How Managers Help Build a Culture of Recognition

people communicating

During the Great Resignation, millions of Americans left their jobs voluntarily each month in search of something they considered better.

However, in many cases, what they were leaving was not their job, but their manager.

As cited in a report in Forbes, whenWhen presented with the choice of getting a different manager/supervisor or getting a pay raise, 65% of American workers would NOT choose the raise.

In today’s work landscape, it’s not enough for managers to simply fulfil administrative duties. Managers greatly influence company culture, employee happiness, and engagement. This is why it is imperative for business owners to ensure that they hire the most competent managers to lead their employees and provide and quality work environment. Engagement boils down to seeing the employees they manage as individuals, expressing appreciation for their efforts, and treating them with respect. Accordingly, employees will feel incentivized and will develop a sense of loyalty toward the company.

In 2008, Google undertook Project Oxygen to determine what makes good managers. Eight traits were initially identified and updated in 2018 to ten characteristics. They include:

  • Collaborates with team members
  • Empowers the team; does not micromanage
  • Expresses interest in team-member success and concern for their personal well-being
  • Good coach
  • Good communicator who listens and shares information
  • Has a clear team vision and strategy
  • Has key technical skills and uses them to advise the team
  • Helps team members with career development
  • Productive and results-oriented
  • Strong decision maker

You may have noticed that 9 of these ten traits involve soft skills – empathy, support, intuition, and being genuinely interested in the personal lives and long-term careers of the people they manage.

The Importance of Recognition

  • Companies with structured recognition programs experience nearly a third less turnover than companies that don’t. (Bersin by Deloitte)
  • Job seekers cite recognition for work as one of the primary reasons they are attracted to a particular company. (Willis Towers Watson)
  • Lack of appreciation stifles innovation; 56% of managers say they don’t share important ideas because they’re afraid they won’t get credit. (
  • Businesses overwhelmingly agree (72%) that recognition has a significant positive impact on employee engagement. (Harvard Business Review)
  • Seven in ten (71%) business executives cite a high level of employee engagement as critical to company success. (Harvard Business Review)
  • Companies that conduct sophisticated recognition programs are 12X more likely to experience robust and successful business outcomes. (Bersin by Deloitte)

How Managers Help Build a Culture of Recognition

Managers can play a massive role in building a company culture of recognition by encouraging employee engagement among those they supervise. Here are three strategies that should be pursued by anyone who manages people.

Give Regular Praise

Receiving recognition increases our joy and happiness by stimulating the amount of serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin in our brains.

While showing appreciation is pretty easy, the effects on the recipient wear off quickly. That’s why managers must give it regularly, often, and sincerely.

Research by Deloitte found that 70% of employees receive recognition either once a year or not at all. According to Gallup, employees who do not feel recognized are three times as likely to quit their jobs.

When a company’s engagement strategy has recognition at its core, the working environment improves, absenteeism and attrition decrease, and employees are more productive.

Provide Constructive Feedback

Constructive feedback is vital to helping someone get better at their job. Consider these findings reported by eLeap:

  • 40% of employees who receive little or no feedback is actively disengaged
  • Employees who feel their manager ignores them are twice as likely to be highly disengaged
  • 43% of highly-engaged employees get feedback once a week or more often; only 18% of employees with low engagement do

More than four out of five employees appreciate the feedback, even if it’s negative. Managers should not be afraid to give constructive negative feedback but must remember to do so in a manner that shows empathy and genuine interest in helping the employee succeed.

Build Positive Employee Relationships

In her doctoral thesis, researcher Helen Stockhult found that an employee’s willingness to take on responsibilities beyond their formal job description directly resulted from having strong social relationships with colleagues.

Another study by the Wharton Business School and reported in the Harvard Business Review found that helping a colleague for 10-30 minutes a day makes people happier and more confident.

Managers who want to build engaged employees will encourage cooperation among their team members.

Final Thoughts

Creating a culture of recognition in your company does not have to be difficult, but it does take some time. Managers are on the front lines of the effort, so it is imperative that they are completely competent and are ready to take on the responsibility of helping to create the best work environment possible for your employees.. 

Make rewards and recognition a part of your culture, and you’ll create an engaged workforce that’ll stay with you long term. To help achieve your recognition and engagement goals, let Xceleration step in to provide employee rewards and recognition software.

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