More than half (52 per cent) of workers say receiving an annual bonus makes them feel appreciated at work, according to a new survey by Robert Half International Inc.

The human resources consultancy recently conducted a LinkedIn poll that also found employees said trust from their boss (29 per cent) and receiving verbal recognition (16 per cent) also makes them feel appreciated in the workplace.

“I think we sometimes forget how powerful words of affirmation could be,” says Tara Parry, Robert Half’s director of permanent placement services. “Simply saying, ‘Thank you, you’re doing a great job,’ that sort of simplistic approach is so powerful and yet often gets lost in the data. We don’t think of it as being something we can track, but it’s so important. Most of us have worked for managers where you don’t hear ‘thank you’ and the difference in motivation between that scenario and one where you’re being told [this] frequently is significant.”

Read: Whole Foods offering ‘appreciation’ bonuses during holiday season

Meanwhile, a separate survey by Robert Half Canada found two-fifths (42 per cent) of Canadian employees have already started looking or plan to look for a new job in the first half of 2024.

“That number has come down [from 50 per cent in Dec. 2022], which tells us employers have done a lot to make people want to stay,” says Parry. “But I think if you dig into it a little bit, there’s also some nervousness from employees about moving in a market that feels slightly vulnerable right now.”

The survey, which polled more than 760 Canadian employees, found two-thirds (67 per cent) of employees millennials and generation Zers were likely to make a move in 2024. When asked what would lead them to look for a new position, 47 per cent cited salary, followed by more advancement opportunities (32 per cent), better perks and benefits (31 per cent) and more flexibility (31 per cent).

Read: 41% of Canadian employees plan to change jobs by the end of 2023: survey

While it’s no surprise salary is one of the biggest motivators for people to start looking for work, Parry says when examining why workers stay with an employer, compensation is usually the last reason. “Salary is a key driver to making people want to move, but it’s not a key driver to making people stay. I think this is something to be aware of because if [employees] are only there for the money and no other reason, that’s where you can get into trouble.”

Roughly a third of respondents said they were staying with their current employer because their current job offers a level of flexibility they aren’t willing to lose (38 per cent), they feel fulfilled in their current role (36 per cent) and they feel well compensated for their work (30 per cent).

Additionally, more than half (54 per cent) of hiring managers said they’re actively seeking talent for new roles, mostly to support company growth, while 64 per cent said it takes longer to hire now than a year ago, and they risk losing skilled people to competitors if they don’t speed things up.

Read: 65% of employees looking to change jobs due to compensation, well-being: survey