A Joint Survey by WorldatWork
and National Association for Employee Recognition (NAER)
Recognition is an important
component of an organization's total rewards program and is instrumental in
reducing turnover, increasing productivity and creating a positive work environment.
When employees realize their contributions are important to an organization's
success, they are more likely to embrace the organization's mission, goals and
A September 2003 survey,
conducted by WorldatWork and the National Association for Employee Recognition
(NAER), shows employee recognition continues to be important to organizations
and they are making it an integral part of their mission and people strategy.
They also are thinking more strategically about the type of rewards offered
for different types of programs, and which rewards are most valuable to employees.
For the third year in a
row, WorldatWork and NAER surveyed a sample of members to understand what companies
are doing with recognition programs. Surveys were sent electronically to a random
representative sample of 2,748 WorldatWork members and to all 520 NAER members.
A total of 413 responses were received — a 13% response rate.
The survey responses can
be considered statistically representative of the WorldatWork membership. The
typical WorldatWork member is at or above the manager level in compensation,
benefits or human resources, working in the headquarters of a large company
in North America. Ninety-five percent of the Fortune 1000 companies have
at least one employee who is a WorldatWork member.
Summary of Key Findings
to be important to organizations, with 87% of companies using recognition
programs as part of their people strategy.
Forty percent of companies
are doing more with recognition than 12 months ago while only 12% are doing
less than 12 months ago.
Of those companies with
a recognition program, 65% have a written strategy and 97% of those feel
it aligns with their organizational strategy and links directly to what
matters most to the organization.
Two-thirds of companies
measure the success of their recognition programs. The most common metrics
are employee satisfaction surveys (67%) and the number of nominations (50%).
There is a companywide
recognition budget in 43% of organizations, compared to 38% where the budget
is department specific.
The majority of companies
(87%) use length of service as the foundation for their recognition program.
Companies also are adding other program types, including "above and beyond
performance" (85%), sales (43%), suggestions (36%), employee of the period
(29%), safety (28%) and attendance (20%).
Human resources administers
the majority (48%) of recognition programs.
The Internet has facilitated
the immediacy of recognition programs, as more companies are using technology
to enhance their programs.
Companies are providing
a wide range of recognition awards that are meaningful to employees (plaques,
gift certificates, jewelry, household items, travel, etc.).
Only 20% of companies
have a formal training program to educate managers about recognition programs,
and 75% of these companies use an in-person training session.
need to be used and communicated frequently to let employees know they exist.
Of the 413 respondents,
87% currently have a recognition program in place. This figure is similar
to 2002, when the survey found 84% of 391 respondents had a recognition program.
1: Does your organization currently have recognition programs in place?
Additionally, many organizations
have expanded their recognition programs in the past year with 40% of respondents
indicating they are doing more with their recognition programs than 12 months
2: Is your organization doing more or less in your recognition programs than
12 months ago?
Of responding companies who do not
currently have recognition programs in place, 37% are considering implementing
new programs in the next 12 months. Forty percent of companies with programs
already in place are considering implementing additional programs in the next
3: Are you considering implementing any new or additional programs in the next
Sixty-five percent of respondents
have a written strategy behind their recognition programs and, of those, 97%
feel that the strategy aligns with their overall organizational strategy.
Creating a positive work environment
is the most prevalent goal of a recognition program, chosen by 80% of respondents.
A close second and third were creating a culture of recognition (76%) and motivating
high performance (75%).
Figure 4: What are the
objectives/goals of your organization's recognition programs? (Check all that
a positive work environment
a culture of recognition
a culture change
Eight in10 respondents believe their
recognition programs are meeting the program's goals and objectives. For two-thirds
of respondents, this belief is supported by an actual measurement of success.
The most commonly used metrics for recognition programs are employee satisfaction
surveys (67%) and the number of nominations (50%).
Figure 5: What measurements
for success do you use in your recognition programs? (Check all that apply.)
(return on investment)
Types of Recognition
Most responding organizations offer
both formal and informal recognition programs. As defined by the survey, formal
programs are structured or planned recognition programs (e.g., attendance, performance,
safety, years of service, etc.), while informal programs are spontaneous gestures
of appreciation (non-monetary or of small monetary value).
