New Bersin & Associates Research Shows Organizations that Excel at Employee Recognition Are 12 Times More likely to Generate Strong Business Results

Bersin & Associates New Employee Recognition Maturity Model Underscores the Value of Saying "Thank You" in the Workplace - Just in Time for Thanksgiving

Nov 07, 2012, 08:00 ET from Bersin & Associates

OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Bersin & Associates, the leading provider of research-based membership programs in human resources (HR), talent and learning, today announced new research that shows companies that excel at employee recognition on average are 12 times more likely to generate strong business results than their peers. Just in time for Thanksgiving, Bersin & Associates also introduced its first Employee Recognition Maturity Model™, which helps leaders assess their organizations' employee recognition programs and details the steps necessary to improve performance and impact.

The findings and the maturity model both appear in The Employee Recognition Maturity Model: A Roadmap to Strategic Recognition, available now to Bersin & Associates WhatWorks® members via BersinInsights, the personalized and integrated member information platform, and to non-members at The findings are consistent with foundational research on high-impact performance management[1] that is designed to help Bersin & Associates members drive stronger employee and business results.[2] That research found that in organizations where recognition occurs, employee engagement, productivity and customer service are about 14 percent better than in those where recognition does not occur.

"Nearly 80 percent of organizations unfortunately focus on ad-hoc or tenure-based recognition programs that fail to reinforce consistent messages or make a strategic impact," said Stacia Sherman Garr, Principal Analyst, Performance Management, Bersin & Associates, and author of the research. "Used correctly, employee recognition is an important talent management tool that can help guide employee performance, maintain increased employee engagement, reduce employee turnover, and ultimately drive business performance."

The research showcases recognition best practices at North Shore – LIJ Health System, the nation's second-largest, non-profit, secular healthcare system in the United States. A Bersin & Associates member since 2004, North Shore – LIJ Health System leverages a wide variety of recognition approaches to encourage consistent messages that help employees understand the behaviors they are expected to exhibit and the outcomes they are expected to achieve.

"We know that rewards and recognition programs have a significant positive impact on business outcomes," said Claudine Cangiano, Senior Director at North Shore – LIJ Health System. "Clearly, the research by Bersin & Associates will play an important role in helping organizations understand how thoughtfully planned and executed rewards and recognition programs can help drive both employee engagement and business performance."

Bersin & Associates based the Employee Recognition Maturity Model on the five best practices of employee recognition, which it uncovered through advanced statistical analysis and numerous customer interviews. Those five best practices include the following:

  • Set the tone for recognition with senior leaders and clear goals: When senior leaders clearly communicate their expectations so that employees understand their goals and their teams' goals, the organization is much more likely to have strong business performance.
  • Create clear recognition criteria: Those companies who excel at business performance focus on recognizing people for accomplishing special projects, achieving company goals, and demonstrating company values. Senior leaders are at the forefront of public recognition, and managers and peers also were deeply involved, focusing especially on small-group and one-on-one recognition.
  • Use technology to make recognition easier, more flexible and more frequent: Employees at organizations that were highly effective at integrating technology into recognition were three times more likely to be in the top quartile of business performance. This is because the technology can make recognition more accessible to employees, enables organizations to adapt their recognition programs to fit different business needs, and results in more frequent recognition.
  • Engage in a multi-front recognition offensive: Although there are significant benefits to using employee recognition software, it should be part of a comprehensive approach to employee recognition that includes offline[3] elements. These may include praise and appreciation, special projects, certificates, trophies, plaques and "token rewards" that include rewards of smaller values or points that may be converted to other items.
  • Provide recognition and rewards employees value: Employees want to receive rewards that are high quality, have high financial value, and that they can choose. For some types of rewards, employees need to believe that others perceive the recognition as prestigious.

The full report, The Employee Recognition Maturity Model: A Roadmap to Strategic Recognition, is available today:

Register to join Stacia Sherman Garr, Principal Analyst, Performance Management for an online webinar at 2:00 pm ET / 19:00 GMT today, November 7 The Five Employee Recognition Best Practices You Need to Know About

Those interested in learning more about Bersin & Associates and its WhatWorks® membership may also email or call (510) 251-4400.

For media queries, email or call (415) 465-2711.

About Bersin & Associates

Bersin & Associates, based in Oakland, California, is an award-winning provider of proven people strategies that leaders and their organizations need to deliver exceptional business performance. Our WhatWorks® research membership gives Fortune 1000 and Global 2000 HR professionals the research-based information and tools they need to drive bottom-line impact for their organizations. 

Members use our insights and tools to design and implement best practice solutions, benchmark against others, and select and implement systems. A piece of Bersin & Associates research is downloaded every minute during the business day. More than 5,000 organizations worldwide use our research and consulting to guide their HR, talent and learning strategies.

[1] 2011 High-Impact Performance Management survey. See "High-Impact Performance Management: Maximizing Performance Coaching," Bersin & Associates / Stacia Sherman Garr, November 2011.

[2] Business performance was measured using an index called the Business Performance Index, or BPI. The BPI is based on employees' responses to questions about their engagement levels and their organizations' level of customer satisfaction, cost structure compared to competitors, market leadership position, and profitability (compared to the previous year). Each organization's score is the average of these five factors.

[3] Offline recognition refers to recognition that takes place without the aid of technology, such as in-person recognition or thank you notes.

SOURCE Bersin & Associates