WorldatWork’s latest “Trends in Employee Recognition Report” is out. Published every two years, I like this report as it offers consistent comparison for trends analysis as well as interesting new insight into data each time.
Key highlights from this year’s report:
1) Prevalence of recognition programs in organizations continues to grow.
89% of organizations offer some sort of recognition program with an average of 4.6 different types of recognition programs in each organization. Recognizing loyalty through years of service celebrations remains the number one most common recognition program. However, I’m pleased to see that programs that motivate specific behavior, which first broke into the top 5 in 2013, continues to rise (increasing 10 percentage points).
2) Top goals for recognition continue to align with types of programs offered.
The top 5 recognition goals remain unchanged from the 2013 report. Unsurprisingly, the goals align with the programs being offered, with retirement programs being the outlier. Not yet appearing in the top 5 but experiencing a notable increase in importance to those surveyed is the goal of increasing retention/decreasing turnover, which experience a 10 percentage point growth and now appearing in eighth place on the top goals list.
3) Results-driven programs gain in importance in organizations overall, with an emphasis on increasing employee engagement, motivation, satisfaction and retention.
“Through further analysis it was found that organizations with a strategic and/or embedded culture of recognition indicate that their employees have higher engagement, motivation and satisfaction. Additionally, organizations leveraging result-driven recognition programs, in particular, may be experiencing greater overall success.”
Good planning matters. Employee recognition is not a nice-to-have soft-skill. When done strategically to reinforce desired behaviors and drive organizational strategic objectives, recognition can have a significant impact on the factors most closely related to increased employee performance, productivity and customer service. That requires detailed planning up front and continual evaluation as organizational needs change for two critical factors: (1) your primary goals and ambitions for the program and (2) the metrics you will use to measure success against those factors.
Additionally, the more “results-driven” programs offered, the more of a positive impact is perceived on engagement, motivation and satisfaction. Results-driven programs are those designed to drive a distinct result as opposed to recognize loyalty or retirement. In WorldatWork’s reporting structure, results-driven programs are defined as those recognizing above-and-beyond performance, peer-to-peer recognition, designed to motivate specific behaviors, and wellness initiatives.
“The perceived effect on employee engagement, motivation and satisfaction improves as more result-driven recognition programs are used. Approximately half of organizations report a positive or extremely positive effect of recognition programs on employee engagement (54%), motivation (48%) and/or satisfaction (51%) when only one of the four programs is used. As the number of programs used increases to a total of four, the degree of positive impact grows considerably, to roughly three-fourths or more. This is better than the average of all respondents (regardless of use of the four specific result-driven programs) of 62% to 70% depending on the factor.”
4) Creating at true culture of recognition and appreciation is a driving factor for increases in employee engagement and motivation.
Giving lip service to recognition is not enough for employees. Every employee needs to know and understand that good work is recognized and appreciated across the organization in order to more deeply engage in contributing to achieving the goals of the organization.
These charts illustrate just how powerful it is to deeply embed recognition into “how we do business.”
Companies can no longer ignore the dramatic impact recognition has employee motivation, engagement and productivity and therefore on organization success. What is the trend for employee recognition in your organization?
Image Credit: All images from WorldatWork "Trends in Employee Recognition" 2015 Report.
As Globoforce’s Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting, Derek Irvine is an internationally minded management professional with over 20 years of experience helping global companies set a higher ambition for global strategic employee recognition, leading workshops, strategy meetings and industry sessions around the world. He is the co-author of "The Power of Thanks" and his articles on fostering and managing a culture of appreciation through strategic recognition have been published in Businessweek, Workspan and HR Management. Derek splits his time between Dublin and Boston. Follow Derek on Twitter at @DerekIrvine.