17 Employee Recognition Statistics Leaders Must Know

Find out the most important employee recognition statistics to learn the power of appreciating your coworkers!

December 27, 2021 By Sara Ana Cemazar Share on Twitter! Share on Facebook! Share on LinkedIn!


Recognizing employees for their achievements and behavior is a great way to motivate and engage them. Recognition has a record for improving team relationships as well as influencing some of the most important HR metrics like turnover and absenteeism.

Although HRs know how important it is to recognize employees’ work, their superiors often don’t quite understand what’s the need to invest in employee recognition software. Upper management tends to see this as an expense rather than an investment.

This article is here to prove them wrong. We are bringing you the most important employee recognition statistics to show you the power of recognizing employees’ work.

Read on to find out what research says about the employee appreciation benefits and best practices. Before you dive in, get our employee recognition playbook and learn how to build effective employee recognition programs.

Improving engagement, productivity, and trust

  • 78% of US workers say that being appreciated motivates them at their job. Source: TINYPulse
  • According to 84% HR Professionals, employee recognition positively affects employee engagement. Source: SHRM
  • 69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated. Source: Aberdeen 
  • 88% of employees that receive strong performance recognition are proactively innovating. Source: Aedion
  • 50% of employees believe being thanked by managers builds trust with their higher-ups. Source: Cicero group
  • 58% of employees say that their leaders could engage them better by recognizing them. Source: Psychometrics

employee recognition stats


Employee engagement is something that a lot of companies struggle with. Research shows that disengaged employees cause $500 billion losses to companies in the US on an annual level.

Engagement is strongly correlated with employees’ motivation, morale, and productivity. When employees realize that what they do is valuable to their companies, they are incentivized to do more of it.

In fact, it’s very simple: we all need positive reinforcement to do anything continuously. Our jobs are often stressful, and we want to know we are doing a good job. 

Employee recognition positively affects employee performance, which in turn boosts business performance. Therefore, recognizing employees is a smart business decision!

If you want to know more

Here are some additional resources for you to understand the connection between employee engagement, recognition, and productivity:

👉 Why do Moments that Matter matter

👉 How you can recognize and engage your remote employees

👉 Employee productivity best practices 

👉 How to motivate employees to go the extra mile

👉 Why you should recognize your employees’ work

👉 Why are your employees disengaged?

Reducing employee turnover

  • Employee recognition programs positively affect retention according to 68% of HR Professionals. Source: SHRM
  • 32% of workers left their jobs because they were unsatisfied with the recognition for their contributions. Source: LinkedIn

employee recognition statistics


Ever heard of the Great Resignation? It is a movement of voluntary resignations that sweeped the US in 2021. Although the reasons why employees have quit were different, one of them was lack of appreciation by their employers.

In fact, lack of recognition for continuous work, effort, and loyalty are frequent reasons why employees leave their employers.

As turnover is one of the most important metrics that HRs need to focus on – and improving it is frequently on their KPIs – knowing that employee recognition plays such an important role in preventing high turnover is essential.

Read on to find out how employees want to be recognized!

If you want to know more

👉 Strategies to improve employee retention

👉 Understand and prevent employee burnout

👉 Best perks to retain employees

👉 Tips for improving employee turnover rate

How employees want to be recognized

  • 88% of Millennials say that prepaid cards are their favorite type of monetary reward. Source: Blackhawk network
  • 80% of Gen Y employees say they prefer on-the-spot recognition over formal reviews. Source: LinkedIn
  • 54% of employees prefer verbal “Thank you” for their day-to-day accomplishments, while 47% of employees prefer growth opportunities for a significant accomplishment. Source: Deloitte
  • 42% of organizations help employees celebrate life events with a gift or a gift card. Source: SHRM
  • 52% of employees want more recognition. Source: HR Magazine

employee recognition statistics


Maybe these findings are in line with what you would expect: for their day-to-day accomplishments, employees need just a simple thank you. They also want it to be informal: employee recognition doesn’t mean going overboard and sending gifts to an employee every time they do a regular task.

When it comes to recognizing their bigger achievements, they want growth opportunities, monetary rewards, or better benefits.

Apart from gift cards, employees mostly expect and want bonuses as rewards for their accomplishments. 

An important thing to note here is that employee rewards need to be laid out in a structured way. In other words, employees need to know what they can expect for their behavior and accomplishments. Rewards mustn’t be random acts of gratitude – and they need to apply to everybody equally.

If you want to know more

👉 Best rewards that employees really want

👉 Thoughtful gift ideas for employees

👉 Employee service awards guide

👉 How to recognize your deskless employees

👉 Work anniversary messages and emails

The power of peer-to-peer recognition

  • Peer-to-peer recognition makes 90% of employees more satisfied with their work. Source: SHRM
  • Peer-to-peer-recognition is 35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition. Source SHRM

employee recognition statistics


Employees don’t need to be recognized and thanked only by their superiors. Social and peer-to-peer recognition are crucial to build healthy team relationships and company culture.

When coworkers appreciate each other’s work, they collaborate more easily, innovate better, and tend to go the extra mile to help each other. Hence the positive impact on financial results explained in the statistics section above.

Moreover, peer-to-peer recognition is a way towards a more inclusive workplace, which has benefits on its own.

When employees recognize each other and it’s displayed company-wide, it motivates others to portray similar behavior. That’s why social recognition is so powerful: it can bring one small team’s dynamic to a higher level and spill over to other teams.

If you want to know more

👉 Why you should encourage social recognition

👉 Appreciation emails to thank your coworkers

Effects of successful recognition programs

  • Companies see 15% increase in employee satisfaction with their day-to-day recognition by their immediate supervisors. Source: The Walt Disney World Resort
  • Companies with most sophisticated employee recognition practices are on average 12x more likely to generate strong business outcomes than their peers. Source: Josh Bersin by Deloitte

employee recognition statistics


Making employees aware of how valuable their work is to your company could prove to be critical for optimizing employee retention, engagement, and productivity.

However, superficial recognition and occasional “good work” aren’t the answer either. Proper recognition takes tying employees’ behavior to the company’s mission and values to yield the best results.

👉 Neuroscience tells us that there is a smarter way to design and build an employee recognition program. Find out what’s the logic behind it.

This means that recognition programs yield the best results when they are built in a smart and thoughtful way. 

HRs need to know their company and their employees to create impactful recognition programs. Most importantly, they need the right technology to make it happen.

If you want to know more

👉 Everything you need to know about recognition and rewards

👉 How to unlock employee happiness

👉 How employee recognition leads to higher customer satisfaction

👉 How to maximize employee recognition programs’ ROI

The Role of Technology in Building Effective Recognition Programs

Yes, employee recognition has a myriad of benefits for the company. However, the impact of every recognition initiative needs to be measurable in order to improve it even further and optimize its results.

Moreover, every company is different – it operates in different countries and industries to say at least. That’s why it’s best to opt for a custom-made software to support the specific needs of a company when it comes to employee recognition.

Our employee recognition software – JobPts – is built to cater to the specific needs of a company at hand. Its functionalities operate in service of HRs that want to make data-driven decisions and bring the power of recognition to every employee in their organization.

Find out more about JobPts and get in touch with our team to see it in action.