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Employees feel undervalued at work

High levels of stress, inflexibility and lack of advancement opportunities have hurt employee productivity and increased the need for employee reward and recognition programs.

Employees feel increasingly unappreciated and stuck in their jobs, according to a national survey by the American Psychological Association's (APA) Center for Organizational Excellence. High levels of stress, long hours, heavy workloads and lack of advancement opportunities have hurt employee productivity and increased the need for employee reward and recognition programs.

The APA's study found that just 43 percent of employees were recognized for their work in a fair and meaningful way. This malaise leads to higher turnover rates and lower production as employees can't properly engage with their work. Heavy workloads and a lack of resources forced businesses to cut back on benefits such as flex scheduling, which can help employees balance their work and family responsibilities more effectively. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said their employers provide flexible work options that help them meet their personal obligations.

Build engagement by focusing on culture
Employee reward and recognition programs allow companies to combat these feelings of stress by creating a supportive work environment. Jones Lang LaSalle states that a strong corporate culture can dramatically improve employee performance by engaging them on multiple levels. Recognizing the contributions of key staff members is the first step to making each worker feel valued.

"The real workplace debate is all about driving culture as a key driver of business performance," asserts Susan Lim, a member of the Jones Lang LaSalle global workplace strategy board. "To drive the global economy, you've got to create a shared culture aligned with CEO vision. You can't mandate motivation. We should be debating how companies create and sustain culture, community and experience."

Recognition programs provide clear feedback about expectations​, along with the means to motivate employees by creating shared values. Companies that incorporate organizational values into the initiatives highlight their importance to the success of the company, and encourage employees to adopt them into decision-making practices. This builds a common identity among staff, boosting cooperation and engagement.

Including efforts to reduce stress in reward programs could help employees feel appreciated. Employees who show commitment or achieve specific development goals may earn time off or more flexible schedules to balance their commitments. These types of rewards often mean more to workers than monetary awards, and show that the company values its staff members without a large increase in expenses.

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