TORONTO, Sept. 15, 2020 – Achievers, the progressive choice for employee voice and recognition solutions that accelerate a culture of performance, today announced that recognition is the No. 1 request from employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s according to a new survey, the 2020 Culture Report, from Achievers Workforce Institute, which is the research and insights arm of the company.
Based on a responses from more than 1,100 employed respondents from the USA, UK, Canada, and Australia, the report finds that 40 percent of respondents don’t feel recognized for the work they’ve done during the COVID-19 pandemic and one-third (35%) say more recognition would help them feel more supported.
The report also finds a direct connection between receiving frequent recognition and employee engagement with those who have received formal recognition in the last week more likely to describe themselves as “very engaged.”
“The connection between recognition and engagement is well established, and our findings support the theory that those who receive frequent recognition are more likely to be engaged. We would recommend aiming for weekly recognition where possible,” says Dr. Natalie Baumgartner, Chief Workforce Scientist and head of the Achievers Workforce Institute. “Engagement should be considered business critical right now as engaged employees are more productive, committed and likely to put in discretionary effort.”
Culture alignment—crucial for engagement—dropped during COVID-19
The report finds that culture alignment, the degree to which core business processes align with company values, is a crucial ingredient for engagement; however, most areas of alignment dropped during COVID-19. Many processes became less aligned, including strategic planning, professional development, and budget decisions. The one area that became more aligned was work flexibility, which is likely due to the sudden work from home requirements that were put in place to protect employees during the pandemic.
“Respondents at organizations with high culture alignment are more likely to say they felt supported through the pandemic and are more likely to be engaged,” says Dr. Baumgartner. “Culture alignment—where a company’s values are its ‘north star’ and all business processes align with these values—is an important objective for all organizations. Research shows aligned organizations are more profitable, and our research indicates that higher engagement improves productivity.”
Use of “pulse” surveys predicts higher engagement
Most organizations survey employees once a year or less, but the 21 percent of organizations that are “pulse surveying” employees three times a year or more are seeing much higher engagement rates. These “pulse” surveys are usually shorter and administered more often, with faster turnaround times for taking action based on the results. This doesn’t mean that regular surveys alone are sufficient for driving engagement, but rather, it’s the pulse survey approach of quickly taking action on trending issues and making employees feel heard and valued.
· Recognition remains an important predictor of engagement
The more recently an individual received recognition, the more likely they are to be engaged. Almost half of respondents surveyed that were recognized in the past week were “very engaged,” compared to less than a third who received it in the last month and just 16 percent who received recognition more than a year ago.
· Employees are more honest in surveys than talking to their managers
Three-quarters (77%) of respondents say they are more likely to provide honest feedback in a survey than to their manager. This indicates that if companies want accurate, authentic feedback, they need survey employees more than once a year because people leaders are not getting the full story from direct reports.
· Individual values alignment predicts engagement
Respondents whose personal values were very well aligned with their company’s values were five times more likely to report being engaged than those who were not aligned. This indicates that values alignment is a predictor of engagement.
In fact, 59 percent of respondents whose values are “not at all aligned” with their company’s values report being “disengaged.”
For more information about the 2020 Culture Report and ways to improve employee engagement, download the report today.
 The 2020 Culture Report study was an Internet-based survey conducted by Achievers Workforce Institute between May 27 and June 17. The sample size included 1,143 respondents.