Employee Recognition Statistics

We got our hands on WorldatWork’s latest, quite lengthy report on employee recognition entitled: Trends in Employee Recognition. As you might expect, the report was a page-turner for us over here, but the layperson may find it a bit dull. Okay, it’s a bit dry—we can admit that. However, the report does contain a great deal of interesting data, especially if you’re looking to motivate employees by improving your own recognition program. To make long story short, we have your back. To keep you aware of the trends as well as curb your boredom, we pulled out the most thought-provoking statistics and compelling conclusions drawn by WorldatWork (and us to a certain extent—I mean, we’re not “scientists” but we’ve been known to draw a conclusion or two) to give you, the loyal reader, an grasp of the direction of employee recognition for the future and how to improve your own program.

To set the mood a little, it may be apt to pull a lofty quote out of left field.

“If awards/incentives are meant to drive behavior, then the awards/incentives must be deemed meaningful by the employee whose behavior we want to influence.” – Joshua Klapow, Ph.D.

Boom! We Ph. D’ed you! Wooo!
Ok, in all honesty, we know a handful of “so-called” Ph. D.s and, let’s just say, they’re not all gold—but this particular quote is! Josh (we’re close so I can call him that) hits the nail on the head here. Fostering employee dedication and real drive is the whole point behind gestures of recognition—so let’s make sure we know our facts before we start handing out any participation awards.
Wow. That came out of nowhere. Sorry to be so curt. Let’s move on…

Survey Details

WorldatWork opened the survey to 5,520 randomly selected WorldatWork members in Feburary, 2013. A typical WorldatWork member works at the managerial level or higher in the headquarters of a large company in North America.

The survey closed in the middle of March with a 9% response rate, nearly 500 respondents.

Overall Findings

• 88% of organizations have recognition programs in place (an increase from 86% in 2011)
• Programs to motivate specific behavior jumped a few spots from 2011, a 7% increase
• Organizations are moving away from legacy recognition programs and toward programs that drive results
• Programs that honor performance recognition saw the biggest percentage decrease of 25% prevalence
• Organizations are budgeting an average of 2% of the payroll budget to be used for recognition programs (which is the same as 2011)
• Most organizations (40%) offer between 3-4 types of recognition programs
• Of the top five recognition programs in 2013, the top three remained the same: length of service, above-and-beyond performance and peer-to-peer

Top 5 Goals of Recognition

1. Recognize years of service
2. Create a positive work environment
3. Create a culture of recognition
4. Motivate high performance
5. Reinforce desired behaviors

Top 5 Recognition Awards

1. Certificates, awards, and/or plaques
2. Cash
3. Gift certificates
4. Company logo merchandise
5. Food

Effect on Employee Engagement

“Most respondents believe their workforces would say that the effect of recognition programs on employee engagement, motivation and satisfaction are positive or extremely positive. […]Additionally, correlations demonstrated a positive relationship between senior management support for recognition programs and the perceived effect on employee engagement, satisfaction and motivation.”
-WorldatWork – Trends in Employee Recognition – 2013

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