Rewarding employees for years of service is an outdated recognition approach

July 6, 2012 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

Many companies still focus their recognition programs on rewarding years of service. According to a new research report from Bersin & Associates, 87 percent of responding employers use tenure as the main reason for recognizing employees.

That’s surprising. For the past 20 years, we’ve experienced a changing business climate and employment relationship that doesn’t encourage tenure. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Moving on to a new opportunity increases a worker’s skill level and offers employers new blood that contributes to innovation. In addition, today’s young workers are more interested in being recognized for their accomplishments and flexible working arrangements, rather than the stability of a long-term employment relationship.

The Bersin report concludes that there is a lot of work that has to be done to improve recognition programs. The State of Employee Recognition in 2012 reveals a disconnect between management and employees on two important factors: How often recognition is doled out to workers and whether employees even realize that a recognition program exists.

Bersin’s research found that 80 percent of senior leaders said employees are recognized monthly or even weekly, while managers and employees reported much lower rates of recognition. In addition, 75 percent of companies surveyed had recognition programs, while only 58 percent of employee respondents knew about them.

Allowing these misunderstandings to continue is a high stakes game for employers. Companies with effective recognition programs have 31 percent lower employee turnover, than their peers with poor recognition programs. In addition, Bersin reports that employee productivity and customer service were approximately 14 percent higher in organizations with recognition programs than those that did not have them.

Employee recognition hasn’t kept up with the changing times and workforce demographics. Those few employers who do a good job with recognition will be highly competitive in their marketplaces.

What are some of your recognition successes and failures? How did you achieve any favorable results and what mistakes have you made?


Entry filed under: Company Culture, Employee Engagement, Employee recognition, Management. Tags: , , , , .

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