by Matt Alderton | November 08, 2017
Employees today want more than job security, competitive pay, and attractive benefits. They also want to feel like they're doing meaningful work -- and they feel this way when they receive regular recognition from their managers.

So finds a new survey published last week by the WorkHuman Research Institute at Globoforce. Titled "Bringing More Humanity to Recognition, Performance, and Life at Work," it found that "human-focused practices" like continuous performance feedback, companywide celebrations of employee milestones, and diversity and inclusion initiatives have a significant impact on employees' sense of purpose.

Among its key findings, for example:

• Ninety-three percent of employees who have been recognized within the last six months say the work they do has meaning and purpose, compared to only 72 percent of employees who have never been recognized.
• Ninety-three percent of employees who for companies that have recognition programs tied to core company values -- so-called "values-based" recognition -- agree that the work they do has meaning and purpose, compared to 81 percent of employees who work at companies with no formal recognition program.
• Eighty-eight percent of employees at companies with values-based recognition programs say they have a positive work experience, compared to 69 percent of employees at companies without values-based recognition.
Continuous performance feedback can be just as beneficial as frequent recognition, according to Globoforce, which found that continuous performance feedback can improve manager-employee relationships. It discovered, for instance, that employees are 42 percent more likely to agree that performance feedback is valuable when it is delivered on a quarterly or ongoing basis (64 percent), as opposed to during an annual or semi-annual review (45 percent).
Other key findings about performance feedback:
• Collective feedback that is crowdsourced from both managers and peers is more likely to improve work performance than feedback solely delivered by managers (56 percent versus 48 percent).
• Fifty-eight percent of employees say monetary rewards tied to recognition are more motivating when they are given in the moment, rather than in the form of an annual bonus.
• In organizations where performance management is continuous instead of annual, employees trust their managers more (41 percent versus 34 percent) and perceive them to be better coaches and partners (78 percent versus 64 percent).  
Finally, Globoforce concluded that celebrating and embracing employee milestones strengthens emotional connections and builds trust, and that shared, community celebrations are most effective at making employees feel connected to their work and to each other. Employees who work in what Globoforce calls a "human work culture," for example, are two times more likely to feel they can grow in an organization, 41 percent more likely to feel their work has meaning, and 112 percent more likely to feel appreciated for the work they do. Likewise, in organizations that have both a diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiative and a human work culture, employees are more likely to feel like they belong (95 percent) and that diversity is truly valued (96 percent) by the company.
"Our survey confirms a fundamental shift in employee attitudes and sentiments toward traditional workplace practices, revealing they fail to deliver the same benefits as more human workplace practices," said Globoforce Vice President of Strategy and Consulting Derek Irvine. "Based on the data, it should be a top priority for managers and company leaders to build stronger relationships with their employees, and create a workplace culture that's grounded in trust, respect, recognition, and humanity so they can truly unleash the full potential of their workforce."