A new study from Reward Gateway, an employee engagement company, has revealed the disconnect between what employees really want and what their employers think they want.


52% of UK workforce feel their boss could do more to appreciate them while almost 80% of managers report that they prioritise showing timely appreciation and thanks to employees who have done good work

  • 59% of Brits would rather work for a business with a culture where they received recognition over a higher salary job where they didn’t get any recognition
  • Nearly half of employees would leave a company if they didn’t receive recognition
  • Over 40% of senior decision makers don’t think that regular recognition and thanking employees at work has a big impact on staff retention
  • 72% of workers say that motivation and morale would improve if managers simply said thank you more and noticed good work.

Over half of the workers in the UK say that they would prefer to be thanked by their managers as and when they do good work, rather than with a single annual event for recognition such as work anniversaries, performance reviews, or company events. Despite this, the majority of the £35.6b a year that companies spend on employee recognition is instead focused on rewarding tenure, through long service awards, for example.

The research from Reward Gateway, which surveyed 500 employees and 500 senior decision makers has found that almost half (49%) of British workers would leave a company if they weren’t regularly thanked and recognised for their efforts; a striking stat for businesses struggling to curb falling employee retention rates.


The disconnect between employers and employees is also apparent in the fact that almost 8 in ten (78%) of senior decision makers say that they prioritise showing appreciation and thanks to employees who have done good work in a timely way, on a regular basis, yet over 60% of workers feel that their colleagues could be thanked and praised more regularly by managers and leaders when they do good work.


A whopping 84% of workers think managers and leaders should spot good work and give praise and thanks whenever it happens and the majority (80%) think this should happen on a continuous, all year round basis.


However, in the study, managers were asked how much they were encouraged by their own line managers to show appreciation and thanks to employees in their teams and only half said they received this encouragement. Further to this, only half of managers have tech-based tools to say thank you and recognise good behaviour. Even fewer have access to tools that enable sharing of praise publicly between teams.


Glenn Elliott, Founder and CEO of Reward Gateway says: “This is another really strong data point that tells us what we’re doing with recognition is wrong. If companies want to improve employee engagement, motivation and retention they need to urgently divert investments  from tenure based, long service award programmes which aren’t working but are costing businesses a fortune. We’ve worked hard to make our SmartAwards product support what today’s employees want for recognition and deliver a much improved ROI for clients.”


Liz Crutchley, Head of Reward & Benefits from HomeServe Membership who use Reward Gateway as part of its engagement strategy, says: “At HomeServe, we have a People First culture, where empowerment and recognition form a huge part of the way we do things.


“We actively encourage our People to recognise each other based on our People values. One of the many ways we do this is by using the Reward Gateway online portal which enables our People to send thank you e-cards to one another in a really simple and accessible way. To date, we’ve sent over 33,000 across our business.


“We’ve worked really hard to create a culture that every single person who works at HomeServe is proud to be a part of, and this type of recognition along with the many other initiatives we have implemented, have helped see a huge rise in our engagement.”


To learn more about the report visit rg.co/thankyou

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