By Derek Irvine, VP client strategy and consulting, Globoforce

HR and business leaders understand that talent and employee performance are often the key factors in determining an organisation’s success. They appreciate the importance of creating and maintaining consistent company cultures in improving employee engagement and productivity levels, as well as retaining the best staff.

With this in mind, Globoforce commissioned OnePoll to carry out a survey –the inaugural Globoforce UK Workforce Mood Tracker – to provide key insights into the psyche of the UK workforce, including perspectives on employee engagement, recognition and reward.

UK workers crying out for greater recognition

Unsurprisingly, the report underlined the importance of recognition in the workplace, with 86 percent of UK workers stating that they like to have their efforts or contributions at work recognised; and 90 percent of respondents feeling that recognition motivates them to do a better job.

However, despite the clear need for recognition, a worrying 37 percent of respondents were found to be dissatisfied with the level of recognition they receive for doing a good job; and 55 percent do not feel appreciated in their job.

Additional results revealed a real opportunity for organisations to improve employee performance as well as mitigate certain business risks. Indeed, the findings show a direct correlation between recognition frequency and important HR metrics. Of those respondents who have been recognised in the past month versus those who have never been recognised in their job, the survey finds:

- 70 feel appreciated at their job, compared to 11 percent of those never recognised

- 35 percent plan to search for a new job, compared to 44 percent of those who have never been recognised

- 60 percent are satisfied with the level of recognition they receive, compared to 7 percent of those never recognised

Executive bonuses could be better spent

In 2012, the UK public have witnessed a string of high profile and large bonuses given to corporate executives. Given the context of economic fragility, it seems understandable that 87 percent believe that money spent on large executive bonuses could be better spent elsewhere. Indeed, when asked how they would spend this money, 35 percent call for an employee recognition programme.

With the obvious frustration at seemingly excessive bonuses, organisations have the power to settle the feelings of employees by implementing a strategic recognition programme that rewards 80-90 percent of staff, as opposed to just the elite performers and senior executives. This would ensure more staff are touched by recognition and reward – which is central to maintaining an engaged workforce. Indeed, 70 percent of respondents believe that receiving recognition made them more satisfied with their work and/or position in the company.

Annual performance reviews do not provide the complete picture about performance

The survey also considered performance reviews and feedback in UK organisations, finding that 58 percent of respondents do not think annual performance reviews are an accurate appraisal of the work they do. The survey also found that nearly a quarter (23 percent) of respondents do not get constructive feedback throughout the year.

Indeed, these findings reflect the need to change how and when feedback is delivered and recorded. The traditional annual performance appraisal provides a limited snapshot of employee performance. This structure neglects the true impact and influence that an employee has on their peers and the organisation on an ongoing basis.

By implementing a strategic recognition programme, not only can positive feedback be provided on a regular basis, but the recognition data – if collected and mapped properly – can offer a great overview of an employee’s performance over time.

Build a happier and more loyal workforce

The UK Workforce Mood Tracker clearly reveals a significant hunger for greater recognition and more regular performance feedback among UK workers. Organisations must take note of this and act to deliver frequent and personal recognition of workers’ everyday achievements. Ultimately, such an approach will foster a positive and desired working culture and therefore a happier and more loyal workforce.