Employee Recognition

10 Employee Recognition Statistics You Need To Know In 2023

Amanda Cross
Last Updated October 13, 2023

Understanding recognition from the employee's perspective can be challenging. While companies often speak about recognizing outstanding work, it's difficult to understand how recognition affects employee performance. Comprehending these issues becomes even more important once you decide to systemize staff recognition by investing in an employee recognition program.

Our customers often look for statistics to bring to their manager and executive board, so we wanted to make this process easier by surveying the people you care about most: full-time employees!

Nectar recently surveyed 800 full-time employees in the United States. We asked about various relevant issues related to employee recognition and company culture. Let's dive into what we found when we asked these critical questions.

Do you have employee recognition on your mind for 2023? Request a Nectar demo, and one of our sales representatives will give you a personalized walkthrough of our software.

1. 83.6% Of Employees Feel That Recognition Affects Their Motivation To Succeed At Work

On the Nectar blog, we’ve talked at length about motivation in the workplace. Companies are always trying to improve this, so employees feel excited about progressing in their careers and taking ownership of their work.

While older employees seem less affected by recognition, recognition highly motivated many subsets of workers. For example, recognition affects 35-44-year-olds, post-graduate degree earners, and workers earning $75,000-$99,999 the most.

Nectar Tip: Consider Motivation Types And Control What You Can

There are two types of motivation: intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external.) You can't control how internally motivated your employees are, so actions like increasing recognition can be an extrinsic factor that improves motivation.

83.6% of survey participants said recognition impacts their motivation to succeed at work

2. 77.9% Of Employees Would Be More Productive If They Were Recognized More Frequently

Did you know that employee recognition impacts worker productivity?

Our survey shows that 3 in 4 workers would be more productive if they received more frequent praise. We see even more significant results in:

  • 18-24-year-olds, where 85% would be more productive.
  • Workers making $100,000+, where 84% would be more effective.

Is your organization losing out on an opportunity to improve productivity with your current recognition routine? Consider how often your team members receive recognition and try providing more to see if it affects productivity.

Nectar Tip: See If Goal Attainment Improves With More Frequent Praise

It's time to experiment. Build out a spreadsheet based on goals from the last few weeks, months, or quarters (depending on how you set goals.) Mark goals hit and missed on the spreadsheet to get a baseline. Try providing daily/weekly recognition to these employees. How does their productivity change? Are they hitting more goals when you increase feedback? Try this for several weeks/months/quarters before you decide.

77.9% of survey participants would be more productive if they were recognized more frequently

3. 81.9% Of Employees Agree That Recognition For Their Contributions Improves Their Engagement

We talk a lot about employee engagement in the culture enablement space. When team members are engaged, they feel invested in the success of themselves and the company. Engaged workers feel positive emotions about the company, which shows in how they treat colleagues, customers, and their work.

4 in 5 of the workers we surveyed agree that recognition impacts their engagement. Diving deeper, 39% of these workers strongly agree with the correlation between recognition and engagement at work.

If we want employees to feel connected to company success, we must take the time to provide more consistent recognition.

Nectar Tip: Share The Love

Most projects that companies work on have input from various sources. As you wrap up a project, consider how you can support workers who burned the midnight oil with you. Who worked on what? How did these contributions make your life easier? Use these insights to provide recognition to your team.

81.9% of survey participants agree that the more they are recognized for their contributions, the more engaged they feel

4. Only 52.6% Of Employees Surveyed Have Employee Recognition Programs At Their Company

At Nectar, we spend a lot of time helping companies set up successful employee recognition programs. However, many employees still work at companies that need these kinds of programs in place.

Only half of our survey participants said their companies had recognition programs.

This split is the norm as we looked at different data segments; many workers we surveyed felt their company lacked an employee recognition program.

Nectar Tip: Recognition Programs Go Beyond One-Off Praise

Are you looking to improve how your company appreciates employees in 2023? It goes beyond one-off work. Your company builds a program when recognition is frequent and consistent. You don't need software to do that (though it helps.) Most important, you need buy-in from employees, managers, and executives alike. You can't be the only person giving praise if you want this to work.

52.6% of survey participants said their companies had an employee recognition program

5. When Employers Have Recognition Programs, Employee Value Goes Up

So, why does having a recognition program even matter? When you build out a recognition program, the number of employees who feel valued by their employers increases. While 92% of workers feel valued in companies with recognition programs, only 70% feel valued in companies without one.

