How Can We Overcome Lack of Recognition at Work?

Emmanuelle Abensur
Emmanuelle Abensur
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Temps de lecture : 6 minutes

It’s a gesture all employees appreciate but rarely address openly and proactively when it’s missing: recognition. According to a study by the Jean Jaurès Foundation, 72% of British employees feel that their work is not properly recognized—either by their manager or by their human resources department. Whether it’s too-infrequent, irregular feedback, unclear responsibilities or goals, or just a general lack of recognition for the work they do, this can lower morale and well-being at work, increase quiet quitting and turnover, and erode the employer brand’s value.

These negative effects can of course be avoided by developing recognition—both collectively and individually. In this article, we explain how to recognize lack of recognition and what initiatives you can put in place to overcome it. 

How do you recognize a lack of recognition?

Before implementing dedicated initiatives, it’s first important to recognize the lack of recognition at work. Several weak signals can help you detect it in your team: 

  • loss of motivation
  • loss of meaning in work
  • reduced performance (individual and/or collective)
  • increased absenteeism
  • reduced employee engagement
  • reduced self-esteem
  • the impression that work performed is never satisfactory
  • loss of sense of belonging

To capture these signals, it’s important to talk to your employees on a regular basis—especially through individual interviews. In addition, consider regularly surveying your employees via quarterly HR barometers, for example. This will enable you to quickly identify the problems encountered by your teams, and in particular the lack of recognition. 

7 ways to bring recognition to work

Recognizing your employees’ value and work can even turn into an opportunity for your company. According to Deloitte, this leads to employees who on average are 14% more committed and efficient. It’s also a lever for retention, since employees who receive regular recognition for their work are 56% less likely to look for work elsewhere.

Here are seven best practices to put in place to reap these benefits.

1. Clarifying roles and responsibilities

The first thing to do to overcome the lack of recognition is to provide transparency around “who does what.” By clarifying each employee’s roles and responsibilities, understanding who’s implemented which initiative becomes easier, so you can recognize the work of those who deserve it.

All this role mapping can be carried out on our Holaspirit platform. Each role can be linked to skills, tools, projects, goals, and performance indicators. That way, anyone in the organization can easily identify what everyone’s working on.

Map roles on the Holaspirit organizational chart to overcome the lack of recognition at work
Map roles on the Holaspirit organizational chart

2. Setting individual and collective objectives

In addition to roles and responsibilities, clarity of purpose is also essential. This applies to individuals, teams, and the company as a whole. By setting clear objectives, you can more easily evaluate everyone’s performance, and thus grant recognition to the ones who’re most involved.

To simplify this process, you can use Holaspirit’s OKR (objective and key results) module. The OKR method allows you to define and link your objectives to quantifiable, ambitious (but achievable), time-defined key results. On the team level, objectives can then be linked to company objectives to ensure organizational alignment.

Set company and team OKRs on Holaspirit

3. Thanking employees

One of the main levers of recognition is, of course, giving kudos! According to Deloitte, 85% of employees want to hear a “thank you” during their daily interactions while at work. 54% prefer a verbal thank-you (shared face-to-face or via videoconference), and 31% a written thank-you (shared via chat or email). Adopt a blend of both to suit everyone’s preferences.

This form of recognition can come from your manager as well as your colleagues. Whatever your role in the company, don’t forget to compliment your peers on their work!

In addition to this “thank you,” explain exactly why you are satisfied, if possible individually or in small groups. You can also share it with the rest of the company if your employees are up for it. This will help raise their profile internally and keep them motivated at work.  

4. Valuing team and company successes

Of course, recognition isn’t just for individuals. Teams need it too—to feel that their work is useful and effective. So, if you’re a manager, remember to give a shout out for your team’s successful projects! This recognition can take many forms. For example, you can: 

Sharing publications on Talkspirit

If you work with other teams, congratulate them on their work too, and value their contribution so that they feel recognized. 

Indeed, a company’s success depends first and foremost on the work of its various teams. That’s why it’s also important to highlight the company’s successes. Have you signed a new customer? Surpassed your sales target? All these successes are opportunities to show how everyone’s work contributes to the company’s performance. So make sure you include them in your internal communications strategy!

5. Giving material rewards

To overcome the lack of recognition at work, you need to pay particular attention to your employees’ remuneration. Is their salary commensurate with their level of experience and skills? Is it in line with the remuneration of other team members? And does it reflect the value of each individual employee? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you probably need to make some adjustments.

Even if salary is a taboo subject, believe us: it all comes out in the end. Imagine that one of your employees discovers that he or she is being paid far less than a colleague with the same level of experience and skills. Naturally, he’ll start to question himself: is he less good than his colleague? less productive? less appreciated? These are all questions that can lead to a silent resignation, or even an actual resignation.

If you want to recognize the work of your employees, reward them with a pay raise, bonus, promotion, or other perks. This will have far more impact than mere words.

6. Communicating career development prospects

82% of employees would consider leaving their job because of a lack of progression in their job.

And with good reason: transparent communication on career prospects is a key lever for recognition. You show your employees that you recognize their potential, and above all that you want to develop it. This helps to create a motivating environment for your teams, because they know what goals they need to set themselves, and how they can achieve them.

Development prospects can be discussed by both human resources and the manager. In fact, you don’t necessarily need to wait for the annual performance appraisal meeting to discuss them. It’s up to you to plan dedicated 1:1, or to discuss them during your regular meetings. These exchanges can be documented in a collaborative document, which will serve as a basis for monitoring the implementation of your professional development plan.

To align practices, we also advise you to document your training processes and best practices on a platform accessible to all (Holaspirit, for example!).

7. Creating company rituals

Lack of recognition can sometimes be linked to a poor social climate or a feeling of isolation. This is particularly the case for employees working in full remote mode, who have little face-to-face interaction with the rest of the team. 

To develop recognition and a sense of belonging, we need to create rituals. Here are a few examples of initiatives to get you started: 

  • organize team-building events focused on recognition
  • suggest that employees take part in World Compliment Day (March 1)
  • share your customers’ positive feedback on a dedicated channel (that’s how we roll right here at Talkspirit!)
  • create a “thank you” group on your enterprise social network to thank employees for all their hard work and accomplishments
  • celebrate personal and professional anniversaries (PS: they’re right here in your Talkspirit shared agenda) 😉
Keep up with birthdays on the Talkspirit calendar

A final word

Lack of recognition at work is avoidable. There are concrete measures that can help you overcome it: transparency of roles and objectives, recognition of individual and collective successes, a boost in pay, regular feedback, and rituals. By following these best practices and implementing the right tools, you’ll be able to develop organization-wide recognition. Ultimately, this fosters an environment where employees feel psychologically safe at work and build long-term loyalty.

Download our ebook to discover what psychological safety is, and get best practices for developing it in your company. 👇

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