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Employee engagement is the top HR challenges organizations are facing in the next three to five years, according to a recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and commissioned by Globoforce. Sixty-nine percent of HR professionals surveyed said engagement is “very important” and 30 percent said it is “important.”

Employee retention (63 percent: “very important,” 32 percent: “important”), employee recruitment (53 percent, 43 percent) and culture management (51 percent, 45 percent) followed on the list of top challenges.

The survey also explored how organizations are using employee recognition programs in the workplace and how their results are being tracked. A large percentage of organizations (80 percent) are using recognition and feedback programs of some kind for employees, but the consensus is that they are challenging to measure and evaluate.

Employee Recognition & Employee Engagement by the Numbers

The most common recognition areas are:

  • Years of service – 58 percent
  • Going above and beyond with an unexpected work project – 48 percent
  • Successful performance relating to the organizational financial bottom-line –  43 percent
  • Exemplary behavior that represents organizational values – 37 percent
  • Completion of regular work projects with high-quality results – 9 percent
  • Completion of regular work projects at a pace faster than usual – 2 percent

The most accurate appraisal of employee performance:

  • Multi-source (manager, senior leader, peer, etc.) ongoing feedback program – 42 percent
  • Manager-driven ongoing feedback program – 25 percent
  • Manager-driven annual (or semi-annual) performance review – 21 percent
  • 360-degree performance review – 10 percent
  • Other – 2 percent

Methods organizations use to track employee engagement:

  • Employee exit interviews – 71 percent
  • Employee retention rates – 65 percent
  • Vendor-administered employee engagement surveys/analysis – 43 percent
  • Company-administered employee engage surveys/analysis – 40 percent

Organizational tracking of ROI for an employee recognition program?:

  • Yes – 13 percent
  • No – 87 percent

The effectiveness of recognition programs is challenging to measure:

  • 68 percent agree
  • 9 percent strongly agree

The survey results demonstrate that employee recognition is an important priority and employee engagement is a big concern in the majority of organizations, yet many HR professionals struggle with solutions. It is difficult to measure how engaged employees are, as well as how well recognition programs are working to build morale in an organization, so it is a big challenge to define what initiatives are successful.

In your organization, do you have recognition programs? Do you measure their effectiveness? How do you think recognition initiatives influence engagement in the workplace?


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