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Motivosity Original Research

By Erika Rahman
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In a 2016 study of 10,000 employees, Motivosity found that managers are responsible, in large part, for the amount that their employees like their jobs. The role of appreciation from managers in the workplace is critical to the success and happiness of their workers.

This survey consisted of 10,000 employees with 1,578 managers.

We addressed the correlation between the frequency at which a manager expresses gratitude to their employees, and the strength of the employees’ responses to a quarterly satisfaction survey.

The recognition component consists of managers thanking their own people.

A low satisfaction score in this survey is defined as anything below a 3.2 on the Likert-scale.

Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton in How Full is your Bucket? found that 65% of workers say that they have not been recognized for something they have done in the last year. We asked ourselves what impact this had on employee satisfaction and other key determining factors.

We use Likert-type Scale questions. A statement is presented to the participant and they can select from the following options: Strongly disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, and Strongly agree.


Overall satisfaction scores

We found that managers who don’t thank their employees at all are ten times more likely to have low overall employee satisfaction scores among their direct reports than those managers who do thank their employees.

Overall, managers who regularly thank their direct reports have employee satisfaction scores that are 20% higher than Managers who do not. (We are suggesting that a movement from 2 to 3 is a movement of 1 position out of 5 potential position moves, hence 20%)

Question: My boss or supervisor cares about me as a person

From the survey results we found that managers who don’t thank their employees at all are 21 times more likely to receive low scores in this category.

Question: I would NOT take another similar job for 10% more money

In a healthy company culture, employees would rather stay at the company than leave for a 10% raise. Based on correlation, managers who don’t thank their employees at all are 7.8 times more likely to have employees who are willing to leave the company for a 10% raise.


Managers are extremely influential in whether or not their direct reports enjoy work. In all categories there was a direct correlation between how often a manager thanked their employee and how well they responded to the questions asked. The role of recognition is key to satisfaction and overall sentiment in the workplace.