Recognition Survey

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE             Contact author: Cindy Ventrice

Recognition Survey Results 2007

Meaningful recognition costs organizations absolutely nothing!

A survey by Cindy Ventrice, author of Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works (Berrett-Koehler 2003) confirms that the cost of recognition awards has only minimal impact on employee perception of what makes recognition meaningful. The survey completed June 2007 asked respondents to consider the most meaningful recognition they have ever received and estimate the dollar value of that recognition.

57 percent reported that the most meaningful recognition cost the organization nothing.

What was the dollar value of this recognition?

Over $1000                                                                  10.5%
$100-999                                                                     10.5%
$20-99                                                                         12.3%
$5-19                                                                             4.1%
Under $5                                                                       5.8%
Free                                                                             56.7%

The question these results raises, is why is free better than low cost? “Managers assume the award is the recognition,” says Cindy Ventrice, author of Make Their Day. “Managers erroneously believe the award should speak for itself. Without an effective delivery strategy the award does become the recognition and higher cost awards are obviously seen more favorably. Trinkets, poorly delivered, cause employee eye rolls rather than intense loyalty. On the other hand, when there is no award or the award costs no more than a card and a candy bar, managers naturally focus on what matters most: message and delivery.”

Other results that you will find intriguing…

When recognition from the manager/supervisor and senior management is combined, it accounts for 71 percent of the most meaningful recognition!

When managers plead “No time!” organizations often implement HR and peer driven programs. This survey shows that these programs rarely provide truly meaningful recognition. On the other hand, according to author Cindy Ventrice, “Programs run by managers who know what makes recognition meaningful and know how to provide it, translate into higher engagement, retention, loyalty, and productivity.”


85 percent of respondents said the most meaningful recognition was given to them as an individual, while 14 percent said the recognition went to the entire team.

“Individual workers, particularly top performers, can resent team awards,” says author Cindy Ventrice. “When managers and organizations attempt to be fair by providing identical recognition to an entire team, generally the perception is that they don’t know who is performing and who is coasting.”