The Link Between Employee Recognition and Performance

The Link Between Employee Recognition and Performance

Aug 18, 2022, 12:09:13 PM Business

Are you looking for a way to boost employee performance, but can’t afford to give out cash bonuses or incentives? You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get better performance. You might just get the best results if you don’t spend a lot.


Employee recognition is a very cost-effective way to boost productivity, morale, and overall performance among your workforce. A relatively small amount of appreciation can have a big effect on an employee’s sense of motivation, satisfaction with the company, and performance. Here’s how recognizing your employees’ hard work on a regular basis can encourage them to keep working hard and doing well.

People Perform Better After Accolades

You might think that giving people higher wages or rewarding them with cash bonuses would inspire a lot of motivation. Of course, cash bonuses and pay raises have their place in any good employee recognition program. But research shows that people may actually perform better when they receive non-cash accolades. 


Symbolic awards – like thank-you notes and cards, plaques and trophies, certifications and public recognition – are just as valuable to some people as money. For many people, appreciation means more than money. You can’t buy the trust that grows between people when words of praise and gratitude are exchanged. Symbolic awards can heavily influence intrinsic feelings of motivation, and have a direct link to performance.

Recognition Makes Motivation Contagious

Recognition isn’t just good for the people receiving it. It benefits the organization as a whole. One study found that when the top performers in a working group are recognized publicly (the researchers used a thank-you card), performance improved for all members of the group. Giving public accolades to top performers gives other employees something to strive for. It lifts the threshold for expectations. They’ll work harder to meet the new standard that has been set for performance, and because they now know they can trust that their contributions are seen and valued.

Praise Nurtures Engagement

 Employee engagement is so important for the success of your company, and recognition plays a key role in keeping employees engaged. Regular recognition – delivered at least once a week – keeps your employees’ motivation up and keeps them performing at a higher level. They’ll be more interested in their work if they feel like you’re noticing when they do a good job.


The personal nature of effective recognition means that recognition can encourage the growth of relationships between managers and their teams and even between team members. It’s important to get to know employees well enough to at least know what forms of recognition will be most meaningful for them – one might appreciate extra time off, while another wants public praise and still another would prefer a word in private. Once you know how each of your employees wants to be recognized, you can do so in a way that makes them feel seen.


Recognition should be flowing freely between all members of the team. It should come from managers, but also from peers. A culture in which recognition is a priority and praise is freely handed out is one in which everyone trusts one another, and works together efficiently. 

Engaged Employees Stick Around Longer

These days, people are job-hopping like crazy. The average Millennial stays at a job for two years and nine months, while the average Zoomer stays just two years and three months.


Turnover like that can, and does, get expensive for companies. Turnover costs a collective $1 trillion a year in the United States. It’s a largely preventable cost. All you have to do is make employees want to keep working at your company for a longer period of time.


Handing out recognition on a regular basis can improve retention. Employees who feel appreciated by their bosses appreciate their bosses back, and that can lead to longer average tenures with the company. Employee recognition helps encourage a healthy company culture, one where people feel that their contributions are valued and that they themselves are valued as real people and unique individuals. 


Can you get better performance out of your employees with just a few words of praise and gratitude? Of course you can! Employee recognition has direct links to motivation and performance. It can also increase employees’ feelings of commitment towards the company. Encourage your employees to work harder and foster a culture in which people trust one another and work together smoothly. Put together your own employee recognition program and reap the benefits.


Published by RankCastle Publishers

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