Inbox: A little recognition goes a long way

Research commissioned by talent management company SHL suggests that the productivity of over half of New Zealand employees is hampered due to lack of recognition for hard work.
The research findings highlight the importance of the relationship between managers and their team, and its direct effect on engagement and productivity.
Stephanie Christopher, SHL national director for Australia and New Zealand, says acknowledging the efforts of team or individual doesn’t always have to be grand gesture, but many managers don’t have clue how to motivate their team. “Simple things such as recognition for long hours, extra effort and excellent results play strongly in employees’ feelings of appreciation and belonging at work. Managers need to understand how to motivate each member of their team,” says Christopher.
“For some, recognition at team meeting with song and dance is going to get them pumped for the next win. Others take to one-on-one recognition better. There is no standard approach, managers need to be adaptable,” she says.
The SHL research also found that employees rate feedback and recognition for individual achievement as the most desired attributes of boss.
For 70 percent of employees, their relationship with their manager impacts their overall satisfaction with the company, and 57 percent say their manager influences their level of productivity.
“These figures point to the importance of good managers. Frontline managers need strong people skills, in addition to job competency, to be able to deal with everyday challenges and grow productivity,” says Christopher.
“Managers are expected to solve problems, make decisions, be mentor, prioritise tasks and achieve results. Underlying success in these areas is the ability to lead and motivate their team.
“This often involves managing staff older than themselves, juggling the expectations of three generations, and ensuring harmony between over-achievers and slackers,” says Christopher.
According to the research, employees’ level of engagement at work is, as expected, influenced by satisfaction with the job itself (77 percent). Sixty-five percent also cite getting on well with other employees as major factor.
Christopher says these elements, along with level of pay (57 percent), are ‘hygiene factors’ in employment satisfaction and engagement. They are fundamental, but do not usually strain engagement levels to the same degree as poor management.

*The Galaxy Research was conducted on behalf of SHL in March 2011. The study was conducted among 538 New Zealanders, aged 18-64 years and over, who were employed.

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