This divide is significant, and lacking a program can create a work environment where employees lack motivation, productivity, and engagement.

If you wish to improve employee value by 32%, start building your recognition program.

Nectar Tip: Build Your Recognition Program By Starting With Your Why

Getting a reward and recognition program off the ground requires more than a sense of the numbers. While statistics are vital, they don't always motivate leaders and employees to act. We suggest starting with your organization's why to inspire employee participation. When your program engagement numbers drop, you can use your why to encourage more usage.

Here are some examples of the why behind an employee recognition program:

  • Having a recognition program would allow us to understand who our best leaders are so we can build career progression paths for them.
  • Starting this program would make it easier for us to see what’s happening across the company, so we can understand what’s happening and unlock growth.
  • This program will improve the relationship between managers, executives, and individual contributors by increasing positive interactions between each group.
Companies with a recognition program saw a significant increase in employees feeling valued by their employer

6. Most Often, Employees Receive Recognition Weekly

Receiving recognition in a timely and consistent manner is vital for workers in all industries. 31.5% of the employees we surveyed received recognition at work weekly.

~49% of the employees we surveyed get feedback daily or weekly. Unfortunately, there is a significant number of workers receiving recognition on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. Why is this an issue? Recognition can often lose its luster if there is too much time between the event and the praise.

Can you imagine doing something positive and getting acknowledged a year later? Teams deserve more consistent recognition for the great work they do.

Most often employees got weekly and monthly recognition at work

We must consider the dip in recognition frequency we see as our survey respondents get older. The older employees we surveyed were less likely to receive daily and weekly recognition and more likely to receive it quarterly and yearly. Are we giving older workers the recognition they deserve in the workplace? Even if some employees have experience and understand their worth, it's still nice to be noticed frequently.

Age impacts frequency of recognition with younger workers getting more frequent recognition and older workers getting less frequent

Nectar Tip: Consider Your Web Of Recognition

For the next week, take notes on how much recognition you are giving. Where does praise flow most seamlessly? Where do you hold back? Are there certain employees you need to get better at praising? How can you improve?

7. Weekly Or Monthly Recognition Has The Best Impact On Employee Value

We get an interesting story when we layer how often employees receive recognition on top of employee value.

While 98% of employees who receive daily recognition feel valued by their employer, only 37% of employees receiving yearly recognition feel the same. While daily praise may be difficult to keep up with, weekly or monthly shoutouts can be just as powerful. 94% and 88% of these workers feel valued by their companies when they receive feedback weekly or monthly (respectively.)

Unfortunately, feeling valued takes a significant hit once you slip into quarterly and yearly recognition. We should strive to build a weekly habit where we reward good work often.

Nectar Tip: Use Weekly Reflections To Give Feedback With Ease

Does giving consistent recognition slip your mind? Set aside a weekly time on your calendar to reflect on the week you just had. Ask yourself:

  • Were there any highlights or major accomplishments this week?
  • Did I learn something new from my team?
  • Did my team do something that went above and beyond?
  • What conversation or experience stuck with me this week?
  • How did the projects we are working on progress this week?

Once you finish reflecting, use those reflections to inform who you recognize that week.

When employees get daily or weekly recognition they feel more valued than employees who get yearly recognition

8. Manager Recognition Has The Largest Impact On Employees Across The Board

We put a lot of stress on managers. However, having quality managers on your team can significantly improve company culture. When we asked full-time employees to rank which feedback influenced them most, many shared manager feedback.

When we looked at the data across gender, age, education, income, and ethnicity, this was validated: manager recognition is the most impactful.

At Nectar, we talk with a lot of leaders. We often hear there is a recognition gap depending on the manager an employee has. This data tells us we need to do what we can to ensure that managers have the proper training and tools to recognize their teams regularly.

40% Of Employees Rank Managers As The Group That Has The Most Impact On Them Recognition-Wise

It's important to note that while managers took the number one spot here, CEO/Executives and peers matter too. For 33% of employees, CEO/Executive feedback is the best. For 28% of employees, peer feedback has the most impact.

Nectar Tip: Any System You Use Should Encourage Feedback From Managers, Executives, And Peers

Our research shows that various groups influence employees at work. Therefore, if you plan to implement an employee recognition solution, it must inspire everyone to get involved. Tools like Nectar will ensure that every employee receives the validation they need from work.

