Survey Suggests Room for Improvement in Employee Recognition

By Rebecca R. Hastings, SPHR Apr 13, 2012
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Less than a third of HR professionals believe that employees are satisfied with the level of recognition they receive for doing a good job, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)/Globoforce Employee Recognition Programs Survey released April 12, 2012.

Just 29 percent of the 770 respondents—all HR professionals selected randomly from SHRM’s membership—said employees were satisfied with their organization’s recognition efforts, findings comparable to data from a similar survey conducted in June 2011.

Fifty-two percent of respondents worked for organizations with U.S.-based operations only; 48 percent had multinational operations.Forty-seven percent of respondents worked at firms with fewer than 2,500 employees.

The survey, which was fielded Dec. 22, 2011-Jan. 12, 2012, found that:

  • Fifty-eight percent of HR professionals said employees are rewarded according to their job performance.
  • Fifty percent of respondents said they believe managers and supervisors acknowledge and appreciate employees effectively.
  • Fewer respondents (55 percent) said annual performance reviews are an accurate appraisal of employees’ work.

In addition, the SHRM/Globoforce survey found that organizations with an employee recognition program are more likely to indicate that employees are rewarded for performance, appreciated by managers and satisfied with the recognition they receive than those without such programs.

The majority of respondents (76 percent) said their organizations do have a recognition program, and the same number said their employee recognition program is aligned with their company values.

Of those respondents who said their recognition program is aligned with organizational values, 43 percent said employees are satisfied with the level of recognition they receive, a slightly more promising result than the overall survey sample (29 percent). In addition, those with aligned recognition programs and values report higher levels of agreement with other key questions explored in the poll:

  • Seventy-six percent said employees are rewarded according to their job performance.
  • Sixty-five percent said managers and supervisors acknowledge and appreciate employees effectively.
  • Sixty-four percent said annual performance reviews are accurate appraisals of employees’ work.

Just 15 percent of respondents with recognition programs said they track the return on investment (ROI) of their employee recognition program. Of those that track ROI, 55 percent said they think employees are satisfied with the level of recognition they receive. In addition, of those that track ROI:

  • Ninety percent said employees are rewarded according to their job performance.
  • Seventy-six percent said managers and supervisors acknowledge and appreciate employees effectively.
  • Seventy-two percent said annual performance reviews are accurate appraisals of employees’ work.

The most common ways organizations track the ROI of employee recognition are by measuring:

  • Employee retention levels (74 percent).
  • Overall financial results such as return on equity and profit margin (61 percent).
  • Employee productivity levels (60 percent).
  • Employee engagement scores (57 percent).

Fewer organizations track recognition program ROI by measuring employee absenteeism (28 percent) or customer retention levels (21 percent).

However, organizations that do measure recognition program ROI perceived various improvements in their organizations by doing so:

  • Sixty-three percent said employee productivity increased.
  • Sixty-one percent said employee engagement increased.
  • Fifty-two percent said customer retention increased.
  • Fifty-one percent said employee retention increased.
  • Fifty percent said return on equity increased.
  • Forty-two percent said return on assets increased.
  • Twenty-eight percent said employee absenteeism decreased.

Other Findings

When asked about workforce management challenges, respondents to the latest SHRM/Globoforce survey placed the following at the top of the list, in order of importance:

  • Employee engagement.
  • Employee retention.
  • Effective performance management.

Challenges associated with managing multiple cultures, global diversity and different generations had diminished slightly in importance to SHRM members since the poll of June 2011.

Rebecca R. Hastings, SPHR, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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