Opinions are divided between employers and their staff on what constitutes effective employee recognition, according to a new OfficeTeam survey. Nearly nine in 10 (89%) senior managers said their organization is good at showing appreciation to workers. However, three in 10 (30%) employees gave their firms low marks when it comes to shining a light on their achievements.

The surveys of managers and workers were conducted by an independent research firm and include responses from more than 600 senior managers with 20 or more employees, and more than 900 workers 18 years or older and employed in office environments in the United States and Canada.

Managers and workers were asked, "How effective do you think your company is at recognizing employees for good performance?" Their responses:

Very effective 33% 27%

Somewhat effective 56% 43%

Not too effective 10% 20%

Not at all effective 1% 10%

View an infographic with the research results and other findings about employee recognition.

"Acknowledging staff just once or twice a year for their hard work isn't enough. Regularly saying 'thank you' or offering small tokens of appreciation can speak volumes," says Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. "Giving kudos for a job well done seems obvious, but when managers are time-strapped, this can be one of the first things that slips."

Hosking added, "Companies that excel at recognition combine formal programs with everyday gestures of gratitude."

OfficeTeam offers some fun examples of how not to show appreciation, and some more serious tips for managers on the right way to recognize staff:


  • Say thanks. Regularly acknowledge employees' great work verbally. Point out how their efforts will help the company or assist clients and customers.



  • Put it in writing. Prepare a handwritten thank-you note or copy senior executives on an email about a worker's accomplishment.



  • Publicize achievements. Feature standout employees in the company newsletter or recognize them at a staff meeting.



  • Support continuing education. Provide tuition assistance for courses that will help workers in their jobs, and subsidize the cost of exams required to attain professional certifications.



  • Give a little. Offer gift cards, movie passes, or sporting event tickets to employees who go above and beyond on a project.


For additional staff appreciation ideas, download 20 Easy Ways to Rock at Employee Recognition.