We’re conditioned to believe that hard work is rewarded and those rewards will make us happier and our work will be more meaningful. But what happens when you work really hard and no one notices?
There are many factors that motivate us to work. We work to pay the bills, but we also work for a sense of purpose, identity, fulfillment, and a connection with others. Human motivation is incredibly complex, and money may not even be at the top of the list. In fact, the transaction of money for work may be a demotivating force.
According to the 2019 TINYpulse Employee Engagement report, only one third of employees said they are recognized when they go the extra mile, and only 25% feel they are valued for the work they do. As one of the largest databases in the world for employee feedback, this report includes data from over 25,000 employees across 20 industries in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia from January to December 2018.
The report uncovered a few other interesting links between performance, culture and engagement. Here are a few highlights:
- Lack of support correlates to low performance
High performers are far more likely to get the help they need. When asked ‘How effective is our organization at offering help when you ask for it?’ high performers provided a rating 22% higher than low performers.
- Happy workers are high achievers
High performers are roughly 15% happier at work than low performers. This result aligns with research conducted by the University of Warwick that found happiness increases productivity by 12%.
- High performers report feeling 15% more valued, but not more recognized
The average rating high performers provide when asked the question “How well are you recognized when you do great work?” is only 2% higher than low performers.
According to a 2018 survey conducted by O.C. Tanner, 82% reported that the best way to motivate them to work harder is to show appreciation for their work. And yet, the number one reason employees cite for being unhappy at work: “lack of appreciation/acknowledgement.” Moreover, one in five employees report they have NEVER been recognized at work!
The takeaway seems to apply to every organization looking to improve employee engagement:
Appreciate employees by recognizing the contributions they make, and they will be happier employees and work harder to contribute more.