Employees Differ in the Recognition They Desire

For three-quarters of employees surveyed, a simple “thank you” is enough.

Three-quarters of employees are satisfied with a “thank you” for their everyday efforts; however, 36% of women would prefer employers make the extra effort and put that in writing, a survey from Deloitte found.


Deloitte’s Business Chemistry has released a new survey of 16,000 professionals, across a variety of industries, from C-suite leaders to junior staff, that confirms that when it comes to recognizing others, like many things at work, one size doesn’t fit all—and surprisingly, very few people want recognition that’s widely shared.


Even when the accomplishment is significant, cash isn’t king. Across organizational levels, generations, genders, and Business Chemistry types Deloitte identified, the most valued kind of recognition is a new growth opportunity. The survey found big accomplishments aren’t the only thing employees want to be recognized for. It’s also important to recognize the effort they put in, their knowledge and expertise and their commitment to living the organization’s core values.


It matters who’s recognizing who, and whether the preference is for recognition from one’s direct supervisor, from leadership, or from colleagues depends on the Business Chemistry type being recognized. And, appreciation of someone need not be shared with the whole world to make it count. Most employees prefer recognition that is either shared with just a few people or delivered privately. Fewer want recognition that is widely shared.


“Recognizing people’s unique contributions, and doing so in the ways they prefer, is one approach to demonstrating they belong, and to helping them find meaning in their work,” Deloitte says.