6: What types of recognition programs are included in your recognition strategy?
Respondents offer recognition programs
both company-wide and as department-specific.
7: Are your recognition programs:
Eighty-seven percent of
respondents use length-of-service awards and 85% of responding organizations
use performance ("above and beyond") awards. Less commonly used programs are
attendance (used by 20%) and safety awards (28%).
8: Types of formal programs offered:
Length-of-service awards also have
been in place for the longest period of time in most companies with 87% of respondents
indicating they have had this program in place for more than five years.
Figure 9: Length of time
programs have been in place
than 12 months
than 5 years
of the period
Responding organizations award length-of-service
awards to the most employees annually. On average, companies report awarding
28% of the employee population a length-of-service award in the past 12 months.
In contrast, companies, on average, report 10% of the employee population receives
an "employee-of-the-period" award annually.
10: Percentage of employees recognized in the past 12 months
Almost half of organizations (48%)
administer their recognition programs through HR.
11: What department is responsible for administering the majority of your organization?s
"Other" mentions in Figure 11 include:
work/life, marketing, administration or a combination of HR and another department.
Only 14% of respondents have a full-time
position dedicated to recognition programs. Thirty-six percent of respondents
have a part-time position within a department dedicated to recognition programs.
On average, this person spends about 10% of the workweek on recognition programs.
The vast majority of respondents (42%) indicated that no one position is responsible
for the program; it is a shared responsibility among the department personnel.
Another 8% of respondents have other types of shared responsibilities for administering
the program, mainly a committee or a recognition team.
Figure 12: What position
is responsible for administering the recognition program(s)?
within department dedicated part-time
one position is responsible for the program
Seven in10 responding organizations
have a budget for their recognition programs.
13: Is there a dedicated budget for your recognition programs?
14: Is the recognition budget:
On average, responding organizations
indicate their recognition program budget is 2.0% of payroll with a median of
and Award Presentation and Types
Nearly 9 in 10 (87%) of organizations with recognition programs
have a communications plan for their program. The employee handbook is the most
widely used communication vehicle (75%), followed by company newsletters (36%).
Other vehicles used are: company e-mail, fliers and posters.
Figure 15: What media
do you use to communicate your recognition programs? (Check all that apply.)
Only 20% of organizations have a
formal training program for managers about the recognition programs. The most
commonly used training method is an in-person session.
Figure 16: What formal
training methods do you use to train your managers? (Check all that apply.)
Managers present most awards
one-on-one to the recipient (69%), while 63% of organizations hold a special event
to recognize award presentations. Department meetings were the most cited "other"
Figure 17: How are recognition
awards presented? (Check all that apply.)
event (banquet, luncheon, etc.)
presented (mailed to home)
18: Do any of your recognition programs use the Internet for any of the following?
(Check all that apply.)
Certificates and plaques are the
most popular awards, awarded by 75% of respondents. Second is cash, awarded
by 63% and third are product gift certificates, awarded by 57%.
19: What types of items are presented as recognition awards? (Check all that
& Social Assistance
Scientific & Technical Services
Services (except Public Administration)
& Food Services
Estate & Rental & Leasing
Entertainment & Recreation
WorldatWork is the
world's leading not-for-profit professional association dedicated to knowledge
leadership in compensation, benefits and total rewards. Founded in 1955, WorldatWork
focuses on disciplines associated with attracting, retaining and motivating
employees. In addition to providing professional affiliation, WorldatWork offers
highly acclaimed certification (CCP®, CBP and GRP®)
and education programs, the monthly workspan® magazine, online
information resources, surveys, publications, conferences, research and networking
opportunities. WorldatWork, 14040 N. Northsight Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ 85260,
The National Association
for Employee Recognition (NAER) is dedicated to the enhancement of employee
performance through recognition, including its strategies and related initiatives.
The mission of NAER is to make employee recognition an integral part of every
organizations business and people strategy. The association, based in Naperville,
Ill., provides a forum for information and best practices sharing as well as
education to foster the use, excitement, effectiveness and enthusiasm of recognition.
For more information on NAER, please visit www.recognition.org.