Perks at work are great – it’s hard to argue against a free pizza party, a happy hour celebration, or in-office giveaways. But, you shouldn’t assume that these types of perks are motivating employees to do their best work (and what keeps them loyal to your company).

Real motivation and employee retention are rooted in recognition. Unfortunately, a lack of recognition is the third most common reason employees leave their employers. When done correctly, employee recognition can be one of the most effective ways to boost the employee experience and appreciate employees.

Use the right type of recognition

However, it must be the right type of recognition. Employees want different things when it comes to being recognized for their work, and in a recent Achievers survey to 1,000 consumers, we asked the following question: Which of the following would make you feel the most appreciated at work?

How to Appreciate Employees Survey Results Chart 1

Survey Findings

The survey found that money and direct recognition matter most to Americans (you may want to pause your pizza party for now).

Survey results show that nearly one in three Americans want recognition from a manager or colleague, whether it’s personal recognition (23%) or public recognition (7.6%). Alongside direct recognition for a job well done, nearly one in five (16%) say they prefer to be recognized by getting a bonus or other compensation-based reward.

We also found some differences in how men and women want to be recognized. Based on gender identification from the survey, women (18%) are more likely than men (13%) to feel appreciated by receiving spot bonuses or monetary rewards.

Employee Appreciation Survey Results Chart 2Survey Findings: By Gender

Wanting monetary rewards is one thing that Gen Zs (15%), Millennials (14%), and Baby Boomers (15%) have in common. However, it’s no surprise that in the age of social media, Gen Z (11.8%) cares more about being publicly recognized compared to Millennials (3.3%) and Baby Boomers (8.4%).

Employee Appreciation Survey Results Chart 3Survey Findings: By Generation

Appreciate your employees every day

Employee Appreciation Day happens every year in March. Here at Achievers, we believe it’s important to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day every day and all year round. Now is the perfect time to recognize and reward your employees…the right way.

Here are some tips on how you can start recognizing employees:

  • Make it a regular occurrence. Employee recognition will prove most effective when given in real-time and on a frequent basis.
  • Lead by example and advocate for a culture of recognition.
  • Find ways to leverage both monetary and social recognition.
  • Take advantage of points-based recognition and give employees the opportunity to accrue points. Employees can later redeem their points for a reward of their choosing.
  • Implement a recognition and rewards platform at your company so that every recognition sent gets company-wide attention.
  • Celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, and general accomplishments with team-signed digital cards.
  • Host quarterly recognition and rewards company-wide meetings to spotlight top performers.
  • Take advantage of one-click recognitions so that no leader can use the excuse that they’re “too busy” to recognize employees.

Start appreciating employees how they want to be appreciated, with frequent recognition and rewards.

Do you have any thoughts on this article? Share your comments below.

Survey Methods
When: Conducted March 2020
Who: 1,000 U.S. respondents age 18+.
What: One-question survey
How: Direct to consumers via Google Consumer Survey

* Age groups are calculated by the following Gen Z (18-24 years old), Millennials (25-34 years old) and Baby Boomers (55 years and older).
** Responses who marked “I don’t know” are not included in graphs.