WorldatWork reports that more than 88 percent of organizations have recognition programs and 70 percent offer three to six different programs to recognize and reward employees. Their February 2013 Report, “Trends in Recognition” surveys over 5,000 WorldatWork members and shows some very interesting trends in employee recognition.
The top three recognition programs in use in 2013 are length of service, above-and-beyond performance, and peer-to-peer. Programs to motivate specific behaviors are increasing and sales performance recognition is decreasing, having dropped out of the top five recognition programs.
Recognition – Top 5 Goals
WorldatWork’s survey reports the top five recognition goals as:
- Recognize years of service
- Create a positive work environment
- Create a culture of recognition
- Motivate high performers
- Reinforce desired behaviors
This indicates that employers’ top priority is to recognize loyal, long-term employees but also want to use recognition to improve their work environment and culture and drive motivation and behavior.
Recognition – Top 5 Types of Awards
The WorldatWork survey reports that the top five types of recognition awards are:
- Gift certificates
- Company logo merchandise
This indicates that employers still believe that cash and cash equivalents are what mean the most to employees. Research over the last several years supports that employees actually prefer gift certificates and gift cards, especially for practical items such as food. (For more, check out Incentive Magazine’s recent study: “Majority of Consumers Use Gift Cards for Necessities”.)
Growing Impact on Performance Management
In another recent study, Society of Human Resource Management, along with Globoforce, surveyed 770 HR leaders who provided key insight into employee recognition trends. The survey found:
- Employee engagement fueled by recognition is under utilized
HR leaders say that employee recognition is key to employee engagement but engagement is underutilized and a top HR challenge. Less than half of survey participants track employee engagement levels, but those that do experience higher levels of employee and manager satisfaction from recognition efforts.
- Employee recognition fills a feedback gap in successful performance management
HR leaders feel that employee recognition programs effectively acknowledge employee performance even more than performance appraisals.
- Employee recognition delivers ROI in key areas
HR leaders reported that employee recognition increases productivity, customer and employee retention, employee engagement, return on profit margin, and return on equity. They reported increases of more than 50 percent in all these areas.
- Employee recognition aligned with core values develops effective managers
HR leaders see a strong correlation between recognition aligned with core values and more effective managers interacting with, engaging, and effectively recognizing the right behaviors.
Other interesting and important results of WorldatWork’s survey about trends in employee recognition include:
- More than half the participating organizations have Human Resources administer recognition programs.
- Less than 15 percent of organizations provide any training on employee recognition to managers.
- Only 11 percent of organizations feature recognition in recruiting to attract candidates.
Trends show increasing awareness of the real value of employee recognition to business outcomes, although most employers still focus on recognizing and rewarding length of service the most. Continued improvements in employee recognition and reward are needed for the most effective impact on motivation and return on investment.
Recognition programs that motivate specific behaviors are the fastest growing, increasing by 16 percent since 2008. The most effective recognition opportunities that any company can take advantage of include implementing a written recognition program strategy, aligning that strategy with organizational strategies and providing training on employee recognition to managers.
Where does your organization fall in these numbers? Does HR manage your recognition programs? Do you provide recognition training to managers?
Learn more about the relationship between employee recognition, engagement and your business bottom-line in our FREE Guide Below:
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