Employee Recognition & Retention Statistics for 2022

Sadly, it seems that recognising our people’s efforts, contributions and achievements is seen as optional by many employers… It’s “a nice extra”, if time permits. It probably doesn’t actually matter that much to them anyway. They’re happy as long as they get paid at the end of each month, right?

By: James Blair on


I don’t think many of us thought we’d be coming out of the pandemic with record numbers of open job vacancies and low unemployment, but that’s where we are. Of course, the picture varies wildly across the different sectors, but the fact of the matter is we need to do all we can to retain our talent because they are probably wanted elsewhere. And that elsewhere may just make them feel a little more special, a little more wanted, a little more appreciated.

44% of employees switch jobs because of not getting adequate recognition for their efforts

Companies with effective recognition programs have 31% lower voluntary turnover.

  • Bersin & Associates

Employers can retain more than half of the employees simply by fostering a strong recognition culture.

- Glassdoor

91% of HR workers agree recognition and reward has a positive effect on employee retention.

- Reward Gateway

So, why are we so bad at showing our appreciation or recognising our people’s hard work and accomplishments? There may be some old-school arrogance out there – you know, the “they’re doing what we pay them to do” Theory X type of thinking – but mostly, it’s an issue of the busyness of our business and the pressures of time. In my experience, most leaders are well-intentioned, and many do understand the importance of recognition, but when there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, finding (or making) time for showing appreciation just doesn’t happen.

But, even if we have leaders who believe that recognition matters to their people, there is still a little bit of denial out there when it comes to whether or not recognition and appreciation affect overall engagement, productivity and customer satisfaction. It’s not something that’s easy to see, prove or quantify, is it?

71% of respondents rank employee engagement as very important to achieving overall organisational success

- Havard Business Review

72% of businesses agree that recognition impacts engagement positively

- Psychometrics

Employee productivity, performance, and engagement are 14% higher in organisations with recognition programs than in those without them.

- Gartner

90% of HR workers agreed that an effective recognition and reward program helps drive business results.

- Reward Gateway

Companies with a high level of employee engagement are more profitable by 21%

- Smarp

69% of employees say that they are ready to work harder if their bosses appreciate their efforts better

- Hubspot

Let’s not forget that recognition can range from a quick and casual thank you from a colleague or line manager in a corridor or team meeting right up to an award from the CEO at an annual staff conference. It can be unplanned, spontaneous, private, public, published, formal, informal… it’s all worthy and worthwhile. But making it a part of your business’s culture, which is where the benefits really kick in, takes a little more effort. Formalising, encouraging and broadcasting that recognition to engrain it into the everyday fabric of the company, and getting colleagues everywhere to embrace it, sounds like a big job for a large and established HR team. Or is it?

41% of companies that use peer-to-peer recognition have seen a positive increase in customer satisfaction

- Globoforce

A peer-to-peer recognition platform offers many advantages. Firstly, the right platform will run itself. All leaders need to do is lead by example, encourage, and amplify. Secondly, the easy opportunity for employees at all levels to offer praise and recognition to their colleagues (as well as receive it) is hugely morale-boosting. It becomes almost contagious. It helps with team building and that all-important sense of belonging. Thirdly, it encourages recognition of the less obvious or traditional achievements that matter to our people and to the success of the business – so that support, teamwork, collaboration, and innovation get a look in alongside financial target or sales wins.

Of course, any recognition scheme should align with your company’s culture and strategy so that the right behaviours are recognised, shouted about, and encouraged. There are many companies that will partner with you to offer a range of perks and rewards for your people, from experiences to tangible gifts, via sponsored vouchers and discounted membership schemes, and these are great if you have the budget. But, even if the budget doesn’t allow for that, facilitate the recognition, grow that culture of appreciation, and shout about the good stuff that your people are doing.

“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.”

- Margaret Cousins