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Staff Recognition & Retention

Linking recognition and job satisfaction

What impact does the quality of staff recognition have on how employees feel about the organizations for which they work?
To find out we returned to data collected on staff attitude surveys we conducted for a number of clients over the last five years. Each organization had at least three hundred employees divided among four or more departments or facilities. While the surveys varied from organization to organization, they all had two questions in common:

  • Generally speaking, how satisfied are you with [this organization] as a place to work?
  • How satisfied are you that staff are recognized regularly for doing their jobs well?

When tabulating the responses we calculated results for each department/facility and for the entire organization. To answer the question posed at the beginning of this article, we compared the individual department/facility results to those for the entire organization. The department/facility results for each question were categorized as being above, at or below the result for the organization.

We next compared the placement (above, at or below) for the results of the two questions. For more than 60 per cent of the comparisons the placements for both questions matched. For example, if the results to the “recognition” question were above the organization’s results for the same question and the results for the “place to work” question were also above the organization’s results, there was a match. There was also a match if the department/facility’s results were both below the corresponding results for the organization.

The results do suggest a relationship between how satisfied staff are about being recognized regularly for doing a good job and how they feel about their organization as a place to work. The findings suggest that department- and facility-level managers, who are most likely to provide or withhold day-to-day recognition, can influence how staff feel about the organizations for which they work.

During his Staff Recognition & Retention seminars, Nelson Scott emphasizes the value of genuine, timely, specific, personalized and relevant recognition in making the organization more successful, increasing commitment, improving morale and reducing turnover.


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A professional trainer, speaker, and consultant since 1995, Nelson Scott works with organizations that are committed to making the right hiring decisions, developing and retaining productive staff, and strengthening relationships with customers.  Learn more by visiting or e-mailing


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