Employee recognition programs remain a priority: Survey

Firms reward tenure, performance

Employee recognition has remained a priority among organizations in the United States, despite the cutbacks during the slow economic recovery, according to a survey by WorldatWork.

Eighty-six per cent of the nearly 650 respondents said they use recognition programs as part of their rewards tool kit, down only slightly from 89 per cent in 2008.

“A three per cent decline is not that significant considering the difficult labour and economic climate since the last survey was conducted,” said Alison Avalos, research manager at WorldatWork. “The data suggests that even with a recession, recognition programs remain an important component of employee rewards.”

And 78 per cent of respondents said they set aside an annual budget for their recognition programs; the average budget was two per cent of the payroll budget, down slightly from 2.7 per cent in 2008, found the survey

The top recognition program used by 90 per cent of respondents is for length of service, followed by above and beyond performance (79 per cent) and peer-to-peer (43 per cent).

Programs to motivate specific behaviours also climbed in usage by nine percentage points to 34 per cent since 2008.

Certificates or plaques are the top tangible recognition awards presented to employees, according to 77 per cent of respondents. Cash was the second most popular choice (62 per cent) followed by gift certificates (47 per cent).

The most common objectives for having recognition programs include recognize years of service (76 per cent), create a positive work environment (74 per cent) and motivate high performance (71 per cent).

However, fourteen per cent of respondents said they did not have any recognition programs in place whatsoever and 10 per cent said they eliminated some recognition programs in the last year.

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