2018 Employee Recognition Report

Recognize Team surveyed over 1,000 employees across industry, pay-scale, gender, and age on their employee recognition and rewards preferences. More updates in the works with participant-segmented insights.

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Major takeaways from the Employee Recognition Report

  • Cash is still king, merchandise is out
  • 49% of people have left jobs for not being recognized
  • People want regular recognition mostly quarterly, yearly, or monthly
  • 76% of people aren't interested in micro-bonuses
  • People prefer work anniversaries over birthdays at work
  • People are generally comfortable with online recognition
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Employees working together.

49% of employees surveyed quit a job for not receiving employee recognition

Q: Have you ever left a job because you felt under-appreciated?

49% of people have left a job for feeling under-appreciated.

Most employees are generally happy with their jobs

Q: In general, how satisfied are you with your current workplace?

40% of people give their current employer 4 out of 5.

76% of employees prefer less frequent employee recognition with higher value

Q: Which type of recognition do you prefer?

Only 922 people answered this compared to the 1030 people that have answered all the other questions.

Most employees appreciate being appreciated

Q: I appreciate being recognized by my peers for my contributions in the workplace.

45% of people give 4 out of 5 in appreciating recognition.

Employees prefer private employee recognition from their managers

Q: I appreciate being publicly recognized by my company for my contributions.

Private recognition from managers got a 4.24/5.

Q:  I appreciate being privately recognized by my company for my contributions.

Public recognition from manager got a 3.72/5.

Employees prefer private birthday recognition

Q: I like when my company publicly recognizes my birthday.

Q: I like when my company privately recognizes my birthday.

If employees had to choose, they would prefer work anniversaries than birthday celebrations.

Q: I like when my company publicly recognizes my work anniversary.

Q: I like when my company privately recognizes my work anniversary.

Employees love cash as a result of employee recognition

Q: When receiving recognition at my company, I prefer cash rewards.

4.45 average out of 5 for paid time off as an employee recognition reward of choice.

Donation to charity is not preferred

Q: When receiving recognition at my company, I prefer donating to the charity of my choice.

2.37 average out of 5 for paid time off as an employee recognition reward of choice.

Employees want paid time off as an employee recognition reward

Q: When receiving recognition at my company, I prefer additional paid time off.

3.78 average out of 5 for paid time off as an employee recognition reward of choice.

Employees are least interested in a parking spot of the choices we asked

Q: When receiving recognition at my company, I prefer a special parking spot.

2.18 average out of 5 for paid time off as an employee recognition reward of choice.

Merchandise is out for employee recognition

Q: When receiving recognition at my company, I prefer merchandise.

2.39 average out of 5 for merchandise as an employee recognition reward of choice.

Most employees are not interested in experiences as employee recognition rewards either

Q: When receiving recognition at my company, I prefer experiences, such as a massage or sky dive trip

2.41 average out of 5 for experiences as an employee recognition reward of choice

Employees feel similarly about plaques as they do about experiences.

Q: When receiving recognition at my company, I prefer receiving a plaque or award certificate.

2.38 average out of 5 for plaques as an employee recognition reward of choice

Employees self-report a similar motivation when recognized by peers, managers, or executives

Q: I feel motivated in my work when I am recognized by my manager.

4.07 out of 5

Q: I feel motivated in my work when I am recognized by my peers.

3.94 out of 5

Q:  I feel motivated in my work when I am recognized by my company's executives.

4.01 out of 5

Employees slightly prefer recognizing peers in private

Q: I feel comfortable recognizing peers for their contributions in a public group setting.

3.86 out of 5

Q: I feel comfortable recognizing peers for their contributions privately in person.

4.19 out of 5

Employees slightly prefer recognizing peers in person than online

Q: I feel comfortable recognizing peers for their contributions publicly through an online form.

3.58 out of 5

Q: I feel comfortable recognizing peers for their contributions privately through an online form.

3.78 out of 5

35% of employees have never experienced an employee recognition program

Q: Have you ever worked for a company with an official employee recognition program?

65% yes and 35% no.

Q: If yes, what types of employee recognition programs have you used?

39% cash bonus, 34% plaques, 31% birthday, 28% gift card, 25% manager to peer recognition, 20% monthly nomination voting program, 20% peer to peer recognition, 18% non-monetary program, 15% yearly nomination voting program, 10% quarterly nomination voting program, 8% experience program, 4% other.

Give employees quarterly recognition and you'll satisify 56% of the workforce.

Q: How often do you wish you were recognized for your contributions?

37% prefer quarterly employee recognition, 27% monthly, 19% yearly, 13% weekly, 5% daily.

Employee Recognition Report methodology

The report was conducted using Mechanical Turk in the Summer of 2018. 1030 participants answered most questions.

Participant demographics

  • 52% were female, 48% male
  • 8% were 18-24, 33% were 25-34, 24% 35-44, 19% 45-54, 12% 55-64 years of age.
  • Although allowed internationally, 84% were in the USA and 10% in India. Canada and Mexico made up 1% each.
  • One major problem was the percentage of caucasians in the study: 70% white, 10% South Asian, 6% black, 4% Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin, 4$ East Asian.
  • 49% were married, 30% single, 9% living with their partner, 9% divorced, 2% separated.
  • On average people live with 2.99 people.
  • 76% drive for transportation, 8% walk, 6% bike, 5% motorcycle, 3% bus, 2% metro, 1% train. One person said they travel by plane.
  • 45% have a bachelor's degree, 15% attended college, 14% associate degree, 13% Master's degree, 8% high school, 3% professional degree, 1% doctorate degree.
  • 18% technology, 10% work in health care, 8% financial services, 6% retail, 5% accounting, 5% education, and more across 102 industries.
  • 22% make $50k to $75k, 18% $30k to $40k, 18% under $20k, 13% $75k to $100k, 10% $20k to $30k.