How Managers Help Build a Culture of Recognition

people communicating

During the Great Resignation, millions of Americans voluntarily left their jobs each month.

However, in many cases, they weren’t just leaving their job: they were leaving their manager.

According to a report from Forbes, when presented with the choice of a new manager/supervisor or a pay raise, only 35% of American workers chose the raise.

In today’s workplaces, it’s not enough for managers to just fulfill administrative duties. Managers greatly influence company culture, employee happiness, and engagement. This is why it is essential for business owners to ensure that they hire the most competent managers to lead their employees and provide a quality work environment. Engagement comes down to viewing employees as individuals, expressing appreciation for their efforts, and treating them respectfully. Accordingly, employees will feel desired and will develop a sense of loyalty toward the company.

In 2008, Google unveiled Project Oxygen to determine the qualities of good managers. They initially identified eight traits, later adding two more in 2018.

According to Project Oxygen, a good manager:

  • Collaborates with team members
  • Empowers the team; does not micromanage
  • Expresses interest in team-member success and concern for their personal well-being
  • Is a good coach
  • Is a 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
  • Is productive and results-oriented
  • Is a strong decision maker

You may notice that 9/10 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 employee recognition programs experience nearly a third less turnover than companies that don’t. (Bersin by Deloitte)
  • Job seekers cite employee recognition for work as one of the primary reasons they are attracted to a particular company. (Willis Towers Watson)
  • Lack of employee appreciation stifles innovation; 56% of managers say they don’t share important ideas because they fear they won’t get credit. (
  • Businesses overwhelmingly agree (72%) that recognition culture 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 encourage a culture of recognition 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 creating 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 relatively easy, the effects on the recipient wear off quickly. That’s why managers must show appreciation 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 includes meaningful employee recognition, the working environment improves, absenteeism and attrition decrease, and employees are more productive.

Provide Constructive Feedback

Constructive feedback is vital to helping all types of employees. Consider these findings reported by eLeap:

  • 40% of employees who receive little or no feedback are actively disengaged
  • Employees who feel ignored by their manager 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 receive such feedback

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 cultivate engagement should 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 must lead by example, so it is imperative that they are entirely competent and ready to take on the responsibility of helping to create the best work environment possible for their employees. 

Make employee recognition and rewards part of your culture, and you’ll create an engaged workforce that will stay at your company. To achieve your recognition and engagement goals, let Xceleration help create a culture of recognition through our industry-leading software.

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