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2024 State of Recognition: Optics vs Impact

Updated on June 3, 2024

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Rewards and recognition

Is your recognition program a checkbox exercise or is it driving strategic business results? The 2024 state of employee recognition report from Achievers Workforce Institute shows that two-thirds of HR leaders aren’t seeing measurable business results from their recognition efforts. The good news is that that means there’s lots of opportunity for improvement. The bad news is that there’s some work to do to get there.

Just 40% of HR leaders say their program drives results, but 63% will increase recognition spend in 2024. This means one-third of companies increasing spend aren’t seeing the ROI to justify that decision. We know from five years of data that recognition correlates strongly with employee, team, and organizational outcomes. So, what is driving this disconnect?

Is an online recognition platform better than an offline, in-house program?

Online recognition platforms drive better outcomes than offline, in-house programs. Just 30% of HR leaders with an internal recognition program say it’s driving business results, compared with 60% of those with an online solution. Employees with access to a recognition platform are twice as likely to say they’re productive and not thinking about job hunting, compared to those with an internal program.

What makes an online employee recognition platform effective?

An effective online recognition platform has five specific traits: frequent meaningful recognition, flow-of-work integration, continual promotion, metrics that matter, and scaleable personalized rewards. HR leaders who say their program drives business results are more likely to say it includes at least some of these elements, and when all five are in place then a program is much more likely to have high impact.

Five traits of an effective online employee recognition platform

2024 employee recognition report - Five traits of an effective employee recognition program

1. High quantity, high quality, low cost

HR leaders who say their program drives business results 26% more likely to focus on high frequency, low-monetary recognition. Having points in your program will increase usage, but a social-first recognition culture helps control costs and will still impact business results.

2. Recognition in the flow of work

Programs that drive results are 45% more likely to be accessible in many ways, including desktop, mobile, and flow-of-work. From increasing employee access mobile apps and kiosks for frontline workers, to HRIS integrations connecting recognition data to employee information and business results, the best programs have infiltrated every corner of your business.

3. No rest for the well-recognized

Have you heard the old dentist’s joke? Ignore your teeth and they’ll go away. Your culture of recognition is the same. Companies with impactful programs are 69% more likely to promote their program in multiple ways, including regular campaigns and managers education.

4. Metrics that matter

Programs that drive business results are 68% more likely to be measuring specific outcomes, such as employee wellbeing, belonging, and engagement. But they’re also more likely to be focused on specific industry or company metrics such as sales productivity and CSAT scores or safety KPIs.

5. Meaningful rewards at scale

Disconnecting recognition and reward is crucial for getting to the high frequency of recognition that drives results. However, rewards still matter.

Employees want choice in rewards and the data shows that those who feel they have a broad range of options are more likely to feel recognized and to have a strong sense of belonging. Employees who say they have access to this type of comprehensive marketplace are 61% more likely to feel a strong sense of belonging and 60% more likely to say they feel meaningfully recognized at work.

Learn more about driving measurable results with your recognition program. Download the 2024 state of employee recognition report and reach out today to speak to an expert about how Achievers helps companies like yours create a best-in-class recognition culture.


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