Survey Questions About Employee Recognition Programs

By John Schaefer, March 17, 2010 8:30 pm

Many companies are using survey questions about employee recognition programs to determine what their employees really want.  This is a two edged sword.  While it sounds proactive and caring to ask them for their input, the question itself can often carry the subtle message that you don’t know and really don’t care.  It’s like asking a class of third graders what they want for lunch – it won’t lead to serving a balanced, nutritious meal; more likely they’ll ask for candy.  Employees are no different, they’ll tell you what they WANT – money, not what they NEED – to be genuinely appreciated and respected.

Research from Maslow to Walker Information to Gallup all agree that it’s the emotional aspects of work that engage and motivate employees, not pay or bonuses.  Sure, nobody will turn down extra money, but when you respond with cash or gift cards to the answers to survey questions about employee recognition programs, you’ll end up throwing them candy.  These approaches, while appreciated, will not be lasting, will need to be increased every year, and will leave employees feeling “bought off”, not recognized.

The 100 Best Companies to Work For consistently use caution in the area of compensation.  They know that while good pay and bonuses get them better workers, it’s the ways in which they demonstrate that they care about them as human beings that keeps them on staff and yields their 110% effort.  You can buy their “C” game, but you must earn their “A” game buy showing love and respect.  The minute they think you’re attempting to manipulate their behavior using behaviorist Carrot and Stick approaches, you emotionally lose them and they begin to fall into minimal performance levels (and most don’t even realize or know why).

The best employers engage employees emotionally, then offer performance incentives.

2 Responses to “Survey Questions About Employee Recognition Programs”

  1. Great blog, you are exactly right. At Walker Information, I have been researching employee loyalty/engagement for 10 years and have found pay to have little impact on employee loyalty. It is generally things like development, fairness, recognition, and empowerment.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks Chris, I use this Walker Statistic of 75% like their jobs, but only 34% are loyal, in all of my presentations and it get’s people taking notes. I’d love to talk with you more about ways that we might support eachother. Check out my site, particularly the Media Tab – articles, videos and training workbooks and lets chat if you are intrigued. Thanks!

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