81% of employers offer company-wide recognition programs: survey

Company-wide recognition programs are widespread, offered by 81 per cent of employers, according to World at Work’s latest trends in employee recognition report.

The report, which surveyed employers in Canada and the United States, found 65 per cent of organizations offer between three and six different recognition programs. The top five recognition programs have remained in the same ranking since 2013: length of service (85 per cent), above-and-beyond performance (77 per cent), programs to motivate behaviours associated with business initiatives (51 per cent), peer-to-peer recognition (49 per cent) and retirement (34 per cent).

Read: Apps, peer recognition among the trends in employee recognition programs

Most of these programs are formal, as 55 per cent of respondents said they have a written strategy in place to guide their recognition programs, and 95 per cent said their strategy aligns with their larger organizational strategy. Indeed, 31 per cent of survey respondents believe their company culture is strategic and 11 per cent say recognition is deeply embedded in their culture. “Strategic culture is viewed as an essential element in achieving organizational success, while deeply embedded recognition is universal and promotes a regular usage of programs and practices,” the report notes.

The main objectives of recognition programs have remained steady for the past few years, with 78 per cent of respondents stating their recognition programs are meeting their objectives. The top objective is recognizing years of service (79 per cent), followed by creating/maintaining a positive work environment (77 per cent) and creating/maintaining a culture of recognition (76 per cent).

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While the use of email and intranet sites are widely used to communicate recognition programs, most recognition awards are presented one on one with a manager, according to the survey. Certificates and plaques remain the most awarded recognition item, at 80 per cent. Cash awards and gift certificates for product purchases are also widely used.

More than half of survey respondents view employee recognition programs as an investment, with just 11 per cent saying they view these programs as an expense. A slight shift is occurring in the organizations that feature their recognition programs as a key employee benefit to attract new employees with a four percentage point increase to 16 per cent, while 42 per cent of organizations sometimes, but not always, market this benefit.

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The survey also found:

  • 57 per cent of employers measure recognition programs using employee satisfaction surveys while 52 per cent rely on usage and/or participation rates;
  • 72 per cent of respondents have a budget for their recognition programs; and
  • Of the payroll budget used for recognition programs, 51 per cent allocate between 0.1 to 0.3 per cent for activities, followed by 18 per cent allotting 0.4 to 0.6 per cent.

Read: Employee recognition programs continue upward trend