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Are You Being Recognized?

By Jillian Broaddus and Chuck Cusumano

In our last blog article, we discussed the top secret to basic employee happiness – an ingredient that is largely absent in the American workplace: Appreciation.

As we reported, it is estimated that approximately 60% of American workers admit to “never expressing gratitude at work, or do so perhaps once per year.”

However, thanking your colleagues isn’t the only element missing; now, we want to take it a step further to talk about the need for simple recognition.

Having our efforts, accomplishments, or even basic presence recognized is an innate human desire. Science and studies have shown us that infants don’t just want, but need human touch to reach key developmental milestones. While baby sea turtles can instantly find their way to the ocean upon hatching and newborn giraffes can walk upright within hours of birth, humans are one of the only species that need consistent attention, aid, and interaction in order to grow into self-sufficient adults.

However, this need for very basic recognition is something that dissipates with age, particularly as we reach the time to join the workforce. While this lack of recognition can overlap with a lack of appreciation, it can also be as simple as having emails go unanswered, hallway greetings go ignored, texts be left “on read,” or projects completed with zero follow-up. We live in a world where we’re always connected, yet simultaneously so out of touch; more focused on the Tweets we put out than the conversations in front of our faces.

According to a 2018 Gallup survey, only 1 in 3 US workers claimed to have received any form of recognition in the previous week. Plus, a comprehensive Sirota Consulting study – spanning 89 countries’ workers over 10 years – reported that only 51% of those receiving recognition are satisfied with the recognition received.

So, why is recognition necessary beyond our childhood years? Recognition is tied to numerous vital factors of success in business – employee engagement, turnover, and productivity, to name a few.

In fact, when employees self-reported their own drivers of “great work” in a 2015 Cicero study, recognition came out on top:

Are you being recognized? As a leader, are you recognizing your people? If you need tips, we’ll have them in our next article – Stay tuned!

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