6 Surprising Data Points About Recognition

April 5, 2016 Sarah Payne

Every two years, WorldatWork publishes a report on trends in employee recognition. Last year’s report confirmed that recognition is still an important HR tool, with 89% of organizations having a program in place. Organizations are also recognizing employees more frequently. The response, “more recognition than 12 months ago” rose 9% from 2013 to 2015.

Interestingly, the report notes that a goal of increasing retention and decreasing turnover through recognition rose to 51% last year. We found similar results in our last SHRM/Globoforce survey—that the top organizational challenge was employee retention/turnover.

Why the change? Simple—it’s becoming more important than ever that HR leaders tie their recognition programs back to bottom line results.

This is a point that was addressed in a recent Harvard Business Review piece, “The Benefits of Peer-to-Peer Praise at Work,” written by WorkHuman speaker Shawn Achor. One of the most compelling benefits of peer-to-peer praise that he shares actually comes from one of Globoforce’s customers, JetBlue. “The JetBlue data revealed that for every 10% increase in people reporting being recognized, JetBlue saw a 3% increase in retention and 2% increase in engagement.” Given that the cost to replace an employee can range from 20 – 150% of their salary, that’s a lot of money saved!

It’s clear that recognition has a profound impact on retaining talent. But how does it actually work and feel like in an organization? This question brings me to the second of five key findings from the new report published by the WorkHuman Research Institute at Globoforce: 

Finding #2: Recognition not only significantly improves engagement, but also creates a more human culture.

Given that recognition remains a key focus area for HR, we were surprised that our survey results showed 1 in 5 workers has never been recognized, and 1 in 3 workers hasn’t been recognized in 6 months or more.

But here’s the good news: organizations that commit to more frequent recognition stand to reap significant rewards. We found that workers recognized in the last few months are more than 2x as likely to identify as highly engaged.

What’s more, workers recognized in the last few months are:

  1. 34% more likely to believe their company is a best place to work.
  2. 35% more likely to say their culture is fun and enjoyable.
  3. 37% more likely to believe their company cares about them as a person.
  4. 28% more likely to say that workers in their company trust one another.
  5. 19% more likely to say they fit in.
  6. 29% more likely to believe their workplace is open and transparent.

Recognition is also the best tool you have as an HR and business leader to cater to employees’ higher level needs. Any company can offer a competitive salary and benefits package. But a truly remarkable culture will make employees feel appreciated, happy, productive, and committed to their work. Our survey shows that recognition is the foundation that organizations need to create that culture.

Chart of how receiving recognition and rewards at work make you feel

Stay tuned for the third post in this five-part series, where we take a look at the data on workers’ optimism for the future and attitudes toward change.

6 Surprising Data Points About Recognition
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If you’d like to learn more about the data behind the report, join our webinar April 14th at 1 p.m. with Sharlyn Lauby and Derek Irvine. Register here.



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