Asked about the most important workforce challenges they currently face, 94% of HR leaders answered with two words; “employee engagement.” However, when those same 770 HR leaders were asked how many of them were currently tracking employee engagement levels, 42% answered in the affirmative. That’s just one of the findings from the SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey. To download the full report click here.
I find that gap kind of surprising, given that more than half of companies with recognition programs also observe higher levels of employee engagement, retention, and productivity.
“We’re witnessing intense competition for talent that requires new approaches for energizing, engaging, and evaluating a global workforce,” said Eric Mosley, CEO of Globoforce. “Performance management has long been viewed as the underlying way this is done. Yet, as this latest survey shows, the lack of ongoing feedback continues to be its missing ingredient. By using a social performance management strategy powered by employee recognition, HR leaders can fill that critical gap of feedback. The result is higher levels of employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity.”
“We’re witnessing intense competition for talent that requires new approaches for energizing, engaging, and evaluating a global workforce.”
64% of companies that have an employee recognition program say their employees are rewarded according to job performance versus just 36% percent of organizations who do not have a recognition program in place.
In fact, among companies that measure engagement (versus those that do not), HR leaders say:
- More employees feel rewarded according to job performance (69 percent vs. 49 percent)
- More managers acknowledge and appreciate employees (56 percent vs. 46 percent)
- More employees are satisfied with their levels of recognition (37 percent vs. 23 percent)
The survey also finds that 45% of HR leaders do not think annual performance reviews are an accurate appraisal for employee’s work while 42% do not think employees are rewarded according to their job performance. Here’s the breakdown of companies with recognition programs versus those without:
- 55% of companies with recognition programs say their managers effectively acknowledge employees
- 36% of companies without recognition programs feel employees are effectively acknowledged and appreciated by managers
Among organizations that measure the ROI of their employee recognition programs, HR leaders observed increases in key metrics. More than half of survey respondents saw increases in productivity, customer/employee retention, employee engagement, return on profit margin, and return on equity as a result of their employee recognition program.
63% of HR leaders say they saw an increase in employee productivity as a result of an employee recognition program.
Percent of HR leaders who say they observed an increase in these metrics as a result of their recognition program:
- Employee productivity – 63%
- Employee engagement – 61%
- Return on profit margin – 58%
- Customer retention – 52%
- Employee retention – 51%
- Return on equity – 50%
None of this is news to John Christensen, a former documentary filmmaker turned FISH! philosopher. While shooting a project at the famed Pike Place Market in Seattle, he was amazed at how happy, passionate and productive the fishmongers were, and how much fun they were having, despite what appears to us as a cold, wet and smelly workplace.
“I saw this incredible thing happening in the workplace at the fish market floor and we transposed what they were doing into a language that other businesses can use,” says Christensen, CEO/Playground Director of ChartHouse Learning. “We all have the ability to play, to be present, to serve others, to make each other’s day.”
By coincidence, several years ago I happened to do a news story about a company Christensen worked with called Tastefully Simple. The direct selling powerhouse was one of the first organizations I was ever exposed to that made culture and employee engagement a priority.
They have regular team meetings to recognize and reward sales achievements, complete with drummers, noisemakers, music, beach balls and lots of accolades. The corporate headquarters has a dedicated game room with pool table, ping pong and lots of other activities, all against the backdrop of the company’s mission statement to “Be Abundant, Make Magic and Be Real.”
You can dismiss it as a bunch of touchy-feely nonsense, but some random employees I spoke to don’t view it that way. One man who is a member of the facilities team said, “A company culture is like a puzzle and it all fits together here. You feel great about coming to work, you feel included, we play together, we go on retreats together and we all make the company better together.”
Of course, the economic downturn put additional pressure on employee engagement and recognition programs, even for those companies that have them. As Christensen points out though, many of these initiatives don’t have to cost any money at all, you just have to be deliberate and purposeful about making them part of your culture.
We’d love to hear from you. What are you doing to engage – and retain – your top talent? What steps have you taken to create a fun, engaging, rewarding workplace where employees feel appreciated and valued?