Use of employee recognition programs has declined slightly, but still important component of employee rewards

A survey released this week by WorldatWork shows employee recognition has declined slightly: 86 percent of companies use recognition programs as part of their rewards tool kit, down from 89 percent in 2008. Fourteen percent of companies report not having any recognition programs in place whatsoever and 10 percent report eliminating some recognition offerings in the12 months prior to the survey. “A 3 percent decline is not that significant considering the difficult labor and economic climate since the last survey was conducted,” explained Alison Avalos, research manager for WorldatWork. “The data suggests that even with a recession, recognition programs remain an important component of employee rewards.”

The top three recognition programs are:

  1. Length of service (90 percent);
  2. Above and beyond performance (79 percent); and
  3. Peer-to-peer (43 percent).

Programs to motivate specific behaviors climbed in usage by nine percentage points to 34 percent since 2008.

Top tangible recognition awards presented to employees include: Certificates and/or plaques (77 percent); Cash (62 percent); and Gift certificates (47 percent).

The most common objectives for having recognition programs include: Recognize years of service (76 percent); Create a positive work environment (74 percent); and Motivate high performance (71 percent).

The survey also revealed that 78 percent of respondents set aside an annual budget for their recognition programs; the average budget was 2 report they of the payroll budget, down from 2.7 report they in 2008. In addition, 52 report they of respondents believe senior management views recognition as an investment rather than expense. And 11 report they of organizations measure the return on investment (ROI) on their recognition programs.

Source: WorldatWork; www.worldatwork.org.