How to improve organisational engagement and recognition

A new report from Achievers looks to address the disconnect between management and employees when it comes to engagement and recognition
By: | July 19, 2021

There is a clear disconnect between how managers perceive their employees’ levels of engagement and recognition to be, and employees’ actual experiences in the workplace.

In their Asia Pacific ‘Engagement and Recognition @ Work’ Report, Achievers also found that leaders were found to consistently overstate how satisfied they think their employees are — whether in terms of onboarding processes, team meetings, or manager check-ins.

The study ran in April 2021 and surveyed full-time managers and employees across different industries in Singapore and Australia to better understand their experiences and expectations around these metrics. The survey also examined the impact of the pandemic and remote working arrangements on these issues.

A key finding was that management consistently overestimates how engaged and well-recognised their employees are, often by a factor of two or three; and that events of the last year are only serving to intensify the problem.

Achievers’ research also found how organisations and their people view engagement as important, both conceptually and as a driver of business success. However, while managers may feel like they are on the same page with employee on these issues, it turns out that they are not. Employees, overall, are less engaged than managers think.

According to Achievers’ 2021 Engagement and Retention report, at least 15% of employees described themselves as being completely disengaged and actively looking for another job. A majority (74%) also wished they received more recognition for their work, and 85% felt that receiving recognition motivates them to work harder.

With frequent recognition leading to a direct positive impact on engagement, the disparity between what managers and employees think needs to be addressed, Achievers highlighted.

In Singapore for instance, 86% of managers feel that employees are recognised for their overall work experience – in reality, only 71% of employees agree with this assessment. Employers are thus, rating their employee recognition many times higher than what employees think or experience.

To bridge the gap, Achievers recommends three key strategies for managers:

Validate if you have a disconnect: Put in place better measures to listen to the evolving needs and demands of your teams. This includes establishing focus groups to receive on-the-ground feedback; use pulse surveys or single-click polls to encourage seamless participation; turn to employee recognition activity; measure retention rates; track productivity metrics; and hold exit interviews to understand what could be doing better.

Refocus on recognition: Some best practices to consider include both social and monetary recognition; including everyone in recognition programmes; publicising recognition within the organisation; encouraging frequent recognition; and leveraging recognition tools to ensure widespread adoption. Reward and recognition platforms are a must if organisations want to build a truly exceptional culture of recognition, Achievers emphasised.

READ: Incorporating D&I into recognition to drive workplace success

Stay adaptable: While bonuses and wage increases used to be effective recognition tools just two years ago, the modern workforce, now dealing with the pandemic and the effects of fragmented working, requires diversity, personalisation and digitalisation.

After all, organisations are highly individualised, and the motivators and challenges that employees experience can vary quite widely from one person to another, so having a recognition programme is just step one, but ensuring it is customisable and adaptable will be key to organisational success moving forward.

Last but not least, stay on the pulse of evolving employee needs and demands, by ensuring constant check-ins with teams – whether through town halls or individual employee surveys – and commit to investing in the future of their business, so as to build a culture where employees can truly thrive.

Click here for the full report and spur a rethink in your own organisation about identifying potential issues, and introducing employee engagement and recognition solutions to mitigate them.