When to Recognize

While browsing through World at Work's most recent Trends in Employee Recognition report, I was intrigued by one particular statistic. Of companies with recognition programs, 90% offer some sort of Years of Service recognition, making it the most common program.

Years of Service programs can be controversial in nature. While employees should be rewarded for reaching milestone anniversaries within an organization, managers must be careful that these don't become their default recognition program. These programs reward presence and not behaviors, actions and achievements. In order to motivate employees, it's best to reward success and results.

The good news is that other types of recognition programs are on the rise. In the table below, you can see which programs are the most popular. It's clear to see that organizations are continuing to leverage newer programs that can have a more direct impact on business results such as above-and-beyond performance, peer-to-peer and suggestion/idea programs, as well as programs to motivate specific behaviors. In particular, programs designed to motivate specific behaviors were implemented by 25% of organizations with incentive programs in 2008. Now, 34% of organizations are implementing these programs. That's a 9% increase in three years.

Do you think programs designed to directly impact business will continue to rise? Will employers ever get rid of Years of Service recognition? Personally, I think it's best to have several different recognition programs in place. Do you agree?

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