Optimizing Employee Recognition Programs
optimizing EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION
Is unlimited choice really what employees want?
However, recent research shows this may
not be the case.
Many companies implement solutions to recognize and reward their employees and think a huge number or unlimited number
of options are best.
THE FINDINGS: award items are perhaps the most critical element in helping employees feel appreciated.
too many award choices in a catalog can detract from the recognition experience.
the ideal number of choices is likely in the range of 100 to 500 items.
awards create longer lasting feelings of being appreciated than cash.
The Cicero Group carried out a study to determine which characteristics of an employee recognition program cause an
employee to feel most appreciated by their employer.
But 95% of survey respondents said the ideal number of award items to
choose from was 100.
Due to recent advances in production, shipping, and web development, it is now financially feasible to provide a nearly unlimited number of
award options in recognition programs.
What is the ideal number of award items to choose from?
Respondents repeatedly said the following:
Why do a smaller number of award options make employees feel more appreciated?
Award programs with fewer options focus on items that fulfill employees "wants" and not just their âneeds.â
A selection of more than several hundred award choices is overwhelming and detracts from the experience.
A more tailored selection of items communicate a greater degree of effort and interest from the employers.
Fewer items create a more carefree and rewarding experience in which the employees can indulge and pamper themselves.
cash is unlikely to make an employee feel appreciated as effectively as an award item.
There is a strong consumer preference for cash, but
Do award items create a better recognition experience than their cash equivalent?
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because it does not provide the lasting effects from the continued use of an award item.
Using cash on unrewarding items, such as paying bills or
buying groceries, is detrimental to a recognition experience
Providing the largest number of award options or cash awards is unlikely to help
employees feel more appreciated.
Instead employers should optimize the recognition experience by creating a
memorable and rewarding experience.
These awards should be unique items the employee âwants,â and not just âneedsâ to provide a sense of luxury and pampering.
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Ideally, employees should select a personal award from a limited
number of award choices.
Six focus groups were conducted in Atlanta, New York City, and Los Angeles. Each focus group included eight participants from a
variety of occupational backgrounds. Participants were segmented based on their exceptional performance or for their years of service.
INTERVIEW We conducted a randomized, nationwide
survey of 600 employees. Respondents were also segmented based on their exceptional performance or for their years of service.
ABOUT THE RESEARCH
Employees were asked to choose which of three programs would cause them to feel most appreciated by their employer:
(company branded mementos)
(a formal thank you from the employer)
(brand name consumer goods)
CHOICE-BASED CONJOINT METHODOLOGY
We were able to statistically determine the degree of preference for each attribute as a whole.
BY HAVING EACH RESPONDENT REPEAT THIS ACTIVITY FOUR TIMES,
O.C. TANNER AND THE O.C. TANNER INSTITUTE
O. C. Tanner helps the world inspire and appreciate great work.
Through our innovative cloud-based software, tools, awards,
education, and research, we provide thought leadership and strategic
recognition solutions for thousands of clients globally. Designed to
engage talent, increase performance, and drive corporate goals, our
solutions create personalized recognition experiences delivered
through a smart technology platform.
The O.C. Tanner Institute regularly commissions research and provides
a global forum for exchanging ideas about recognition, engagement,
leadership, culture, human values, and sound business principles.
Get the latest recognition insights and best practices.
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