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2003 Recognition Survey

September 2003

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 values.

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.

Methodology

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

  • Recognition continues 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.

  • Recognition programs need to be used and communicated frequently to let employees know they exist.


Detailed Findings

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.

Figure 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 ago.

Figure 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 12 months.

Figure 3: Are you considering implementing any new or additional programs in the next 12 months?

Recognition Strategy and Goals

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 apply.)

Create a positive work environment

80%

Create a culture of recognition

76%

Motivate high performance

75%

Reinforce desired behaviors

75%

Increase morale

71%

Support organizational mission/values

66%

Increase retention/decrease turnover

51%

Encourage loyalty

40%

Support a culture change

24%

Other

5%

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.)

Employee satisfaction surveys

67%

Number of nominations

50%

Turnover

28%

Productivity

25%

Customer surveys

22%

Usage rates/participation rates

21%

ROI (return on investment)

15%

Types of Recognition Programs

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).

Figure 6: What types of recognition programs are included in your recognition strategy?

Respondents offer recognition programs both company-wide and as department-specific.

Figure 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%).

Figure 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

 

Less than 12 months

1-5 years

More than 5 years

Length of service

3%

10%

87%

Sales

8%

30%

62%

Employee of the period

12%

30%

58%

Attendance

9%

37%

54%

Safety

8%

39%

53%

Performance/Above & Beyond

10%

45%

45%

Suggestions/Ideas

14%

42%

44%

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.

Figure 10: Percentage of employees recognized in the past 12 months

Program Administration

Almost half of organizations (48%) administer their recognition programs through HR.

Figure 11: What department is responsible for administering the majority of your organization?s recognition program(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)?

Full-time dedicated position(s)

14%

Position within department dedicated part-time

36%

No one position is responsible for the program

42%

Other

8%

Seven in10 responding organizations have a budget for their recognition programs.

Figure 13: Is there a dedicated budget for your recognition programs?

Figure 14: Is the recognition budget:

On average, responding organizations indicate their recognition program budget is 2.0% of payroll with a median of 1.0%.

Communication, Training 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.)

Intranet/Internet

76%

Company newsletter

57%

Employee orientation

57%

Employee handbook

33%

Other

24%

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.)

In-person training session

75%

Handbook

36%

Online education

21%

Other

12%

Video

10%

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" presentation method.

Figure 17: How are recognition awards presented? (Check all that apply.)

One-on-one with manager

69%

Special event (banquet, luncheon, etc.)

63%

Staff meeting

59%

Companywide meeting

37%

Other

10%

Not presented (mailed to home)

7%

Figure 18: Do any of your recognition programs use the Internet for any of the following? (Check all that apply.)

Program communication

40%

Award ordering

35%

Award nomination

29%

Program administration

24%

Program reporting/tracking

19%

Training

10%

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%.

Figure 19: What types of items are presented as recognition awards? (Check all that apply.)


Respondent Demographics

Company Size

Industry

Manufacturing

23%

Finance & Insurance

16%

Healthcare & Social Assistance

9%

Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

8%

Information

5%

Utilities

5%

Public Administration

5%

Other Services (except Public Administration)

5%

Retail Trade

3%

Educational Services

3%

Accommodations & Food Services

2%

Transportation & Warehousing

2%

Real Estate & Rental & Leasing

2%

Arts, Entertainment & Recreation

2%

Wholesale Trade

1%

Other

8%


About WorldatWork

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, 877/951-9191, customerrelations@worldatwork.org.

About NAER

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.

 

 

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