and appreciation may play a major part in driving employee engagement, but money continues to be a driving force in people feeling appreciated at work; according to a new survey of more than 1,000 US-based employees conducted by BambooHR. However, money isn’t everything as 1 in 5 employees would prefer to receive a promotion to a higher title without a 3 percent raise in salary, instead of a 3 percent raise in salary without a promotion to a higher title. The research also found that employees who consistently contribute to successful teams and have the most responsibility are looked at as being more successful (in the eyes of their peers) than those who make the most money. Yet many employees never get that recognition, as just 40 percent only getting positive recognition a few times a year (or less). Unsurprisingly, one out of four of those employees are unsatisfied with their job.

In contrast, 94 percent of employees who receive positive recognition on a daily basis say they are satisfied or very satisfied with their company. And among the 1 in 5 employees who would prefer a promotion over a 3 percent raise, 68 percent would require a 10 percent raise or more in salary to take the money without the promotion to a higher title.

The research also found a difference between age groups, suggesting that younger employees are more eager to establish their careers by climbing the corporate ladder whereas older employees just want the money. It found 22 percent of 21-44-year-olds would take the promotion to a higher title without the 3 percent raise  and 13 percent of 45-64-year-olds would take the promotion to a higher title without the 3 percent raise

Employees would also like their entire organisation to be more appreciative of their efforts, as nearly one-third (30 percent) of employees would rather be recognized for their work accomplishments in a company-wide email from a company executive than receive a monetary bonus of $500 that isn’t openly publicised by a superior to their coworkers.

Women care more about the money than the recognition; as 36 percent of males preferred to be highlighted in the email, compared to 24 percent of females. Overall though, the research proves that positive recognition correlates with happiness at work as 94 percent of employees who receive positive recognition from a supervisor for their performance “daily or more often” are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their current job, and that number progressively goes down as recognition decreases.

The report concludes that: “it’s clear that employees feeling adequately recognized and appreciated for their work is a key factor in work satisfaction and engagement. So when it comes to recognizing and appreciating employees for their contributions, companies should consider the options and look to tailor their efforts based on their audiences to ensure optimal results.”

To download more information and an infographic on the research click here.