Canadian Organizations' Rewards and Recognition Programs Don't Match Millennial Workforce Realities

OTTAWA, June 22, 2017 /CNW/ - Long-service recognition is the most prevalent type of rewards and recognition program in place in Canadian organizations. However, a new Conference Board of Canada study suggests that these programs may not appeal to younger generations who typically have shorter tenures.

Previous research by the Conference Board has indicated that millennials could have an average of five different employers over a 10-year span. Given this, most millennials would not be at an organization long enough to be eligible for most long-service recognition. This may explain why only 37 per cent of responding organizations agreed that their rewards programs consider the multiple generations in the workforce.

"The majority of organizations use their rewards and recognition programs to increase employee engagement. If this is the primary objective of the program, it is important to look at what drives engagement," said Nicole Stewart, Principal, Compensation Research Centre, The Conference Board of Canada. "There also appears to be a disconnect between where organizations are allocating the bulk of their recognition budgets and what might bring them the best value in terms of employee satisfaction."

Highlights

  • Almost 90 per cent of responding organizations have some type of formal rewards and recognition program in place.
  • Long-service recognition is the most prevalent type of rewards and recognition program in place.
  • Only 37 per cent of responding organizations agreed that their rewards programs consider the multiple generations in the workforce.

Almost 90 per cent of responding organizations have some type of formal rewards and recognition program in place. In 2016, Canadian organizations spent, on average, $139 per full-time employee (FTE) on rewards and recognition. These programs are more prevalent in the public sector compared to the private sector, however spending on rewards and recognition in the private sector ($161 per FTE) is also almost double that in the public sector ($84 per FTE).

Among these organizations, long-service recognition is the most common at 96 per cent, followed by retirement recognition at 64 per cent.  Performance-based rewards and recognition programs, which includes manager-to-employee, peer-to-peer, and corporate recognition are also prevalent. The most common rewards provided as part of peer-to-peer recognition programs are non-monetary such as e-cards or handwritten notes. In fact, just over one-third (37 per cent) of organizations report this is the only type of reward given in their peer-to-peer program.

While long-service recognition is perceived as fair and important for honouring corporate memory and loyalty, one of the major drawbacks of this program is that it becomes difficult to attach to specific accomplishments or contributions when they occur. On average, organizations spend over half their recognition budgets on long-service. However, those that have performance-based recognition report that their employees are more satisfied with their programs.

"Recognition of outstanding effort and achievement does not need to be costly and programs can be tailored to suit a changing workforce landscape. In fact, many organizations have found that they receive the most value from their peer-to-peer programs because of both the low cost and reach," added Stewart.

The Power of Appreciation: Rewards and Recognition Practices in Canadian Organizations summarizes the findings of a survey conducted between June and August 2016 which received responses from HR practitioners from a total of 383 organizations across Canada.

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SOURCE Conference Board of Canada

For further information: Natasha Jamieson, Communications Coordinator, The Conference Board of Canada, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 307, E-mail: corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca; Juline Ranger, Director of Communications, The Conference Board of Canada, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 431, E-mail: corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca

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