According to the recently released 2019 Trends in Employee Recognition Survey, conducted by WorldatWork with underwriting support from Maritz Motivation, the number of companies who say they have no employee recognition policy, strategy, or philosophy increased to 19% in 2019 compared to 12% in 2015.
This trend suggests that organizations may be relying on an informal matrix of recognition practices or programs that lack the necessary synchronization with larger corporate objectives or philosophies. At the heart of this issue may be the fact that only slightly more than half (52%) of senior management, according to the survey, look at recognition as an investment. And worse, fewer than 20% of those surveyed said their recognition programs are “definitely” meeting their goals.
According to Scott Cawood, President and CEO of WorldatWork, “A well placed ‘thank you’ generates buzz for delivering on a promise to a customer or exceeding an expectation. Recognition costs very little but delivers powerful ROI, including helping all employees celebrate their great work, which both excites them and encourages them to stay with you. As this study suggests, those who administer these programs recognize that they are valuable, but there is a big opportunity to call out employees for work well done in a more formal way.”
While the trend toward less formal programs may not be positive, the survey did reveal that 17% of companies surveyed maintain formal company-wide recognition programs, referred to by the study as “deeply-embedded recognition programs”.
Other Survey Highlights:
- Most organizations have an informal recognition program; but 36% of those with written programs and policies say they are not widely applied, compared to 44% who said they were applied in 2015.
- The average organization uses eight separate recognition programs. The most typical are length of service (72%) and above-and-beyond performance (62%). Programs to motivate specific behaviors or outputs such as customer service (34%), productivity (27%), and quality (27%) are also occasions for recognition.
As for specific rewards, gift cards are the most common reward, given by 62% of respondents. The employee of the month/year is used by 18%t of companies; and 49% give clocks and watches as rewards.
According to WorldatWork, the survey’s goal was to identify emergent or persistent trends around how and why organizations recognize their staff. Data for the survey was collected from nearly 500 WorldatWork members employed in the Human Resource field.