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Recognition Cultures Drive Performance


Written by: Recognition Strategist Carl Bonura

Companies that create cultures of recognition have financial performance superior to companies that don’t.

AonHewitt in a 2017 study (Aon Hewitt Analysis) shows a clear link between highly engaged workforces and highly performing companies. As noted in a previous study, “Organizations with high levels of engagement (where 65 percent or more of employees are engaged) outperformed the total stock market index even in volatile economic conditions…companies with low engagement (where less than 40 percent of employees are engaged) had a total shareholder return that was 44 percent lower than the average.”

People think that money is a motivator. It does have an effect, but motivation involves far more. A good rewards system recognizes and rewards individual and team performance, financially and otherwise, in relation to the overall contribution made.

The best performance appraisal system in the world will not work if it is linked to rewards that employees do not trust or support. In short, a motivated employee will achieve a great deal. A de-motivated employee will be slow, prone to error and not likely to achieve targeted results.

In North America, engagement levels have dropped by 1 point and so has Rewards & Recognition. But in Latin America where Rewards & Recognition are up 2 points, overall engagement is up 3 points!

Even though engagement in the USA fell by a modest 1 point, every one of the 15 work dimensions declined! Will engagement further recede in the near future?

Culture of Recognition

A culture of recognition greatly enhances employee engagement and retention. This comes about by having ongoing and successful blends of recognition and incentive programs. There are many ways to implement such programs but they should involve peer-to-peer, on-the-spot awards, service recognition, points based incentives and custom symbolic awards that create an emotional connection.

What are the results of creating a culture of recognition?

  • Employees respond to a culture of recognition because recognition comes from different sources and for different reasons.
  • If they are doing an excellent job, recognition comes frequently further reinforcing positive behaviors.
  • Employees respond because recognition may come from their peers, from their managers and company leaders. People want their contributions acknowledged.
  • Employees respond when rewards are personal, relevant, and attractive and because they make the selection that they value most.

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