Banking leaders need to revisit how they appreciate and recognise the efforts and achievements of their employees.

Specifically, senior bankers need to acknowledge and act upon shortcomings in recognition initiatives. That is the key takeaway from OC Tanner’s 2024 Global Culture Report. The survey has been released to coincide with Employee Appreciation Day, 1 March.

It reports that 69% of banking employees believe that recognition is a part of their company’s everyday culture. But just 21% state that they’ve been recognised at work within the past three months.

Plus, when recognition is given, almost half of employees (47%) say that it’s done in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.

“Showing regular recognition for efforts, results and career milestones is key for engaging and retaining your people” said Robert Ordever, European MD of employee recognition specialist, OC Tanner.

The need to recognise more than just the high-fliers

“However, recognition must be done well and this means giving it frequently and appreciating everyone across the organisation, not just the high-fliers. It’s also key to understand how individuals want to be appreciated rather than using a ‘one size fits all’ approach that could leave some employees feeling awkward and embarrassed.”

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The importance of appreciating employees’ smaller, everyday efforts as well as their larger accomplishments is also highlighted by the report. 63% of banking employees admit that their leaders only ever recognise their largest efforts. This is despite 70% stating that their organisation continually implements new programmes and technologies to recognise great work.

Ordever added: “The most effective recognition programmes regularly appreciate employees’ small efforts and accomplishments as well as their big wins. From thanking an employee for putting extra effort into a project through to calling-out an individual’s great attitude during a team meeting, recognition must become second nature – frequently given and received by senior leaders, managers and peers.”