Episode 89: Employee Recognition– Improving the Substance and Delivery

The 90th Percentile: An Unconventional Leadership Podcast

Published: September 28, 2022


There’s a need to greatly increase the frequency and the quality of the recognition they give to their colleagues. That means recognition for people who report to them, their peers, and, yes, even their boss.

The reality is that people in every direction in your organization need recognition. While the “great resignation” may have given way to the great re-evaluation, you might heavily consider the power of your positive affirmations. As we cope with the heavy situations piled on weekly, it does wonders to hear that you’re making a difference in your personal sphere of influence. This data we’ll share may not be groundbreaking, but maybe it can convince (or remind) you to open your mouth more often and tell people what they need to hear, not just what you want to say.

Key Points

  • Leaders rated in the bottom 10% for providing recognition had employees at the 27.4th percentile on engagement. By contrast, those leaders rated in the top 10% were at the 69.8th percentile.
  • One survey reported the startling statistic that 29% of employees describe not having received any recognition or commendation within the past year.
  • 145 managers resisted giving recognition and 513 preferred giving it. We compared that data to the more complete 360-degree assessment for those leaders, and those who were more inclined to give recognition were also perceived as being better at collaboration and teamwork, being open to feedback from others, building relationship, and inspiring and motivating others.
  • Appreciation that is specific is far more powerful than a general “good job” comment.
  • Being timely has great value.


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Do You Tell Your Employees You Appreciate Them– Harvard Business Review Article by Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman