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4 frightening outcomes of a recognition-deficient culture


As Halloween approaches, many companies will be planning some spooky fun. From dressing up to creepy cupcakes, being creative and celebrating together boosts morale.

Scheduled events like this are a great way to build a fun ‘together’ culture. Something which organisations across the world are spending more time and energy into developing.

Creating an environment where employees can thrive, be happy and produce their best work is a holy grail for people leaders. And it’s a key factor in commercial success.

A number of factors help curate those positive cultures. And one area that increasingly gets recongised for its positive impact is recognition itself.

Numerous studies have highlighted the amazing benefits that recognition-rich cultures have on workforces. It’s a primary driver of long-term employee engagement.

Of course, recognition might not directly influence all measures of engagement or working culture. But a lack of recognition can lead to a chain of negative emotions and behaviours. For example, feeling underappreciated can lead to demotivation, which can impact everything from mood to diet.

With that in mind, here’s a look at four scary outcomes for workplace cultures that fail to adequately recognise employee contributions.

1. Low employee engagement

Let’s start with the big one. Employee engagement describes the extent to which employees feel truly passionate about their jobs, their commitment to creating great outcomes and how much effort they’re likely to put in on a day-to-day basis.

Organisations with highly engaged workforces have been shown to be more profitable. As a result, companies struggling to engage staff can expect negative outcomes. From high voluntary turnover to low productivity and reduced customer satisfaction.

The importance of the role recognition plays in driving engagement was highlighted in Aon’s 2018 Trends in Global Employee Engagement report. The report noted rewards and recognition as “the strongest driver of engagement”.

Gallup estimates that around 16% of the workforce is actively disengaged with over half just ‘turning up’. While factors such as poor leadership and development opportunities are also key, recognition has a pivotal role to play in turning ‘working for a pay cheque’ into ‘loving my job’.

2. A lack of trust

One survey from Tolero confirmed this. 45% of employees they asked said that a lack of trust in leadership was the biggest issue impacting their work performance.

Employee recognition has a big role to play here as it builds that trust between employees and management. Leaders with a knack for showing appreciation for effort and achievement will find their teams performing higher. And find them more willing to overcome hurdles – even during challenging periods.

And the direct act of recognition is the only element that builds trust. The feel-good vibes and positivity that flow in appreciative cultures increase trust between colleagues and management.

3. Low motivation and productivity

Motivation links intrinsically to productivity, and motivation inspires employees to meet deadlines and deliver results.

Organisations where staff members, whole teams or even an entire workforce lacks motivation are going to massively struggle to meet any of their corporate aims.

This ‘demotivation’ causes a deep lack of interest in and enthusiasm for work. It stunts individual productivity and affects business results. It’s one of the biggest causes for a bad atmosphere in the workplace.

And research shows not celebrating work outcomes and behaviour makes low motivation more likely.

4. Forgotten values and purpose

A culture that doesn’t appreciate or celebrate behaviours makes it difficult to embed company values.

On a basic level, employees need to understand how their actions and attitude at work are driving your company to a single aim. And understand how that behaviour fits into your company values.

Values-based recognition, where recognition links back to a company value, reinforces those values. This approach then makes it more likely and enables employees to continue to promote that value.

Will engagement give you a scare soon?

How active is your organisation when it comes to promoting recognition as a core fundamental of your working culture?

Do you have the tools in place to enable managers and empower colleagues to make showing appreciation for one another part of their daily routine? Find out more about how social recognition software can deliver for your business.

About Workstars

Workstars is the first global social recognition platform. Putting employee engagement and positive workplace culture to the heart of every HR strategy. Their market-leading technology is the heartbeat of our own social recognition platform, Shout!.