In the US, about $48bn is spent on employee recognition annually, about 2% of the overall payroll. Most of this (87%) is spent on recognition related to tenure, so long service awards, service awards, anniversary awards - they run with various names.
If this spend was in addition to the right amount of investment in recognizing values and behaviours it might be fine, but unfortunately, it is not. Organizational budgets are not infinite and every $1 spent on long service recognition is $1 not spent recognizing the values and behaviours that encourage staff to do their best on a daily basis.
So despite the large budgets, 49% of employees think their employer has no recognition program at all, 78% do not see their peers recognized on a continuous or monthly basis and Millennials keep leaving their jobs after short tenure with one of the key reasons stated "lack of regular enough feedback and continuous reinforcement".
At Reward Gateway, we have products that help manage long service awards and we help over a hundred clients manage these efficiently, handling several million dollars per year in awards.
Whilst we love helping these clients with their existing long service award programs, our advice to any employer considering launching a new program is to look at continuous recognition around values and behaviours in preference to any form of tenure or service anniversary program.
Organizations do not need a large budget to do this, and the first big step on continuous employee recognition can actually cost next to nothing. A peer-to-peer recognition program - ideally encompassing 'social wall' technology, such as our own social recognition tool - will give a huge amount of value and does not need to dispense financial awards at all.
If there is budget available, a program like this can be enhanced by giving managers some budget to make local instant awards, again which our technology can manage. Or launch a monthly or quarterly program, too.
Debra Corey, Group Reward Director at Reward Gateway, is always on hand to advise as a fellow HR professional and discuss new recognition approaches.
Alternatively, speak to one of our Consultants or Client Success Managers to find out more about Reward Gateway's recognition solutions.