It may not be as simple as the equation above suggests, but when it comes to employee satisfaction, a little bit of well-placed recognition goes a long way—and it doesn’t have to be financial.

A recent global survey shows that less than half of employees (44%) feel their work is recognized or rewarded. Reward doesn’t have to be all about remuneration; it’s often just about recognition, and this can be simply positive feedback about performance and skills, or it can be linked to incentives and bonuses.

Across all generations the message is clear: employees of all ages and experience levels are not receiving basic recognition for a job well done. Results reveal that employees in EMEA are the least satisfied in this regard—just 38% feel they are recognized for a job well done. While other regions fare slightly better (APAC 50% and 49% in the Americas)—at best—half of the world’s workforce is lacking the key motivator they need to excel.

It’s important for managers to be on the look-out for exceptional effort and to acknowledge it when they see it. Employees aren’t necessarily looking for financial gain but they do expect their efforts to be noticed. It’s one simple, but effective way of “leading by example.”