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Employee Recognition

The Solution to the Great Resignation? It’s The Great (Public) Recognition

Whether it’s on news sites or during watercooler conversations at work, we’ve all heard of it one way or another. But what is the Great Resignation all about and how is it shaping our current landscape? It’s reminiscent of the great depression in the 1930s and is exactly how it sounds like.

What is the Great Resignation?

We have Anthony Klotz, organisational professor at Texas A&M University, to thank for coining the term, which now defines the ongoing state of most industries. As you might have guessed, this global phenomenon was heavily influenced and accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, where employees across the globe are quitting their jobs as they reassess where, how, and why they work.

According to the World Economic Forum, approximately 4.5 million people worldwide have left their jobs in November 2021 alone. Companies across industries are now grappling to understand this ripple effect and put an end to it before it’s too late.

Skip to the solution to the Great Resignation

What’s driving employees to leave their jobs?

Reasons why employees are leaving their jobs. Source: PraisePal

Resignations are commonly tied to the lack of proper compensation, pay raises, and other incentives. But it’s so much more than that. To find a solution, companies need to first understand the root of the problem and what’s driving their employees to leave.

1. Wanting a fresh start

While it’s true that you can always start something new at any time, the science behind the “fresh start effect” shouldn’t be ignored. As humans, it is in our nature to crave change or improvement in our current environments.

One of the most important key motivators for a fresh start is the anticipation of a new beginning, just like special occasions or temporal landmarks. Think of new years, birthdays, or even work anniversaries.

But at the core of it all, it’s also possible that people are no longer receiving that same motivation in their current roles, which explains the urge to start with a clean slate and resign altogether.

2. Lack of purpose and sense of fulfillment

Gone are the days when having a career and stable job was just about paying the bills. People are now looking for more fulfillment in their jobs, considering that that’s what they’re dedicating most of their time to—at least five days a week and eight hours a day, to be exact.

A recent PwC/CECP study shows us that fulfillment is a major key motivator for employees in the workplace. It is when we are “working in alignment with our intrinsic motivations and gain a sense of purpose”.

Today, having a job that aligns with one’s personal values and purpose has become the new standard in the workforce. When employees are fulfilled, they are naturally more motivated to stay with their current employers.

Virtuous Cycle of Fulfilment - PWC
The Virtuous Cycle of Fulfillment. Source: PwC
“More than ever, people want to know they’re more valuable than machines and are seeking out uniquely human elements of their work experience.” ”

— PwC Study on Building a Fulfilling Employee Experience

3. Didn’t feel valued by their organisations and managers

A 2017 Study revealed that 36% of employees felt that the lack of recognition in the workplace is the top reason for why they’re considering switching jobs.

HR managers and People executives are often the first points of contact for most employees and play an essential role in this factor. Harvard Business Review tells us that the best way to make their teams feel appreciated is through these 5 steps:

1. Touch base early and often: Take the time to connect with employees and check in on them regularly.

2. Give balanced feedback: Positive and constructive feedback is key to boosting your team’s confidence. On the other hand, being too confrontational may leave them uninformed and demotivated.

3. Address growth opportunities: Beyond recognition, make your employees feel valued by creating new career advancement opportunities for them.

4. Offer flexibility: Granting flexible working hours and arrangements are a sign of trust and appreciation from employers.

5. Make it a habit: Carrying these steps would be useless if they don’t become a habit.

4. Didn’t feel a sense of belonging at work

The value of social belonging isn’t just beneficial for employee morale, but also for business. And we have the data to prove it. Harvard Business Review shows us that a strong sense of belonging in the workplace is linked to a 50% drop in employee turnover risk, a 56% increase in job performance, and a 75% reduction in sick days.

A sense of belonging is what paves the way for workplace inclusion. When employees feel included in their day-to-day work, they are more likely to stay more productive and motivated, ultimately leading to an increase in company revenue and overall business performance.

The perception gap explained

An overview of the perception gap
An overview of the perception gap. Source: PraisePal

A recent McKinsey study revealed an alarming disconnect between employers’ understanding of the great resignation and the reality of it. To put it simply, employers don’t actually understand why their people are walking away.

Companies are paying closer attention to structural factors like pay raises and other financial incentives in a desperate attempt to retain their people. In another study conducted by Mercer, salary increments offered by Singapore businesses are expected to reach up to 3.5% this year to prepare for the wave of resignations underway.

Here’s the thing: what they should really be focusing on instead are the relational aspects that employees are looking for. These include being valued by their manager and organisation, having caring and trusting teammates, and the potential for career advancement within the company.

So, what’s the solution to the great resignation?

The solution? The Great (Public) Recognition

The answer is simple: Better recognition.

There are a plethora of reasons that continue to contribute to this phenomenon. But the fact remains clear: one of the main causes for the whopping number of global resignations boils down to the lack of employee recognition.

Being appreciated and acknowledged for your contributions in the workplace can lead to a 14% increase in employee engagement, performance, and productivity, compared to companies without a culture of recognition. It may be a simple gesture, but one that creates a lasting impact.

While recognition is not a new concept in the workplace, most organisations still can’t seem to get it right. Employees don’t want any more company swag bags, virtual lunches, and other short-term initiatives. What they need is to have a consistent culture of recognition.

Instead of only holding annual award ceremonies to celebrate a handful of employees, while everyone else leaves feeling like losers, companies can make recognition a habit in your everyday culture.

“Employees are less influenced by incentives such as free lunch. They want to work for an employer that recognizes and rewards their contributions to meaningful work.”

— Own Sagness

Cultivate a habit of recognition and more with PraisePal

PraisePal Recognition Feed Preview
Preview of PraisePal’s Recognition feed. Source: PraisePal

Whether it’s to align company values, drive culture shift, encourage specific behaviours, or simply recognise and engage employees, PraisePal can help companies build a lasting recognition culture from anywhere and everywhere.

Through our unique points-based system, high-growth tech startups and their teams can publicly recognise employees and colleagues, and grant them with rewards they would actually want. From food vouchers all the way to having an entire day free of meetings.

Since there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to recognition strategies, managers also have the option to customise their own rewards according to their company values or People initiatives.

Instant gratification, public recognition and just receiving a “thank you” note are actually such powerful drivers of motivation, and naturally promote a good atmosphere in the team. — Mathias Boissonot, Co-Founder of Handprint

The way we view and communicate recognition is changing. It’s no longer just about a promotion or pay raise. Sometimes, it’s simply giving credit where credit is due and making your people feel truly valued. By making this a habit, you build happier teams and a greater sense of community.


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