12 Mind-Blowing Stats on Employee Recognition You Need to Know

6 min read
Aug 4, 2016

Employee recognition and retention

Employee recognition isnt a fad. It’s a must-have for organizations that value employee engagement and retention. When you think about it, a company’s recognition program can either lock people in or push them out the door.

Going even deeper into the issue, showing appreciation for employees can actually drive your financial returns through the roof. Better productivity, customer service, and product development are just some of the outcomes of employees feeling valued.

Here are 12 more eye-opening facts about recognition that will most likely surprise you:

(Want to learn how employee recognition affects retention? Click here to download our report.) 


01. 87% of recognition programs focus on tenure

From Bersin & Associates

Having an employee stick around for 20, 10, or even 5 years is something to celebrate — there’s no doubt about that. But it shouldn’t be the only thing that should be celebrated about the person. Can you imagine going a full year without receiving any type of recognition? Well, that’s what you’re doing when you focus only on tenure.

Recognition should focus on an employee’s contributions and efforts. If they’ve done a great job, let them know on the spot. Just because someone’s stuck around for who-knows-how-long and has been as productive as a lump of coal in a chair, then does this person truly deserve the recognition?


02. The number one type of recognition that organizations have in place is for recognizing years of service

From WorldatWork

This stat goes hand in hand with the one above. However, this report released in 2014 by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median tenure of workers age 55 to 64 is 10.4 years. When it came to workers age 25 to 34, that number drastically dropped to 3 years.

So if typical recognition awards celebrate five years of service, then a majority of the millennial workforce are going unrecognized for their contributions.


03. US organizations spend over $100 billion annually on incentive programs

From HRM Report

Gift cards and micro bonuses are great and all, but did you know that saying a simple thank-you is completely free? You don’t need to spend a ton of money to make your employees feel appreciated. Just say it and instead save that money for a fun team-building activity or lunch outing.

Incentive programs


04. When asked what leaders could do more of to improve engagement, 58% of respondents replied “give recognition”

From Psychometrics

By now, it’s a well-known fact that employees aren’t feeling valued at work. And honestly, there really is no such thing as “too much recognition.” If you really want to keep your employees, motivate them through recognition. That simple validation has the power to drive productivity through the roof.

The Effects of Employee Recognition & Appreciation Report by TINYpulse


05. Millennials require immediate recognition for accomplishments

From York College of Pennsylvania’s Center for Professional Excellence

If you wait a week or so to give recognition, your employee may have already forgotten what they did. Time is of the essence when it comes to showing gratitude. Let them know now instead of later because that extra bit of morale boost does wonders for your bottom line.


06. 70% of employees feel that gamification would not be a positive addition to recognition

From Globoforce

Organizations are handing out points to people as a form of recognition. And those points are displayed on a leaderboard that stacks employees up against each other.

As fun as it may be to have friendly competition at the workplace, it can be somewhat demoralizing to those employees at the bottom of the board. Or even worse, those hungry to make it in the top rankings may even resort to sabotaging coworkers in order to receive those extra brownie points.

So if youre looking into tying recognition to points, make it a personal objective. Let employees accumulate points and treat themselves to a free lunch or something along those lines.



07. 69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated

From socialcast

Recognition drives productivity. Think about it: back in grade school, teachers rewarded students with a gold star for their great work. And that, in return, pushed students to work even harder to get those shining stickers. Who’s to say that doesn’t work for adults?

People want to get recognized for their contributions. They want their work to have meaning. And when you are slacking on recognition, it’s essentially the same as ignoring their existence.


08. Only 14% of organizations provide managers with the necessary tools for rewards and recognition

From: Globoforce

According to our 2014 Employee Engagement Report, 44% of employees give peer-to-peer recognition when they have an easy tool to do so. However, only 14% of companies are supplying these tools.

Organizations aren’t providing the right tools for leaders to motivate their employees. And on the other hand, employees want to dish out recognition. The solution is pretty clear-cut — give people a peer-to-peer recognition tool. That way, both managers and employees can recognize each other.


09. 41% of companies that use peer-to-peer recognition have seen positive increases in customer satisfaction

From: Globoforce

When an employee hates their job, it really shows in their work. Now what happens when that work involves talking to customers?

The way an employee feels about their job can reflect in how they treat, speak to, or interact with customers. So it’s no surprise that when organizations leveraged peer-to-peer recognition, there was an increase in customer satisfaction. Employees started feeling more valued and were more willing to go the extra mile.

Customer satisfaction


10. A full 14% [of companies] indicated that their organization features [recognition] programs regularly when recruiting

From: WorldatWork

Want to snag top talent? Need to woo over that rock-star candidate with one more reason to join the company? Try recognition. People want to work at an organization that values its employees. They want to feel appreciated. And it’s understandable because that’s a part of human nature: the need to feel validated for our hard work.


11. Companies with recognition programs that are highly effective at improving employee engagement have 31% lower voluntary turnover

From: Bersin & Associates

It’s been said over and over again — turnover is extremely expensive. So imagine losing all that money to recruitment, hiring, and training when, in fact, you could’ve just leveraged a recognition program to save you the hassle.


12. 50% of employees believe being thanked by managers not only improved their relationship but also built trust with their higher-ups

From: Cicero Group

Manager-employee relationships are often stigmatized as being tense or full of resentment. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. In order to drive success in the business, this relationship needs to be built on trust. And how can you gain that trust from employees? By showing gratitude. Appreciate them for their work. Recognition doesn’t have to come in the form of verbal confirmation. Even if you let your employee take free rein over a project, that’s showing recognition — you’re trusting them to do their job.

Recognition impacts various aspects of the workplace, from customer service to relationships. Organizations need to stop brushing it aside as a fluffy idea and think about the bottom-line benefits recognition has to offer. And since managers don’t have the opportunity to see the great happenings around the company, leverage peer-to-peer recognition so employees can high-five each other on a daily basis. TINYpulse



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