How does employee recognition in your organisation stack up?

Comparing Employee Recognition SchemesThe 2013 Trends in Employee Recognition report by WorldatWork reports that despite changes in the environment, economy and the labour markets in the last few years that employee recognition programmes remain an important variable in the total rewards and motivation equation.

But how does your employee recognition scheme measure up against the report findings? Are there aspects of your scheme that could be improved? Let’s review recognition initiatives in your business in light of the report.


What type of recognition should I be offering?

Most businesses offer more than one type of employee recognition programme to their staff. In fact the average number of programmes offered by a company is 3.9. These programmes cover a range of incentive and reward schemes such as:

  • Length of service awards
  • Going above and beyond expected performance levels
  • Retirement
  • Sales performance
  • Peer-to-peer recognition
  • Suggestions and ideas
  • Employee of the month/quarter/year
  • Programmes to motivate specific behaviours

Although the relative popularity of each type of programme changes, it’s interesting to note that since 2005 the top two types of employee recognition programmes have been length of service awards and going above and beyond expected performance levels respectively.

Your review questions
  • Do you have the right number of different programmes to meet your business objectives
  • What type of employee recognition programmes are you offering?
  • Are your length of service awards given soon enough?

What budget should we set aside?

The majority of businesses (79%) set aside a specific budget for their recognition programmes. On average businesses allocated 2% of their payroll budget to their employee recognition programme, although 28% of participating businesses budgeted exactly 1% of their payroll budget for their recognition programs, which was the most common response.

The report also asked respondents how their budget was split between a centralised fund and departmental funds. Most businesses (44%) split their employee recognition budget with some fund coming from a central budget and some allocated directly from departmental funds. However, 39% of businesses still hold their entire employee recognition budget centrally.

Your review questions
  • Do you have a specific budget for your recognition programmes?
  • How much are you spending on your programmes?
  • Are you splitting the budget effectively and efficiently to suit your needs?

Who should be in charge of recognition?

When it comes to running and administering employee recognition schemes then 55% of businesses replied that their schemes are run by the HR department. Around a quarter of recognition schemes are run by compensation/payroll teams and in 6% of businesses each department was responsible for its own programme administration.

Although in most businesses there is no one specifically responsible for the administration of the scheme nearly one third of businesses have either a part-time of full-time role dedicated to managing recognition.

Your review questions
  • Who is responsible for managing your recognition programme?
  • Is it more effective for you to have a team responsible for the scheme or a single dedicated role?

How should I communicate it?

When it comes to communication businesses are increasingly using electronic communications. 65% of businesses use email and 61% of businesses use the internet or intranet.

Communicating information about the scheme through company newsletters and at employee orientations are also popular with around a third of businesses utilising both these methods.

Your review questions
  • How are you communicating your employee recognition programme?
  • What communication channels do your employees actually use?
  • Do you promote your recognition schemes to new employees?

Time for a more in-depth review?

It’s good news for both businesses and employees that business leaders aren’t becoming complacent about employee recognition, with senior management buy-in for such programmes up 4% to 41%. However perhaps it’s time for an in-depth review of your recognition initiatives so your business can really motivate and incentivise your staff as the economy recovers.


Recognition Video Case StudiesSee how Aviva, Virgin Media and Siemens recognise employees 


John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.

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  1. John Tranter says:

    We have a few schemes set up for recognition however unfortunately I do not believe they have been used regularly enough.

    We have a number of great employees who I believe do not feel supported enough. On the flip side of this we like all business have people we want to improve, inspire and develop and by showing a good performance through relevant recognition schemes we can actually uplift morale across departments and in time across the company. Better Morale = Better Results.

    As we are a results business I believe Morale is one of the key areas we can manage and monitor to subsequently manage performance.

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