WorldatWork issued its latest Trends in Employee Recognition Survey last month. According to this survey of US-based WorldatWork members, the most common recognition program objectives are to create a positive work environment, motivate high performance, and create a culture of recognition. From my perspective, in organizations where a culture of recognition (or appreciation) is in place, employees are motivated to perform at a higher level and a positive work environment will result.
Contributing to these results are two of the newest types of recognition programs: those that motivate specific behaviors and peer-to-peer recognition. Surveyed companies reported these two programs as having been in place less than five years but with relatively high impact on employee retention. These types of programs specifically are part of the innovation that Globoforce has brought to the employee recognition industry. Our best practice of values-based recognition is designed specifically to encourage behavior that reinforces or exhibits a company’s stated values or goals. And we firmly believe that 80-90% of any company’s employee-base should be recognized regularly and frequently – which is only possible when peers are encouraged to acknowledge the exceptional efforts of their colleagues.
Shockingly, only 48% reported that their company has a written strategy behind the organization’s recognition program, which is 12% less than was reported in 2005. Moreover, 36% (the same as in 2005) report not measuring success of recognition programs at all. These statistics are staggering to me as we strongly advocate a strategic approach to recognition to ensure program success and bottom-line results through increased employee engagement. Perhaps these low percentages of strategic planning and measurement account for the equally low 46% of senior management who view employee recognition as an investment (again, 9% less than in 2005). Executive sponsors will not buy into any program that is not planned or measured – and HR initiatives of any kind will remain tactical until this is overcome.
Where does your company stand on these key issues? Are recognition programs strategic – carefully planned and measured – with executive support? Do you motivate the specific behaviors you want to see in your employees with your recognition programs? Do you encourage a culture of appreciation with your recognition program?
About Derek Irvine
The VP of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their organizations. As a renowned speaker and co-author of "The Power of Thanks" and "Winning with a Culture of Recognition," he teaches companies how to use recognition to proactively manage company culture. Derek holds a B.Comm and Masters of Business Studies from the Smurfit Graduate Business School at University College Dublin.