40% of survey participants ranked manager feedback as most important to them

9. 93.5% Of Employees Would Stay At A Company For Five Years If They Were Paid Fairly And The Culture Was Great

Is your company struggling with employee retention? You've probably heard phrases like, "People just don't want to work anymore!" But that's not the case. Employee expectations have changed a lot in recent years, but many employees want to work and provide for those around them.

Culture and pay can have tremendous impacts on employees. Workers want to love their job and companies while getting paid fairly for their labor.

These two elements are essential if you are struggling with recruiting and retention.

93.5% of survey participants would stay at a company for five years if they were paid fairly and the culture was great

Does Age Impact Tenure Decisions?

There’s a preconceived notion that younger employees don’t want to stay at organizations for longer than a year or two. Many millennials jump from employer to employer in search of something, but what are they trying to find?

When we asked this question, across the board, a significant majority said they would stay at a company that had a great culture and paid fairly. It didn't matter if a respondent was 20, 30, or 50. Employees want to stay at organizations for an extended period, but they need to be motivated.

What are you doing to build a culture that employees won't want to leave? How are you motivating them with money that will make their lives easier? It's not always about who can offer $250,000 right out of the box. Once a team member joins your organization, how can they grow with the company?

Age does not impact whether someone would stay at a company for five years if the culture was great and they were paid fairly

Nectar Tip: Build A Career Progression Plan

Once an employee joins your organization, do they know what it takes to go to the next level? Is there a specific time frame for raises and promotions? If not, work with your employee to create a career development or progression plan. What does the next stage of their role look like? What does it take to get there? These are the conversations employers must have with workers to keep them long-term.

10. 39.4% Of Employees Ranked Fair Pay As The #1 Reason They Stay At An Organization

We wanted to dive deeper and understand which variables affect employee tenure. It's not a shock that most survey respondents shared that fair pay made the biggest difference in their decision to stay with an organization.

Employees also ranked opportunities for career advancement as a significant reason they stayed with an organization.

The other variables we surveyed influenced employee decision-making, too.

  • Consistent Recognition
  • Great Company Culture
  • Connection With Colleagues
  • Passion About Company Mission

More than anything, this chart shows that there are various reasons employees choose to stay. So consider what you can offer (and what the employee wants most) as you strive to improve employee retention rates.

Fair pay is the variable with the biggest employee tenure impact

How Does Age Impact These Employee Tenure Variables?

So, what variables make the most significant difference to employees in different age brackets? Again, fair pay has the largest impact, no matter which age bracket you look at.

Fair pay is the most impactful to employees in the 45-54 age bracket, which makes sense as those workers typically have the most expenses as they pay for current bills and save heavily for retirement.

Opportunities for career growth is another impactful variable, but it has the most significant impact on employees who are 25-44.

Across the ages, fair pay has the most impact on employee tenure

Nectar Tip: Well-Rounded Companies Excel In All These Categories

While fair pay and opportunities for growth lead the way in tenure impact, all these variables impact how long employees stay at a company. If your company lacks in any of these facets, create a plan to address each of these variables.

Key Takeaways: What Can You Do With This Information?

Whew! We covered a lot of topics today. Recognition is more critical than ever because it influences motivation, productivity, and employee engagement.

When using this data in your organization, consider what recognition looks like at your company.

→How often are workers recognized for their hard work?

→Do all of your managers and executives treat recognition the same way?

→Is there a recognition difference between different groups (age, gender, ethnicity, manager, etc.)?

→Do employees feel you care about them and their wellbeing?

→What does retention currently look like in your organization? What are some simple things you can do to improve that?

As you use these statistics and answer these questions, you'll create a recognition and rewards system that works for your team.

Improve Recognition At Work With Nectar

What does your recognition system look like today? Does your company focus on manual recognition, or do you have recognition software in place? Nectar works with hundreds of companies to provide recognition and rewards for employees across the globe.

If these recognition and culture statistics have made you interested in how software can streamline this process, we'd love to chat with you about your needs. Request a demo, and one of our sales representatives would be happy to walk you through a personalized demo of the Nectar platform.

Create a culture people won't want to leave with Nectar

Actionable workplace tips & insights for fellow people lovers

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