5 Findings from the 2018 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey

January 25, 2018 Emily Payne

A more human workplace not only fosters happier employees, it helps resolve retention, recruitment, and culture management challenges, according to the 2018 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey.

In collaboration with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management, Globoforce explored what constitutes a human workplace by surveying 738 HR leaders in a variety of organizations. In our sixth year conducting the survey, we found that HR leaders across the country are creating supportive feedback environments throughout the year to improve employee engagement, organizational culture, and the employee experience.

The survey found that 47 percent of HR leaders see employee retention and turnover as their top workforce management challenge—the third consecutive year this challenge has topped the list. The second biggest challenge was recruitment, while 34 percent of those surveyed also see culture management as a top challenge.

Here are the key findings from the 2018 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey:

  1. More human-centered approaches can help meet retention and recruitment challenges.

Eighty percent of the HR leaders surveyed reported that their organization currently has an employee recognition program. The majority say their employee recognition program helps with employee experience (89 percent), employee relationships (86 percent), organizational culture (85 percent), employee engagement (84 percent), and organizational values (83 percent). This means that, according to the survey, it’s important for HR leaders to treat employee recognition as not just a program, but a management practice with a real and measurable business impact.

  1. Values-based recognition remains highest-rated among HR leaders who adopt these programs to reinforce and drive business goals.

Values-based recognition programs – where employees are recognized and rewarded for behavior that exemplifies a company’s core values – continue to be more highly adopted (70 percent) than recognition programs not tied to a company’s core values (30 percent). Programs tied to values are also more than two times as likely to be focused on reinforcing and driving business goals; 33 percent more likely to be focused on empowering employees; and 29 percent more likely to be focused on creating a positive employer brand.

  1. Recognition programs funded at 1 percent or more of payroll are more likely to be rated highly than underfunded programs or programs with zero budget.

HR leaders who have invested 1 percent or more of payroll on recognition are more likely to agree recognition programs are fully aligned with the organization’s people strategy – meaning tied to important business metrics such as retention rate of critical employees, strength of company values, and employee happiness. Compared to cost-saving recognition programs like “e-thanks,” programs at 1 percent or more of payroll are 86 percent more likely to be rated as good or excellent. 

  1. Peer feedback, more frequent reviews or check-ins, and a supportive feedback environment can effectively spur employee growth and development.

Only about half of HR leaders surveyed think their current performance appraisal process is accurate. Organizations that rely on more frequent performance reviews are more likely to use peer feedback, either ongoing or intermittently. Eighty-nine percent of HR leaders surveyed agree ongoing peer feedback and check-ins have a positive impact on their organization.

Compared to annual reviews with no peer feedback, semi-annual reviews and peer feedback are nearly two times as likely to be perceived as accurate. Even if an organization is not ready to forgo the traditional performance review, HR leaders can consider adopting frequent peer feedback as a supplement to improve the quality of conversations and employee development over the course of the year, the report adds.

  1. Organizations are celebrating life events to humanize the employee experience at work. 

Creating a community celebration of life events at work – such as getting married, buying a house, or having a child – can help strengthen workplace relationships and employee connections, making organizations more attractive to potential and future hires. According to the report, employees are nearly two times as likely to agree their company is a good place to work when they are very or somewhat satisfied with how life events are celebrated in the workplace.

Stay tuned for a deeper dive into each of these findings in the coming months. To download the full 2018 report, click here.


New report: a more human workplace helps resolve retention, recruitment, and culture management…
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