May 2024
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A group of five employees celebrate a woman in the middle as she happily holds a "Best Employee" plaque and a bouquet of flowers.
TD Magazine

Appreciation Consternation

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Do US employees feel appreciated? It's complicated.

W hen it comes to employee appreciation, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that, according to TalentLMS's recent Appreciation at Work survey of 1,000 American employees, less than a quarter feel unappreciated at work.


The bad news? Sixty-one percent of workers reported not feeling recognized enough. Twenty-eight percent said they either rarely or never receive praise from their managers. Another 33 percent said their work is only "sometimes" recognized.

Furthermore, 59 percent of respondents have never had a supervisor who's appreciated them. The survey results show the need for a change in the employee-supervisor relationship, as 36 percent of employees believe their managers only acknowledge their work through formal evaluations.

That kind of culture can affect engagement, particularly among younger workers. Seventy percent of employees older than 54 believe their supervisors appreciate their work. On the contrary, less than half of workers 24 years old and younger feel recognized.


A 2022 Gallup research report, Generation Disconnected: Data on Gen Z in the Workplace, shows how much recognition can affect engagement. The report reveals that Gen Zers (people born between 1997 and 2012) and millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) are likelier to be unengaged at work than their older co-workers. Overall, more than half of those groups were not engaged at work. The primary reasons for younger generations' disengagement, per Gallup, were overall stress and burnout.

To combat lack of engagement, TalentLMS's research identified ways for employers to show their employees appreciation, such as providing cash bonuses rather than time off or offering training and development opportunities. More than half of respondents said their companies already provide those opportunities. However, 30 percent of employees aren't happy with how employers then show appreciation to individuals for taking advantage of development opportunities.

"These findings point to the need for two things," the report says. "Companies should invest in their employees' professional development. But they also need to follow up by offering recognition of the skills and expertise gained."

About the Author

Bobby Lewis is a writer for ATD; [email protected].

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