3 Surprising Findings from Latest Globoforce/SHRM Employee Recognition Tracker

Recognize This! – If the vast majority of your employees are dissatisfied with your recognition program, perhaps it’s time to change the program.

I greatly enjoyed leading a webinar discussion yesterday with Evren Esen of SHRM on the results of our bi-annual Globoforce/SHRM Employee Recognition Tracker. (Recorded webinar available on HR.com.)

Commissioned to dive into the expectations and experiences of HR managers and above with employee engagement and recognition, the tracker revealed several interesting points:

Top Management Challenges

  • Effective performance management (95%) – This isn’t surprising as 46% of respondents also said the annual performance review is not an accurate reflection of employee performance. At 65%, exit interviews remain the second most common method of tracking employee engagement (right on the heels externally administered surveys at 66%). Of course, it’s far too late to engage an employee once they’ve already decided to leave!
  • Employee engagement (94%) – Yet only 42% track employee engagement, which reflects a strong disconnect between viewing engagement as important but knowing what steps to take to actually improve and measure engagement in reality)
  • Employee recruitment (93%) and retention (91%) – We’re at a pivotal stage in our economy. Ignoring employee stress only ensures you will be engaging in a war for talent in the coming months.
  • Culture management (90%) – It’s time to rethink Human Capital Management, which assumes people react in a complex, rational fashion like a machine, which is simply not the case. Instead we should be thinking in terms of Human Culture Management – determining how you can work through and with your employees to build and promulgate the culture you know will best lead to individual and organization success. Strategic recognition is the best path to that end by focusing every employee on your core values in their work every day.

Time to Change the Program

I find it concerning that 76% of organizations report having a recognition program, but only 37% of HR practitioners think their employees are satisfied with the program. If there is so little satisfaction with the programs you’re delivering, why keep delivering them?

The answer, sadly, is often “it’s the way we’ve always done it” or “people expect it.” Such dissatisfaction arises from the very typical Employee of the Month or Years of Service programs being the primary means of recognizing and rewarding employee contributions. Yet most employees know the Employee of the Month program is little more than a popularity contest that contributes to the “elitist” phenomenon of ignoring the highly valuable contributions of the vast majority of employees. And Years of Service programs, while a good celebration of employee loyalty, rarely acknowledge the strategic value and contributions of the recipients over the years.

It’s time to make recognition programs truly strategic – available for all to participate, based on core values, focused on strategic goals and objectives, and highly measurable and reportable based on bottom-line business needs.

The Bottom-Line Benefits of Getting Recognition Right

We also found in the survey that, of those firms that do have a recognition program, HR respondents saw an increase in the following areas:

I also shared several case studies of organizations that are seeing these powerful results through strategic recognition. If you missed the webinar, be sure to watch the recording on HR.com.






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