12 Points of Data: Selling Social Recognition to Senior Management

May 1, 2018 Aaron Kinne

12 Numbered Shapes

 “One of the key reasons why [social recognition] clicked with our organization is that our president and CEO really believes in recognition. He took it upon himself to recognize more people than anyone else…and by doing so, he’s given permission to everyone to recognize one another as well.” - Jennifer Faulkner, VP, team member engagement & communications at Baystate Health

A recurring theme of “The Business Case for Social Recognition” – one of the seven content tracks at the recent Workhuman® Live conference – was the pivotal role executive support plays in driving the success of a social recognition program. Session after session cited the direct impact senior management buy-in has on a program’s success.    

In fact, Michaela Leo, director, compensation programs & analytics at Merck – whose social recognition program launch was the most successful in Workhuman history – listed top-down buy-in first on her list of factors driving the success of the company’s social recognition program.  

But how can we get senior executives on board? In a word: “data.”

Data is the driver that will get top management’s attention – and get them jazzed about implementing a unified, effective social recognition program. Data repositions social recognition from a nice-to-have to a smart business decision.

With that in mind, below are the top 12 data points from “The Business Case” content track. I believe they can be the secret sauce that will help you make a strong, bottom-line case for bringing social recognition to your organization.

  1. 96% retention rate - At LinkedIn, employees who were recognized four or more times in a year had a 96% retention rate.
  2. Spend more, retain more – At Eaton, the global power management company, employees who received recognition were 2x less likely to leave the company. In fact, data shows that – as a general rule – companies that spend 1% or more of payroll on recognition are 2x more likely to retain talent.
  3. It worked for Merck – Five months after the launch of their social recognition program, Merck saw 160,000 recognition moments; 46% peer-to-peer recognition; 10% cross-departmental recognitions; 41,000 mobile recognition actions; and 47,000 congratulations shared.
  4. $1,731 more productivity – Workhuman customers – companies who have a vigorous social recognition program in place – show an average increase in employee productivity of $1,731.00.
  5. … which translates into … $26 million for an organization with 15,000 employees, compared to industry peers.
  6. Wait, there’s more – Workhuman customers that invest more in recognition programs see even higher productivity. Investments of 10% more per employee showed an average higher productivity of $3,900 per employee. And that translates into an annual benefit of $58 million compared to industry peers.
  7. Tie recognition to values – According to the SHRM/Workhuman Recognition survey, a recognition program tied to company values is 2x as likely to be focused on reinforcing and driving business goals; 33% more likely to be focused on empowering employees; and 29% more likely to be focused on creating a positive employer brand.
  8. Recognition and feedback pays big dividends – Research from Workhuman and IBM® Smarter Workforce Institute shows when employees agree  they receive recognition for doing good work, 83% report a more positive employee experience; when employees agree they receive feedback on employee performance, 80% report a more positive employee experience.
  9. Best place to work – Organizations that invest 1% or more of payroll are 3x as likely to be identified as a “best place to work."
  10. Boost performance – At LinkedIn, 54% of employees who receive three or more recognitions in a year showed a year-over-year increase on their performance rating
  11. Boost engagement – According to research from the Workhuman® Analytics and Research Institute, employees recognized with ​1.5-2 awards each quarter feel significantly more appreciated for their performance and as a result are significantly more engaged
  12. Better employee experience, better returns – Research from IBM and Workhuman  shows organizations in the top 25% of employee experience (which an effective social recognition program can deliver) have ​3x the return on assets and more than double the return on sales compared to the bottom 25%​.

Use these data points to make a bottom-line case to your senior management on why an effective social recognition program is a smart business decision – one that returns a powerful return on investment.

After all, the data proves it.

About the Author

Aaron Kinne

Aaron Kinne is a senior writer at Workhuman.

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