Employees Say: “Recognition Causes Great Work."

SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 11, 2015

The single most important practice managers can adopt to cause employees to produce great work is to recognize them.

Respondents cited “recognition” three times as often as any other reason for what causes them to produce great work in an open-ended, unaided survey question. This statement holds true across all generations of U.S. workers and is the main finding from the Drivers of Great Work study commissioned by the O.C. Tanner Institute and the basis of the new Employee Performance White Paper.

While workers of all ages are remarkably similar in their desire for recognition, the Drivers of Great Work study also identified important motivational differences by generation.

“Of all age groups, those in the Millennial generation are most highly motivated by recognition and also value recognition from peers as influential in performing great work,” said Gary Beckstrand, vice president of marketing at O.C. Tanner. “Older generations expressed a stronger desire for autonomy as a factor in their ability to produce great work.”

Drivers of Great Work identifies the most effective practices for businesses and organizations that will cause employees to produce great work. Great work is defined as being productive and innovative, and making a difference people care about.

In addition, organizations that adopt an excellent-rated recognition program benefit from a return on their investment in the following ways:

  • Financial impact: Consistent performers of great work are 21 percent more likely than infrequent performers to have a high impact on the long-term financial performance of the organization, regardless of seniority.
  • Top talent: Consistent performers of great work—the very best employees—are 20 percent more likely to work at organizations with excellent recognition or promotion practices.
  • Recognition is revered: In ranking the effectiveness of motivating perks and practices, those employees exposed to an excellent recognition practice rated that practice as very effective at causing great work more often than employees that rated their organization as excellent in other perks and practices.

“While perks such as onsite daycare, gyms, and free food enhance the work environment, these benefits are not foundational to a culture of innovation and productivity,” elaborated Beckstrand. “Rather, a culture of great work for every generation and at all levels of seniority comes from individuals clearly understanding they are making a difference to their coworkers and the organization. The resulting sense of appreciation is most meaningfully communicated through recognition from managers and peers.”

About the Drivers of Great Work Study

The O.C. Tanner Institute commissioned the Cicero Group to survey employees of large companies (1,000+ employees). There were 980 respondents. The primary purpose of the research was to determine which drivers, practices and programs are the most effective in causing employees to produce work that is unprompted by management, exceeds normal expectations, goes beyond the realm of routine tasks and creates an impact within the organization.

About O.C. Tanner

O.C. Tanner helps the world inspire and appreciate great work. Through its innovative cloud-based technology, tools, awards and education services, the company provides strategically aligned recognition solutions for thousands of clients globally. Designed to engage talent, increase performance and drive corporate goals, these solutions create powerful experiences that fuel the human spirit.

Please direct all media inquiries to Michael Bingham to: michael.bingham@octanner.com or 949-282-9817.

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