- While the number of employers with "deeply-embedded" recognition programs increased to 17% in 2019 from 10% in 2015, the number of employers with no recognition policies whatsoever also increased, to 19% in 2019 from 12% in 2015, according to WorldatWork and Maritz Motivation's 2019 Trends in Employee Recognition Survey. Only about half of senior managers view recognition as an investment, the survey said.
- While most respondents said their recognition plans are "doing a fairly good job" meeting goals, 18% said they were "definitely meeting" their goals. Half of the respondents said HR administers their recognition programs and a quarter of respondents said the compensation department handles them.
- The average organization represented in the survey used eight recognition programs, including length of service (72%), above-and-beyond performance (62%), customer service (34%), productivity (27%) and quality (27%). Forty percent of organizations used biometric/wellness programs to recognize employees who reach their health goals, the survey said. Gift cards were the most common form of recognition (62%), followed by clocks and watches (49%). According to the survey, 18% of organizations give employee-of-the-month awards.
Employment experts regard recognition programs as more than just a series of nice-to-do gestures, but as tools for engagement and retention. A majority of workers in a Deloitte report said a simple "thank you" went a long way toward making them feel appreciated at work. For more significant accomplishments, 47% of workers said they wanted to be recognized with a new growth opportunity, rather than a salary increase or high-performance rating. Deloitte found that recognition from leaders above their direct supervisors would mean a lot to 37% of workers.
"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," WorldatWork's president and CEO, Scott Cawood, said in a media release.
Though recognition was not seen as a worthwhile investment for many of the managers surveyed, Cawood said formalizing recognition programs and policies could help with retention. As of 2017, the cost of investing in recognition started at 1% of payroll for many employers.