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

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.

Research has revealed that over half of 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 per cent) of British workers would leave a company if they weren’t regularly thanked and recognised for their efforts; a striking statistic for businesses struggling to curb falling employee retention rates.

The disconnect between employers and employees is also apparent in the fact that almost eight in ten (78 per cent) 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 per cent 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 per cent of workers think managers and leaders should spot good work and give praise and thanks whenever it happens and the majority (80 per cent) 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.”