How recognition promotes DEI in the workplace

Carolina Gomez

Growth Hacker

Did you know that the benefits of recognizing employees' efforts are more than satisfaction and productivity?

How recognition impacts performance?

According to Gallup and Workhuman, there isn't a one-size-fits-all formula for how often recognition should be given. Each employee has unique needs, making it essential to find the right balance. However, research has shown that frequent and authentic recognition can lead to significant positive changes.

Previous studies have revealed that over 40% of employees who strongly agree that they receive the right amount of recognition for their work are recognized by their coworkers a few times a week or more. The beauty of recognition is that there's no such thing as too much, as long as it is genuine and authentic. When done right, the benefits are plentiful.

For example, let's take the case of Sarah, a dedicated sales representative. Sarah consistently exceeds her targets and goes the extra mile to provide excellent customer service. Her manager, Lisa, recognizes Sarah's outstanding performance on a regular basis, acknowledging her achievements during team meetings and publicly praising her contributions. As a result, Sarah feels valued and motivated, leading to increased job satisfaction and a stronger commitment to her work.

Similarly, in a case study conducted by a leading video game company Nitro, they implemented a peer-to-peer recognition program where employees could recognize and appreciate each other's efforts. The results were remarkable. Employees reported feeling a greater sense of friendship, improved teamwork, and increased morale. The program not only boosted individual performance but also fostered a supportive and collaborative work environment.

How recognition fosters Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?

When employees feel they receive the appropriate level of recognition, the impact goes beyond personal satisfaction. They are four times more likely to perceive their workplace as inclusive and seven times more likely to view it as equitable compared to those who don't receive enough recognition. On the other hand, when recognition falls short, with employees not strongly agreeing that they are getting the right amount of recognition, only nine percent feel their workplace is equitable, and a mere 16% believe it is inclusive.

To further illustrate the importance of recognition, a study conducted by McKinsey renowned consulting firm found that companies with recognition programs experienced lower turnover rates and higher employee engagement. In contrast, organizations that failed recognition faced challenges with employee retention and experienced decreased morale among their workforce.

While the frequency of recognition may vary based on individual preferences and performance, managers should ensure they don't overlook anyone's contributions and accomplishments. Team leaders have an opportunity to foster a positive work environment just by taking the time to recognize employees for their unique contributions. By implementing a variety of recognition strategies, such as verbal praise, written notes of appreciation, or team-wide celebrations, organizations can create a culture of appreciation and gratitude.

Adding Authenticity to Recognition: Going Beyond Checklists

While it may seem tempting to add a simple "hand out praise" line on a checklist as a quick fix for addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) disparities, leaders would be doing their teams a disservice by adopting a checklist mindset when it comes to recognition. It's important to remember that recognition holds power only when done right.

Authentic recognition goes beyond random praising others. In fact, research shows that three-quarters of Black and Hispanic employees do not strongly agree that the recognition they receive is authentic. In comparison, White employees are 10 percentage points more likely to perceive the recognition they receive as authentic.

Achieving authenticity in recognition requires getting to know employees on a personal level. Understanding their individual interests, passions, and motivations is crucial. The point is to recognize employees as unique individuals and acknowledge them accordingly. This is where true authenticity shines.

For example, consider the case of Mark, a team member who consistently delivers high-quality work but prefers a more low-key approach. His manager, Emily, understands his personality and takes the time to have one-on-one conversations to express her appreciation for his efforts. This personalized and tailored recognition approach ensures that Mark feels valued and acknowledged, contributing to his overall job satisfaction and continued commitment to excellence.

On the other hand, doling out aimless and fake thanks won't yield the desired culture boost, especially when aiming for improved well-being and stronger DEI. Authentic recognition serves as a key predictor of employee well-being, with Black and Hispanic employees being highly attuned to its authenticity.

Past research has established a significant connection between strategic recognition and key employee experiences crucial for advancing equity and inclusion at work. These experiences include a sense of belonging, perceiving a growth path within the organization, and feeling cared for in terms of overall well-being.

When employees strongly agree that the recognition they receive is authentic, they are five times more likely to feel a sense of belonging in their workplace. Authentic recognition also predicts a greater likelihood of employees perceiving a path for growth within the organization and feeling that their overall well-being is valued.

💡 These findings suggest that strategic recognition, when done authentically, can contribute to building more equitable and inclusive workplace environments where both employees and businesses can thrive.

Decreasing the Burnout with Recognition

But the benefits of recognition don't stop there. Recognition also plays a role in reducing burnout and turnover rates among employees. Recent data shows that 26% of employees experience burnout very often or always, with varying impacts across different demographic groups.

Here's where recognition comes in as a shield against burnout for all employees, regardless of their unique backgrounds. Workers who strongly agree that they receive the right amount of recognition are 30% less likely to experience burnout frequently. The relationship between fulfilling recognition and lower burnout rates is particularly significant for women, who are 63% less likely to experience burnout if they strongly agree they receive the right amount of recognition for their work.

The relationship between fulfilling recognition and burnout reduction also extends to racial and ethnic groups. Black and Hispanic employees who strongly agree they receive the right amount of recognition are 43% and 44% less likely to experience burnout, respectively, compared to those who do not strongly agree.

In addition to the positive impact on employees' well-being, recognition has been linked to lower levels of burnout and turnover. Therefore, it is crucial for organizations to prioritize strategies that foster authentic recognition as part of their DEI efforts.

By embracing authentic recognition practices, organizations can create an environment where employees feel valued, supported, and motivated to contribute their best. The journey towards equity and inclusion requires acknowledging and celebrating the unique strengths and contributions of each individual.

How to start recognition?

Little recognition can go a long way in creating a happier and more inclusive workplace. So, celebrate and appreciate the unique contributions of each team member with Evegreen, the only peer-to-peer recognition software that allows you to foster a culture of appreciation while doing good for the planet!

Evergreen is the tool that gets together recognition and sustainability for companies that care for the world and their employees.

Do you want to know more? Book a demo here.

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