Survey Finds That Recognition Linked to Core Values Delivers Increased ROI

The latest Globoforce Workforce Mood Tracker is out and the findings are quite interesting.

I like this bi-annual report because it focuses on the opinions of employees, uncovering trends over time. The “Fall 2012 Report: Revealing Key Practices for Effective Recognition is no exception.

The details of this report are so interesting, I struggled to find a way to summarize it in a blog post shorter than the actual report itself. Then I realized a common trend throughout the findings – deeply incorporating your core values into your strategic, social recognition program matters.

Recognition + core values = better results

Of course, just being recognized in any form for the work they do is critical for employees (Findings 1 & 2). That’s why lack of recognition is the second most cited reason by employees for why they want to leave their current jobs (see chart).

Compensation, unsurprisingly, is first, but recognition ranks high above “relationship with manager,” which is what most people think the problem is when employees choose to leave.

But any old recognition program (pizza parties, employee of the month, and the like) is not good enough. The research shows recognition tied to core values delivers far better results (Findings 3 & 5):

  • 87 percent of employees with formal, values-based recognition programs report feeling appreciated, vs. 78 percent of those without values-based recognition and 57 percent with no recognition at all
  • 79 percent of employees say recognition tied to core values gave them a stronger sense of company goals and objectives
  • 65 percent of workers who could name their values say they had a strong grasp on company objectives, versus only 23 percent who say they didn’t know any
  • 88 percent of those who know their core values say they are engaged vs. 54 percent of respondents who say they didn’t know any of their company values
  • Workers with values-based recognition programs are far less frustrated with getting things accomplished at work

Frequency and timeliness of recognition also plays a key factor (Finding 4). As the report points out:

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We found a strong trend-line to indicate that recognition has a significant impact when it occurs most recently, and therefore frequency of recognition is a key factor in effectiveness. Of those who were recognized within six months, for example, 78 percent report that they loved their jobs, whereas only 49 percent of those workers who had not been recognized in six months share that sentiment. This trend occurred across the board in our findings. Frequently recognized employees are 26 percent more likely to see their culture as positive (48 percent vs. 38 percent), and 70 percent more likely to be highly engaged (56 percent vs 33 percent).”

What does all this mean?

Frequent, timely recognition, based on your core values:

  1. Reduces turnover;
  2. Increases employee understanding of and commitment to delivering against company goals and objectives (which translates to increase productivity directly on your top organizational priorities);
  3. Increases employee engagement (willingness to give more discretionary effort to achieve your goals and objectives).

If you’re going to make the effort and investment in employee recognition and rewards, then get the most ROI by tying frequent, timely recognition to your core values.

Does your organization have an employee recognition program? What is it tied to?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at


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