Our company distributed a survey among thousands of HR professionals to discover the impact employee recognition programs have on employees and workplace culture. Read on to see what seasoned HR pro Dan Cross has to say about the results:
As I glanced at the data, the first number that stood out to me was 94 percent. I was not surprised to see that HR professionals almost universally believe employee recognition programs help to engage, motivate, recruit, and retain employees. I was more shocked at the 6 percent of my professional peers who don’t feel that these programs accomplish those goals and/or don’t offer a program to employees. I was also taken back by the 65 percent of employers who feel that their recognition programs have room for improvement. Which led me to ask, why? So, I turned back to the survey for more answers.
In my experience, employee recognition programs are one of the best tools for employee engagement. In fact, the survey revealed that employees enrolled in a recognition program are 40 percent more engaged than those who are not. Employees of all ages, but particularly millennials, are seeking jobs that offer them experiences that are in line with their hobbies, interests, passions and that allow them to create that perfect ratio of work-life balance. Companies who do this tend to have happier, more engaged employees who are vested in the company and its mission.
Similar to many respondents of this survey, I’ve personally noticed recognition is primarily anchored around tenure (86 percent), performance (63 percent) and life celebrations (53 percent).
Nevertheless, it was interesting to find out that HR professionals reported making employees feel valued (90 percent) and creating a positive work environment (81 percent) as the top two goals of their recognition programs. With the increased trend of rewarding employees for wellness initiatives, fulfillment of an organization’s mission/values, charitable giving and peer-to-peer recognition, it was refreshing to see that these goals are supplemental to the core purpose and value of a recognition program – to make employee happy and feel valued for their daily contributions.
As a young professional in HR, it was exciting (and a bit unnerving) to receive recognition for my five-year work anniversary a few weeks ago. At 81 percent, survey respondents acknowledged that employees find gift certificates to be the most valued reward followed closely by dining certificates (41 percent) and movie tickets (35 percent). Dinner and a movie would have been great, but I did not receive any of those things. That doesn’t mean I didn’t truly appreciate the recognition though, and it’s important for HR professionals to keep the whole picture (personalization, reward type, messaging, presentation, etc.) in mind when it comes to an employee’s perception of their recognition programs.
So, armed with all this information, why the heck do we all not have established and robust employee recognition programs? Well, here is where I found the answer to my very first question. The factors identified as top challenges in regard to rewarding employees are ones we as HR professionals know all too well – limited resources (57 percent), cost (57 percent), and time (49 percent).
Any recognition program will require some type of financial investment as identified in the survey, and companies seem to be investing because they know the importance the program will have on their organization as a whole. Two thirds of companies with recognition programs set aside more than $50 per employee annually to awards, with one third devoting more than $100 per employee. At the end of the day, HR professionals want a hassle-free, cost-effective solution that will provide real results.
For those HR professionals looking to implement a recognition program and don’t know where to start or simply would like to add value to their existing programs, why not consider EBG’s Rewards Management Solution? They’ve clearly done their homework!