Globoforce, an employee engagement and retention consulting firm, Southborough, Mass. surveys fully employed workers in the United States twice a year. The company’s Spring 2012 survey found an increase in the number of companies that have employee recognition systems, from 51% in its Fall 2011 survey to 65% in its current survey.

Having a system is not always enough—the frequency of the recognition is also important. The survey found that 41% of respondents haven't been recognized in the last six months or longer—that number is down from 43% of respondents in Fall 2011—but it still represents a big opportunity for companies to increase employee engagement at their organizations, and a big opportunity for companies that practice recognition to lure employees from those who do not. When employees were asked if receiving recognition made them more satisfied with their work and/or position in the company, 81% said yes.

Lower Turnover

According to the survey, 55% of workers say they would leave their current jobs for a company that clearly recognizes its employee efforts/contributions. That's 10 percentage points higher than in the Fall 2011 survey. Employees have made decisions to leave based on this factor—47% of them list lack of recognition or negative company culture as a reason for leaving their last company—up from 41% in Fall 2011. Of those who have been recognized in the past three months, only 23% are considering a job change. That is versus a 51% likelihood of jumping ship from those who have never been recognized.

Recognition makes employees feel more engaged, more likely to stay, and also motivates them: 82% said being recognized actually motivated them in their jobs. And 78% of workers said they would work harder if their efforts were better recognized and appreciated, up from 69% in 2011.
Though the employees surveyed work at companies with a staff size of 500 or more, Globoforce’s findings apply to smaller businesses as well. The company offers these five findings drawn from the survey results:

1. Employee recognition is moving to center stage. More companies are using recognition, more employees are being recognized, and more employees are factoring recognition programs into how they measure job satisfaction.
2. Frequent recognition and employee satisfaction go hand-in-hand. Regular recognition correlates with satisfaction, feeling appreciated, and feeling more effectively recognized by management. People who are recognized are much more likely to love their jobs.
3. Failure to recognize may result in higher turnover. Employees are more likely to jump ship for a job at a company that recognizes their employees, and many of them have done so. Recognized employees are much more likely to stick around.
4. Appreciation=Motivation. Recognition provides motivation and employees say that more recognition and appreciation would motivate them to work harder.
5. Culture matters. More employees value a strong, positive company culture. Where almost half of company cultures currently fall short, recognition represents an opportunity to reverse that trend.—Nina Patel, Senior Editor, REMODELING

About the survey: The Globoforce Mood Tracker Survey was conducted by Globoforce from March 16-19, 2012. This is the third deployment of the semi-annual survey since its launch in Spring 2011. This edition of the survey was conducted by independent market research firm MarketTools. The final sample of the survey was composed of 653 randomly selected, fully employed persons in the United States (aged 18 or older) who are employed at organizations with a staff size of 500 or more employees. The survey had a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points at a 95% level of confidence. Click here for the full report.

More REMODELING articles on employee satisfaction and company culture:

Oh, Won’t You Stay: Don’t let good times steal away your employees.

We Are Family: Building and maintaining company culture in the field.

The #1 Employee Benefit: A blog about creating satisfied employees.