logo

Here's the No. 1 reason why employees quit their jobs

David Novak, oGoLead co-founder and CEO
VIDEO3:5903:59
Yum! Brands co-founder David Novak on the importance of company culture

If you go to work every day just going through the motions, you aren't alone.

According to Gallup, only 33% of employees are engaged at work.

So, how can nearly 70% of the workforce be disengaged?

I believe it's because there is a tremendous lack of recognition in the world today, or what I call the global recognition deficit. And there are statistics to prove it.

According to OC Tanner research:

• 79% of employees who quit their jobs claim that a lack of appreciation was a major reason for leaving

• 65% of Americans claimed they weren't even recognized one time last year

My company, oGoLead, fielded national research and found even more evidence for the lack of recognition in the workplace:

• 82% of employees feel their supervisor doesn't recognize them for what they do

• 60% say they are more motivated by recognition than money

If leaders give their people the recognition they've earned, show genuine appreciation and acknowledge the unique things people have to offer and do, then they will drive significantly better results. At the same time, they will lift the spirits of everyone involved, including themselves, and create a positive energy that becomes contagious and creates a ripple effect across the organization.

VIDEO2:3002:30
Here's how much money you should have saved

More from Invest in You:
Simple ways to craft a perfect social profile for job hunting
Here's how much Americans are spending on an allowance
The opportunity to earn a good life through hard work is at risk: Sen. Warner

So why aren't more people using the power of recognition in the workplace?

For one, people aren't using purposeful recognition. In order for recognition to drive results, it has to be earned. And the team has to know how to earn it. Therefore, bosses have to clearly define what they recognize and how it links to performance outcomes. When they do this, it becomes a catalyst for driving results. This is called purposeful recognition.

Second, there are all kinds of barriers that hold people back from recognition. And trust me, I heard them all when I launched the recognition culture at Yum! Brands.

Bosses need to learn how to overcome the barriers to recognition, which will help them become a leader with an engaged team that drives positive results.

Former Yum Brands CEO David Novak
Source: Yum! Brands
The last thing any of us want is for people to think they could get recognized just for showing up to work. That's why making recognition purposeful is the breakthrough leaders need to get the results they want.

Barrier #1: Giving recognition isn't natural, it's awkward

The more your boss recognizes someone's good work, the more he or she gets comfortable with it. Plus, when he or she sees the impact the praise has, it creates motivation to stick with it.

Barrier #2: Fear people will expect to be recognized for everything

This could be a problem if your boss doesn't have purposeful recognition. Leaders need to identify goals and essential behaviors that will lead to those results, and then recognize the heck out of those behaviors.

The last thing any of us want is for people to think they could get recognized just for showing up to work. That's why making recognition purposeful is the breakthrough leaders need to get the results they want.

David Novak presents YUM! Recognition award to Yuan Yuan Chen, Director of Finance -Yum! China Division

Barrier #3: There is no time to recognize

The time bosses spend on recognition is one of the best investments they can make. By building recognition into their daily routine, it will become more natural for them over time. Recognition just becomes the way they do things, rather than an add on.

In fact, it will actually make them more productive because their employees will want to help them.

I've seen purposeful recognition work on a grand scale with people from different walks of life all around the world. It was the key to my success at Yum! Brands and I think it can be the key to others success as well.

—By David Novak, co-founder and retired chairman of Yum! Brands and the co-founder and CEO of oGoLead, a digital leadership platform. He is also a bestselling leadership book author. His books include The New York Times bestseller Taking People With You, The Education of an Accidental CEO and his 2016 parable, O GREAT ONE! A Little Story About the Awesome Power of Recognition. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidNovakOGO.

Check out Ryan Serhant of 'Million Dollar Listing': 4 questions to ask before you buy a home via Grow with Acorns+CNBC.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.

Next Article
Arun Sundararajan, professor at NYU Stern School of Business
Key Points
  • Digital forces are reshaping how people earn a living, creating a higher level of income variability.
  • The future of work demands new earnings securitization partnerships to ensure income predictability.
  • Societies must rethink unemployment benefits to smooth income shocks and incorporate the freelance workforce.