Gen Z, millennial workers prefer more recognition at work

Younger employees are more likely to wish to receive frequent recognition from managers and peers than older employees and are less likely to be satisfied with recognition levels, according to a May 18 Gallup report.

Gallup and Workhuman surveyed 7,500 U.S. employees on their recognition experiences. Recognizing employees is an important part of ensuring they feel supported and appreciated, but different groups of employees report receiving differing levels of recognition and have varying needs for being recognized. Many workers feel under-recognized at work, with only 26 percent of all employees saying they received similar amounts of recognition as other team members with similar levels of performance, suggesting there's a perception that some employers may be playing favorites. 

Only 19 and 21 percent of Black and Hispanic employees, respectively, feel they receive equitable recognition at work, compared to 28 percent of white people. Younger workers feel the need for more recognition at work and thus have a larger gap between the levels of recognition they'd prefer and how much they actually receive. Thirty-eight percent of Gen Z and a quarter of millennials would prefer to receive recognition a few times a week from their supervisor, compared to 16 percent of baby boomers.

This desire for more recognition isn't necessarily a sign of "neediness" in young people but a sign that they wish to grow, the report said. "Recognition provides the ingredients for employees to grow — boosting confidence, reinforcing good work and cementing strong working relationships." 

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