Unleashing The Power Of Employee Recognition And Engagement

Unleashing The Power Of Employee Recognition And Engagement

What Is Employee Recognition?

Recognizing your employees means that you formally or informally congratulate them on their work that aligns with your organization’s goals and objectives. When leaders and managers omit this process, team members may feel that their hard work is ignored. They may start disconnecting and disengaging from daily activities and doing the bare minimum, as they see no difference when they go above and beyond. Therefore, employee recognition and engagement go hand-in-hand in keeping employees satisfied and productive. It’s not only higher-ups who can offer recognition but also team leaders or project managers who are very familiar with individual tasks.

The Link Between Employee Recognition And Rewards

Offering acknowledgment to employees doesn’t always come in the form of material rewards. Employee recognition and engagement begin by verbally appreciating one’s efforts and work outcomes, which offers a sense of accomplishment and makes professionals feel valued. Managers may offer recognition as often as they see fit through messages and one-on-one meetings. Rewards are a material extension of showing appreciation. Companies may offer gift cards, company lunches, extra time off, or paid vacations to commemorate someone’s achievements. Still, rewards should be meaningful and relevant to each employee. Additionally, organizations must be creative with their gifts and not offer the same over and over again.

Benefits Of Acknowledgment

Job Satisfaction

There is an undeniable link between employee recognition and engagement with happiness, as 82% of professionals admit they are happier when acknowledged at work. When their work-life balance is regulated, their morale is boosted at work and beyond. Their management shows them that they care about their mental health and not only about their performance. Therefore, work becomes a safe space, and each task is more enjoyable.


Team members sometimes work extra hours to meet their own and their company’s demands. When they are recognized for it, they know that their time and effort didn’t go unnoticed. As they maintain their stamina, they keep working hard to achieve new milestones without being burned out. The happier people are at work, the more creative their solutions to complex matters. In turn, profitability increases for organizations, and employee branding is strengthened.


When employee engagement is low and recognition is missing, your company may have trouble retaining its employees. On the other hand, when team members feel valued, they align their work with the company’s objectives and strive to achieve them. Everyone has a common purpose and is motivated to stay loyal to their employers since they feel like equal parts of a cohesive team that empowers every member and wants them to succeed. Consequently, the company can enjoy low turnover rates and spend much less money on recruiting.


Knowing that managers appreciate hard work and leadership offers rewards may push professionals to stop procrastinating and concentrate extra hard on completing projects. Rewards should be connected to long-term goals. For example, an employee may get a pay raise or promotion if their work results are immaculate. Not to mention, when people feel connected to their company and colleagues, they are motivated to step up their productivity and contribute to common goals.

Employee Relations

Managers who keep track of their teams’ efforts, offer constructive feedback, and create open dialogue build trusting relationships, helping everyone realize how important positive criticism is and that they can offer it to colleagues. So, employees also recognize their peers’ hard work when they see fit. As a result, workplaces become healthy environments where everyone can freely provide and accept feedback and build strong team bonds.

Types Of Employee Recognition


Monetary recognition may be offered to individuals or teams who have achieved their goals. It can be in the form of gift cards, free meals, paid excursions, and company merch, for instance. While you may not offer extra money to employees directly, you show them that you are willing to spend some toward their appreciation.

Written Appreciation

Offering a token of appreciation as simple as a handwritten note can be a particularly thoughtful gesture, and many professionals keep such notes knowing they can reread them during hardships. In moments of doubt, they can power up their confidence by remembering the nice words you’ve shared with them along their journey.

Verbal Appreciation

A few words of affirmation can reassure employees who are self-conscious regarding a project. So, managers and leaders should not refrain from complimenting a job well done. A simple “Good job!” or brief inspirational talk during a private meeting can work wonders for employee confidence. However, some may find it hard to remember verbal praise and draw courage and resilience from it in the long run.

Structured Recognition

Employee of the Month, Employee of the Year, and other similar awards are common formal ways to appreciate team members. Everyone knows the criteria for winning such titles and, therefore, works hard to meet them. Even for those who don’t win, these recurring awards keep everyone optimistic that they can succeed next time. But remember that you must make this a big deal for the winner without belittling everyone else.

Unstructured Recognition

This form of employee recognition boosts engagement and is more timely than formal appreciation. It also doesn’t require any unnecessary costs. Managers and leaders simply congratulate individuals during meetings and encourage colleagues to acknowledge each other’s work, building camaraderie.

Social Recognition

Appreciation shouldn’t always come from managers and leaders but also from colleagues. Team members can reach out to each other and offer praise for their hard work and accomplishments either publicly or privately. Employee engagement increases even more when recognition comes from their peers, as it indicates a healthy rather than competitive work environment.

Leader-To-Employee Recognition

When employees receive recognition from managers, their engagement and motivation to perform at a high level increase even further. Receiving praise from someone with greater experience means that they are doing a great job. Their approval also creates a good reputation and inspires peers to respect them even more.

How To Create A Meaningful Employee Recognition Culture

The most important step in building a strong recognition culture that increases employee engagement is being timely. Managers should offer appreciation the moment an employee meets an important goal or milestone. This way, their appreciation feels authentic, and team members don’t wait for weeks or months to find out whether their performance is commendable or not. Authentic appreciation, though, must be specific and tied to a particular task, project, or behavior. Mention what exactly the employee did well instead of generalizing, and make it clear how their individual work resonated and aligned with company objectives. When it comes to the form of appreciation, ask them how they would like to be recognized. Some people may prefer monetary bonuses, while others enjoy public acknowledgment. Lastly, not every employee may be equally successful, so don’t compare colleagues, but celebrate each person’s unique abilities and accomplishments, no matter how big or small.


Organizations should not recognize employees based on the hours they spend on a project. Sometimes, team members put in little effort but achieve great results for the company. Likewise, despite colossal efforts, some projects may fail or have less satisfactory results than expected. Active participation, innovation, and dedication must be celebrated regardless of the outcome. No one should feel punished if their endeavors do not produce the desired results. People never cease to learn from their mistakes, and a lost opportunity can be an invaluable lesson.