blue arrows expandingThe Trends in Employee Recognition 2013 survey from WorldatWork and ITA Group has shown, for the first time ever, that programs intended to motivate specific behaviors have become top-tier goals. Indeed, 41 percent of organizations are utilizing such programs in 2013 compared to 25 percent in 2008.

“Employers are increasingly focusing their recognition programs on employee behaviors — for example, collaboration, teamwork, creativity and problem-solving — and are even expanding them to include health-related behaviors,” said Rose Stanley, CBP, recognition practice leader for WorldatWork.

Other recognition programs, such length of service, above-and-beyond performance, and peer-to-peer recognition, still remain prevalent, but organizations are increasingly aiming to motivate behavioral changes, leading to a stark intersection between recognition and employer-sponsored wellness programs.

“Organizations, while not moving away from legacy recognition programs, are investing more in recognition programs that can drive business results,” Stanley said. “We are beginning to see a trend where wellness and recognition programs to motivate specific behaviors are starting to intersect. We expect this intersection to become more pronounced as a way to drive health-care costs down and increase productivity.”

“The 2013 data shows 70% of organizations offer between three and six different recognition programs, but the sustainable impact on both behaviors and the overall business varies across program types,” said Jaimee D. Chism, employee loyalty practice leader, ITA Group. “Smart organizations are leveraging recognition programs as agile and flexible tools to align employee behavior with what positively impacts their business today.”

Other key findings include:

• Organizations budget for recognition at an average of 2 percent of payroll, though one-third of respondents said they budget precisely 1 percent. Recognition budgets are typically split between centralized and departmental (44 %), but some are strictly centralized (39 %) or departmental (17 %).

• Fourty-one percent of respondents feel well supported from senior management regarding recognition programs and 46 percent feel that senior management views recognition as an investment instead of an expense.

• Program success is most often measured through employee satisfaction surveys, participation rates, number of nominations, turnover, productivity, customer surveys, and ROI, though only 10 percent of organizations use ROI as a measurement of program success.


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