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Employee Recognition & Appreciation Study

At ADLER Business Gifts, we understand the importance of recognising and rewarding employees for their dedication and hard work, which is why we decided to survey 2,000 UK workers to find out whether this is actually happening and how much employees value it. For our workplace perks survey, we wanted to find out what perks, benefits and gifts employees value the most, as well as what they’re currently getting and how they feel about that. We also looked into the difference between male and female workers, as well as analysing the generational divide to find out what various age groups want from their employers. So, how are UK companies currently rewarding their staff? We asked employees what gifts and benefits they currently receive from their businesses, with the most common gifts as follows:
  1. Sweets and confectionary – 17%
  2. Mugs and drinkware – 10%
  3. Promotional clothing – 10%
  4. Calendars and diaries – 9%
  5. Pens and writing instruments – 9%
  6. Home accessories – 9%
  7. Notebooks – 8%
  8. Electronics – 8%
  9. Office accessories – 7%
  10. Keyrings – 7%
We also looked into the most wanted corporate gifts to find out whether this top ten really is what employees are looking for. In first place at least, companies are definitely getting it right with sweets and confectionary, as chocolate was far and away the most wanted gift. Clearly workers are craving a sugar hit to get them through the day! The full top ten list of most wanted gifts from employers is:
  1. Chocolate – 42%
  2. Personal care – 38%
  3. Watches – 32%
  4. Mugs and cups – 26%
  5. Notebooks – 25%
  6. Sweets – 21%
  7. Premium pens – 21%
  8. Water bottles – 20%
  9. Umbrellas – 20%
  10. Travel mugs – 20%
Despite the popularity of gifts like these, we also found out that 28% of UK employees feel that their company currently does nothing to show appreciation for their hard work. This includes corporate presents and gifts, as well as other rewards to recognise their contribution.   We asked workers what makes them feel most valued, with pay rises (maybe unsurprisingly!) coming out on top, with 57% of people saying that receiving a wage or salary increase made them feel valued. This was followed by bonuses (54%) and the aforementioned gifts (29%). Feeling valued and appreciated is clearly vitally important to employees, so we decided to ask our respondents how not being recognised makes them feel. 36% of workers said not being appreciated led to them being poorly motivated, while 1 in 4 respondents said that not being given credit for their contribution would lead them to look for another job. The same percentage said that they are considerably less productive when they feel undervalued. Lack of recognition also reflects badly on the business itself, with 24% of employees saying that this leads to a negative perception of the management and owners. Even more worryingly, 23% of workers claim that being undervalued at work leads to poor mental health, so it’s absolutely critical that businesses invest time and effort into making sure their workers feel appreciated.  

The Gender Divide

As well as analysing overall workforce sentiment, we also broke our results down by gender to look into the male-female divide and see what differences we could uncover. The results were extremely telling, with women feeling less appreciated than men in almost every category we looked at. Overall, 30% of women responded that their employer does nothing to recognise or show appreciation for their work, compared to just 24% of men who gave the same response. This was backed up by the fact that, according to our study, women are less likely to receive bonuses; personal or public recognition from a manager, colleague, director or CEO; pay rises; awards; or gifts. The full results can be seen below: ADLER - Employee appreciation   This clear divide between men and women when it comes to being recognised at work is compounded by the fact that women are more negatively impacted by a failure to be valued. Women are, according to our study, more likely to see a negative impact on motivation, productivity and mental health, as well as being more likely to start searching for new jobs, all because they are less recognised than their male counterparts. The full results from this section of the survey are as follows: ADLER - Impact of not being recognised

The Age Gap

As part of our research, we spoke to Paul French, HR consultant and founder of Intrinsic Executive Search, a global recruitment and talent management firm. This was what he had to say on the gender recognition gap in the workplace: “The global health pandemic has disproportionately negatively impacted women, leading to a loss of income and the bigger gender pay gap we are currently witnessing. More women had to either work part-time or leave full-time employment for childcare and home-schooling reasons in the last year. “There’s plenty of anecdotal data showing that women continue to spend more time on domestic obligations than men. This became even more apparent during the pandemic when more women than men exited the workplace. These dynamics have inevitably led to a situation where there are more men than women in the workplace; this is reflected in metrics such as an expanding gender pay gap. “Supporting flexible working and availing childcare benefits will ensure more women remain in the workplace and earn their keep. Women would work the same number as their male counterparts, therefore, mandating employers to give them equal pay. Remote work should not be an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ situation. It should come with real opportunities for professional development, perks, bonuses, and meaningful promotions, ensuring women workers do not fall behind at any point in their career path.”   As well as breaking our survey results down by gender, we also compared the different generations of the UK workforce to find out how they feel about workplace recognition. The results were decisive, with the oldest age demographic we surveyed feeling the least appreciated at work, and that sense of value decreasing consistently from the youngest generation to the oldest. A massive 43% of over-55s say they receive no recognition or appreciation at work, which is more than twice the percentage of 16 to 24-year-olds who feel the same way. The full percentages of those who feel they receive no appreciation are:
  • 16-24-year-olds – 18%
  • 25-34-year-olds – 20%
  • 35-44-year-olds – 28%
  • 45-54-year-olds – 35%
  • Over-55s – 43%
  So, there you have it, our research into workplace perks, including what businesses arecurrently doing for their staff and how employees feel about it, the dream workers’ recognition wish list, and intriguing insight into how different genders and ages feel about workplace recognition. One of the most important takeaways for business owners should be to listen to their employees and understand exactly what motivates them in terms of perks, so they can ensure they tailor this to their staff in future. While the majority appreciate pay-related perks like salary increases and bonuses, employees also value recognition and gifts beyond just what they receive in their pay packet every week or month. To find out more about ADLER’s diverse range of business gifts, you can browse our full collection here and pick out the gifts that are perfect for your staff.


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