The ‘hidden superpower’ that tackles disengagement, low productivity

'Quiet quitting' is on the rise – expert reveals the secret to employee engagement, motivation and company loyalty

The ‘hidden superpower’ that tackles disengagement, low productivity

This article was produced in partnership with Reward Gateway.

The world of work has changed dramatically over the last several years, and employee engagement has become a significant challenge for employers. In the face of ‘quiet quitting’ and disengagement, Reward Gateway says employers need to leverage the ultimate “hidden superpower” – recognition.

According to Reward Gateway’s research, 24% of global employees report no longer going above and beyond in their role. Many are on the verge of burnout due to times of high stress, and most are still feeling the impact of the pandemic, remote work, and the cost of living crisis. In response, Reward Gateway sales director Kylie Terrell says that HR leaders need to “pull all levers available to them.” These include benefits, recognition, rewards, and other areas of the employee experience.

“We are seeing company culture continue to be a key driver of a healthy, successful workforce, with employees seeking alignment to an organisation’s mission, purpose and values,” Terrell says.

“We know that employees generally are willing to show loyalty to their employer if they feel valued and rewarded.”

“Recognition is a hidden superpower within organisations to increase productivity and strengthen company culture, particularly in times of high stress,” she explains. “HR leaders need to get ahead of the changes before their workforce disengages from their mission.”

The impact of rewards and recognition on employee motivation is undoubtedly strong. A recent study showed that 80% of employees who experience stress at work also rate recognition as very poor, while only 43% of employees who experience stress at work consider they have good or excellent recognition.

Terrell notes that there are also science-based strategies that boost employee wellbeing. Recognising employees results in feelings of competence and mastery, which releases the motivation-enhancing dopamine, while feelings of autonomy and self-motivation releases serotonin – a mood-boosting neurotransmitter.

“Interactions involving trust and kindness release oxytocin, a hormone involved in bonding and social learning,” Terrell explains.

“Embracing recognition, rewards and a comprehensive approach to workplace wellbeing can only stand to create stronger, more productive, and more resilient cultures.’

While 2022 was the year of “The Great Adjustment”, we are now heading into another year of unknowns. Aside from increasing disengagement, employees now expect a more flexible work environment, more help with their everyday financial burdens, and more honesty and support for wellbeing issues – and HR is going to be at the heart of facing these challenges.

“Today’s workplaces are far more advanced from yesterday’s archetypal faceless corporations where employees were treated as just another input to production,” Terrell says.

“For the past few years, HR leaders have been tested in unprecedented ways. But for relatively low output, investments in reward and recognition pay off, resulting in surprisingly high boosts in workplace wellbeing, increasing productivity and mitigating negative feelings before they grow into problems or crises.”

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