Many firms expend a great deal of resources on merit review systems these days. Providing employees 360 degree feedback for evaluative and developmental purposes has become standard in large companies. Coaches and mentors provide feedback too. Managers meet one-on-one to provide "constructive feedback" as well. Incentive compensation exists, in some form or another, in most firms. Nevertheless, many company executives fret these days about the low levels of employee engagement in their organizations.
Many reasons exist for the lack of engagement, but let's start with a simple cause. Despite all the "feedback" provided to employees these days, they often feel that they receive little public recognition for their good work. Yes, employees enjoy a bonus or a raise. However, they also value those occasions when a manager or executive praises their efforts and accomplishments publicly. Yet, that public recognition comes very rarely in some firms. Tomorrow's holiday reminds us that a simple "thank you" and "job well done" expressed in front of one's peers can be very motivating.