Gallup Survey Shows Worker Recognition Boosts Productivity and Loyalty

by: Nichole Gunn June 22, 2011

Recent data from a Gallup Organization study reveals that desired workplace results, including productivity and employee retention are dependent on managerial recognition and individualized feedback.

The study, reported in the Gallup Management Journal, consisted of over 47,000 workers from 116 different countries. The survey focused on 12 work environment declarations, and the respondents were asked to rate each one according to their level of agreement.

The declaration agreed with least was about receiving recent recognition from management. The respondents cited they had not received any form of recognition, including simple praise, within the prior week. They also cited that no one in management personally discussed the workers’ state of work-related progress within that prior week.

Chief scientist of workplace management and wellbeing for Gallup's workplace management program Jim Harter explained, “Managers often assume they give enough feedback or that people naturally know how well they are doing, or…assume that if they give no feedback, people will assume they are doing fine." He added that the organization’s studies demonstrate that effective managers and supervisors from around the globe offer feedback on a consistent basis. “Expectations are set and continually clarified through ongoing performance feedback and recognition."

Putting its own research findings into practice, the Brainerd Dispatch reported that a Minnesota county just approved and initiated an employee reward program - its purpose is to enhance employee satisfaction. Just about one half of the survey’s county employee participants cited they usually didn’t receive managerial praise or recognition. The plan was orchestrated and offered by a worker-driven committee, the Employee Recognition Committee.

Incentives proposed by the Committee include employee rewards that are offered on a regular basis. Achievements in various categories, such as customer service, innovation, leadership qualities, performance, community efforts, and greatest team improvement, would warrant a reward.

The Committee also proposed a yearly reward for outstanding accomplishments, as well as one for years in service, based on five-year increments. One other incentive on the table is the “creation of an Employee Association to support recreational and educational activities.”

All this, according to Board Chairman Paul Thiede, would help enhance employee loyalty.

Also talking with the Brainerd Dispatch, Commissioner Rachel Reabe Nystrom said she was in favor of the proposal based on research that shows employee productivity is increased in workers who sense they are acknowledged and rewarded for their efforts.

Another reason Nystrom supports the project is that it would be cost-free to the county.  Suggestions for the program’s funding include proceeds from vending machines and “logo wear sales.”