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Two-thirds of Americans feel unappreciated by their employer every day

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New research suggests that employees pay just as much attention to who they’re working with as who they’re working for.

That’s according to a recent poll of 2,000 Americans, all of whom have either been employed in some capacity over the last five years or are currently searching for a new job.

Of those polled, 65% believe they’d be likely to stay at a job with an unappreciative manager if their coworkers and peers still recognized their work.

In fact, almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents feel unappreciated by their employer on a daily basis, and 59% feel they’ve never had an employer truly appreciate their work. 

One in three even claimed (29%) they’d willingly give up a weeks’ worth of pay for more recognition from their employer.

The poll, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Bonusly, sought to uncover what employees really want from their employers and how simple acts of appreciation may impact their overall happiness.

The majority (41%) of respondents said favoritism among employees from management made them feel the most unappreciated, while 39% cited a lack of communication and recognition from management. 

Almost half (46%) of respondents have left a job because they felt unappreciated.

When asked how their current place of employment could improve, 35% said they’d like recognition from their employers in the form of perks, bonuses or a recognition program.

All things considered, 65% admitted that they would work harder if they felt it would be noticed by management.

"The Great Resignation showed us that employees want more than just a paycheck. As many companies transition toward remote work, there is an increased need to create positive interactions to build stronger connections, even if those are virtual,” said Raphael Crawford-Marks, Bonusly Founder and CEO. “Retention and high-performance are directly impacted by how employees feel valued and recognized at work."

When asked what larger ways employers should show appreciation, respondents agreed that money still talks; 34% would like salary increases, while 30% would appreciate wellness and professional development stipends. 

In fact, almost seven in 10 (68%) would not want to work for a company with no internal advancement opportunities.

More than three-quarters (77%) said it is important that a company allows them to “climb the ladder,” meaning there is a clear-cut path for advancement.

This might also be why 25% of respondents would appreciate one-on-one coaching from management as a way their company invests in its employees on a daily basis. 

Following closely behind raises and professional development, employees value appreciation. One in five (22%) would prefer to be recognized with praise from management, while another 22% would also like recognition from their peers.  

In the hierarchy of whose recognition matters most, direct supervisors ranked first (38%). But respondents care just as much about being recognized by their coworkers (35%) as they do by the CEO (35%).

Of the 54% of respondents who manage others at work, 63% said their favorite way to commend employees was making that praise visible to other team members and the company.

"Trivial perks, like free food, a ping pong table or even a box of treats sent to your remote employees, don’t warrant great work in return,” said Crawford-Marks. “Organizations need to adopt a culture of recognition and appreciation to give employees a sense of purpose, progress and belonging at work. If recognition programs are executed well and with intention, employee retention increases, as does productivity and morale."

Where can employers improve the most? 

  • Recognition (bonuses, perks, recognition program, etc.) - 35%
  • Compensation - 32%
  • Benefits (PTO, medical care, etc.) - 30%
  • Flexibility (work from home, hours, etc.) - 29%
  • Management - 29%
  • Career development programs - 28%
  • Job security - 28%

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