Is cash king for employee recognition?

In this infographic you will find out what it really takes to drive business results with recognition: big budgets or a sincere thanks.

The impressive impact of recognition is well established, but do you need big individual budgets to drive business results, or will social recognition suffice?

This is a question we at the Achievers Workforce Institute (AWI) have been asked for a number of years, and now we finally have an answer: it depends.

Jump straight to the Profit vs Praise infographic

Frequent social recognition is just as impactful as monetary recognition on outcomes such as engagement, job commitment, and productivity.

But that doesn’t mean that money doesn’t matter. Recognition platforms without points don’t drive a culture of recognition as effectively as those with an option for monetary recognition.

“One trend we see is that points get people into the program initially — it’s a pull factor encouraging employees to log into the website or mobile app,” says Chief Customer Officer Matt Tremmaglia. “Once these employees are in the habit of logging in, social recognitions increase as well. Regular points uploads, quarterly campaigns, and nudges to use expiring points create new reminders to log into the recognition platform. A culture of recognition doesn’t happen on its own, it requires effort to get momentum.”

In the 2023 State of Recognition Report, we surveyed 3,500 employees about how often they were recognized, what type of recognition they prefer, and how engaged, committed, and productive they are at work.

How often is the average employee recognized?

Most employees report being recognized quarterly or less, with one in five say they are never recognized. AWI recommends aiming for one recognition per employee per month to increase engagement, commitment, and productivity at your organization.

How often do you receive meaningful recognition?

Monetary Social
Weekly 13% 16%
Monthly 23% 29%
Quarterly 21% 23%
Annually 22% 14%
Never 21% 18%

*Source: AWI 2023 State of Recognition Report

How to create a culture of recognition

Both social and monetary recognition support an overall culture of recognition.

1. Use points and nudges to increase platform usage

Reminders to use points and point expiries encourage employees to log into the platform, building a habit of recognition.

2. Educate on the impact of social recognition

One of the main reasons people give for not recognizing others at work is that they don’t have enough budget. Demonstrate the importance and impact of social recognition to increase overall frequency.

3. Train managers to increase top-down recognition

People recognized by their managers are more likely to recognize others and more likely to feel a sense of recognition at work. Incorporate recognition best practices into manager training and have regular reminders.

4. Highlight recognitions to increase peer-to-peer recognition

In every team meeting or townhall, choose a few recognitions to highlight, showing that recognition is important to the whole organization.

5. Run regular campaigns to maintain and increase activity

Every culture needs maintenance and one of the best ways to maintain recognition frequency is to introduce quarterly campaigns to get employees into their platform and using it in new ways.

Read the Profit vs Praise infographic today to understand the different roles social and monetary recognitions play in driving results.

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The Workforce Institute is the research and insights arm of Achievers. It provides thought leadership based in science, data, and research and ensures our products and services are rooted in workforce science.

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Achievers has always been and will always be committed to uncovering and decoding valid scientific data to drive engagement of people in the workplace.

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Who is the Institute

The Workforce Institute is a group of individuals focused on bringing scientific process, academic standards, and a research-based approach together with the in-house expertise and behavioural data insights within Achievers.

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