Key findings in the CultureNext® Employee Engagement and Benchmark Study, released by Maritz Motivation Solutions, a company within St. Louis-based Maritz, report that 80 percent of companies believe their recognition programs are at least moderately effective in driving employee engagement, and 22 percent say their programs are very effective.
In addition, more than 78 percent of companies surveyed have a documented employee engagement strategy and nearly 50 percent measure success. Sixty percent fund at least four to six different types of recognition programs. Budget ranked as the “greatest inhibitor of success,” with manager participation ranked second.
The online survey was conducted with 117 companies that have more than 1,000 employees. Fifty-six percent of the corporations surveyed have more than 10,000 employees; 64 percent generate more than $1 billion in annual sales; and 60 percent operate in more than one country. Twenty percent have 80,000 or more employees. In terms of industries, 60 percent of companies are in the pharmaceutical, healthcare/medical and banking/financial services sectors, followed by hospitality, automotive and consulting.
“While most companies have employee recognition programs, our study shows they can be used much more effectively,” says Kimberly Lanier, vice president of employee engagement at Maritz Motivation Solutions. She serves on the board of directors for the Incentive Federation, Inc. “Companies that rate their programs highly have a strategy, a documented plan and a way to measure success. They invest more, communicate with employees frequently, and train managers on the programs. These companies say that manager participation is the greatest inhibitor to success.”
She adds, “Another key finding is the relatively high number of companies with absolutely no technology platform or social component in their employee recognition programs. They are missing an enormous opportunity to connect with Millennials and Gen Z, who will be the workforce majority in the next few years.”
Other highlights from the report include:
5 percent of companies indicate the investment in employee recognition programs represents between .01 and .5 percent of total payroll. Twenty-five percent invest between.01 and .25 percent of total payroll. Those in the “very effective” category invest .76 percent or more of total payroll.
The types of recognition programs used most frequently by study respondents are service anniversary, above-and-beyond performance and employee referral. Gift cards are the most common awards used in recognition programs, followed by cash, certificates and company logoed products.
More than half of the companies stream recognition into an activity or news feed. Notably, only 10 percent say their organization’s recognition platform can share to other sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn.
Sixty percent of companies share recognition-related communications at least monthly. Five percent never communicate. Thirty-nine percent of the “very effective” category communicates recognition across the company weekly or daily.
More than half of the companies have formal training on how to use recognition programs effectively. Nearly one in five leave any training up to local managers. Seventy-seven percent of the “very effective” companies provide training.