The Top 3 Ways Employees Want to be Appreciated at Work

Employee Appreciation

Does your organization appreciate its employees? What does your company do to recognize high performance or a job well done? Unfortunately, the financial importance of employee recognition and appreciation are not understood by many organizations. According to Gallup, turnover rates and employee satisfaction are both aligned with recognition received by workers. In fact, a recent Gallup study found that voluntary employee turnover in the United States costs organizations almost $1 trillion dollars per year. Those figures have also been increasing steadily for the last few years.

To find out more, SurveyMonkey partnered with Bonusly to study how U.S. workers feel about recognition within their companies. They surveyed over 1,500 employees to understand how their beliefs about recognition affect their thoughts and actions within an organization. Their results showed that public, positive acknowledgment encouraged employees to have a positive view on their career development and improves happiness at work. Recognition also can lead to more feelings of loyalty to a company, making employees less likely to pursue other job opportunities. Now, that you know why this is significant, here are the top three ways employees want to be appreciated!

1. Cash Bonuses or Raises

When provided a choice of a variety of ways an organization can recognize their performance, financial incentives were the most popular with employees. 57% of participants selected cash bonuses or raises as their preferred means of appreciation. When given an additional set of options, earning a $600 gift card ranked above an all expense paid trip to the tropics, a Michelin-star dinner with their CEO, and a dedicated summer intern. Employees value financial compensation for their work. Even if you can’t provide a $600 gift card, think of some other amount, or way to acknowledge their merit-based achievement.

2. Visibility to Leaders

20% of respondents to the survey chose visibility to leaders as how they would like to be appreciated. In some larger companies with hundreds or thousands of staff, employees might feel like they are just a number. For professionals hoping to progress or be promoted within an organization, networking with key leaders is a motivating benefit. Some organizations have exclusive groups, based on internal performance, where the members might interact with upper management and executives for lunch, dinner, and/or special events. This proximity to high-level decision makers within the organization might be helpful with career advancement in the future.

3. Awards

17% of survey participants indicated that attaining awards is sufficient recognition for them. The concept of company awards, plaques, and distinctions used to be the standard for employee acknowledgment. It seems that some people still prefer to be distinguished in that way. Organizations can maximize the concept of award recognition by posting them in a public place or listing them in their internal newsletter. Many employees prefer to list awards and honors on their resume, to set themselves apart from others.

While having a plan to recognize employees is important, organizations must also know how to appreciate employees. When companies implement effective recognition and rewards programs, they tend to see lower turnover rates and higher levels of employee satisfaction. A collaborative project by SurveyMonkey and Bonusly highlighted the top ways employees want to be appreciated. Receiving cash bonuses and raises was the first preference. After that, having visibility to leaders and attaining awards were chosen. What could your company add to its rewards programs that could motivate employees?

Porschia Parker is a Certified Coach, Professional Resume Writer, and Founder of Fly High Coaching. ( She empowers ambitious professionals and motivated executives to add $10K on average to their salaries.

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