Recognition Survey Results Are In – Meaningful Recognition 2013

Meaningful Employee Recognition Survey – Results Are In

In March I asked readers to participate in a new Meaningful Recognition survey that explores receiving recognition, motivation, and retention.  The survey results are in. It has been fascinating wading through the data and learning what has changed since we ran a version of this survey back in 2007. Approaching this recognition survey I found myself wondering how workplace changes have affected what people find meaningful. Specifically, I wanted to know:

  • Were younger workers more interested in peer recognition? This is, after all, a generation that was raised to work as part of a team and who spend significant time connecting with peers on social media. Would they value manager-driven recognition as much as other generations?
  • Has technology affected preferences? We have recognition processes that have been automated. There are so many new Enterprise applications that not only automate business processes but provide feedback on whether goals are being met. We have fantastic tools that help us collaborate and communicate without being at the same location. I wondered, when recognition is delivered through these technologies, how effective is it? To what extent has it replaced the need for face to face?

Technology plays such a large role in the potential changes in preferences, that I chose to partner with Badgeville, one of the top gamification companies, for the development and roll out of this recognition survey. The survey received over 1200 responses from individual contributors, managers, and senior leaders in a number of industries.

So what has changed?

recognition trend graph

Cost of Meaningful Recognition

Significantly more meaningful recognition experiences cost nothing. In 2007 fifty-seven percent of respondents reported that their meaningful recognition had no dollar value. Today, that number has jumped to 70 percent. In addition, a greater percentage of meaningful recognition experiences either:

  • have no reward component, or
  • the reward is an intangible such as status, an opportunity, or a virtual award (existing only online). In fact, 10 percent reported receiving virtual rewards. Clearly technology is having an impact on employee perceptions of what comprises a meaningful recognition experience.

For those 25 and younger, 76 percent of their
meaningful recognition comes from the manager.

The Manager’s Role

The percentage of meaningful recognition that comes from the manager has dropped notably. In 2007 it was 71 percent. Today, this has dropped to 45 percent. Clearly, as organizations become flatter more of our recognition is coming from other sources (although peer at 22 percent is a distant second). It turns out, however, that our younger workers are not the ones driving the change. For those 25 and younger, 76 percent of their meaningful recognition comes from the manager.

Delving Deeper

This survey looked beyond what has changed and explored topics we have not covered in previous surveys:

  • Was your recognition delivered face to face, by phone, through the post, or virtually?
  • What rewards, if any accompanied your recognition?
  • What motivates your performance?
  • What motivates you to stay with your organization?

We compared the results by role (individual contributor, manager/supervisor, senior leader) and revisited the topic of preferences by age. The differences are sometimes significant, mostly subtle, and not always intuitive. Are you interested in learning more? The full survey report is available and includes all survey data.



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