As workers continue to struggle, recognition can help

'Organizations need to lean into their 'thank you' muscles, or they'll continue to say goodbye to their employees'

As workers continue to struggle, recognition can help

Nearly two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers continue to struggle during and even after work.

Nearly six in 10 (58 per cent) say they do not think much about what they’re doing at work and function on autopilot, while 44 per cent claim they have trouble staying focused at work, finds Workhuman.

Plus, 54 per cent say they feel mentally exhausted and drained after every workday.

Just 51 per cent of employees say that their employer is more focused on their total wellbeing, according to a separate report.

Appreciation wanted

Expressing appreciation will be an effective way to help out workers, according to Workhuman’s survey of more than 2,200 employees in the U.S., Ireland, Canada and the U.K. conducted in November.

“It takes little to no budget – perhaps a shift in mindset – to give praise when you see someone doing something right, rather than waiting for a formal review,” says Two Years into COVID: The State of Human Connection at Work. “We’re all human and feel seen when we’re shown appreciation.”

Specifically, workers who were thanked in the last month are half as likely to be looking for a new job (24 per cent compared with 48 per cent) and more than twice as likely to be highly engaged (48 per cent compared with 21 per cent).

These workers are also more than twice as likely to feel respected at work (82 per cent compared with 34 per cent) and more than three times as likely to see a path to grow in their current organization (59 per cent compared with 19 per cent).

Employers that show gratitude towards workers have a lot to gain, one expert previously told Canadian HR Reporter.

The problem is that there’s not enough of this going around, says Chris French, executive vice president at Workhuman.

“Organizations are scrambling to figure out how to mitigate the detrimental side effects that it and its employees are experiencing – burnout, disengagement, turnover, etc. – from nearly two years of consistent upheaval,” he says.

“The one easy fix that has a big impact – expressing appreciation – is nowhere near where it needs to be. It’s a proven fact that recognition has a positive effect on retention, engagement, productivity and so many more factors that can help a business improve its culture and its bottom line. Organizations need to lean into their ‘thank you’ muscles, or they’ll continue to say goodbye to their employees.”

Great resignation continues

Employers would be wise to address this issue considering the “great resignation” seems to be continuing, according to the report. Thirty-six per cent of workers are looking to switch jobs as of November 2021, compared with 38 per cent in June 2021, and still much higher compared with 21 per cent in December 2019.

Half (50 per cent) of workers have noticed an increase in people leaving their organization. And among those who noticed the increase, 26 per cent have considered leaving their organization as well and 19 per cent have doubted the stability of their employer’s business.

However, nearly two thirds of workers (62 per cent) say they would return to their former employer if they could get better pay (38 per cent) and benefits (23 per cent) and do meaningful work (16 per cent).

People have had a renewed sense of purpose amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and they want to see this translate into the job they do, according to one expert.

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