Businessolver Blog

Rewards and Recognition are Empathetic and Good for the Bottom Line, but are They Making the Grade?

Rewards and Recognition are Empathetic and Good for the Bottom Line, but are They Making the Grade?
Posted on Thursday, November 5, 2020 by Marcy Klipfel

Both CEOs and HR professionals feel strongly that employers that recognize employees’ accomplishments demonstrate empathy and boost productivity.


But the rubber isn’t quite meeting the road in terms of the type and amount of recognition that’s available in their organizations.

In our 2020 State of Workplace Empathy study, Businessolver found that an overwhelming majority of both CEOs and HR professionals believe in the effectiveness and value of rewards and recognition programs:

  1. Ninety-six percent of HR professionals and 95% of CEOs agree that organizations that recognize employees for professional accomplishments are more empathetic.
  2. Ninety-six percent of HR professionals and 93% of CEOs say that an employer that recognizes employees for these accomplishments boosts overall work productivity.
  3. Ninety percent of HR professionals and 91% of CEOs believe the advantages that come from employee recognition programs outweigh the financial costs.

Considering the level of consensus—especially around return-on-investment—it would seem likely that most organizations have programs that effectively recognize and reward employees.

That’s not the case. Those on the receiving end of recognition—employees—see significant room for improvement. While just over half of employees believe their employer offers the right amount of recognition, 41% think there isn’t enough.

Those most responsible for designing, delivering and analyzing the impact of rewards and recognition programs report a disconnect between the best ways to recognize employees and what’s actually being offered. Ninety-four percent of HR professionals believe that best practice for recognizing employees is through merit-based raises but only 37% have this tool in their organization’s arsenal. Likewise, 92% support immediate or spot bonuses, but just 25% report their organization uses this approach.

This shortfall demonstrates that for a good number of employers, there’s a valuable opportunity to leverage the advantages of rewarding and recognizing employees, which includes increased productivity and a greater sense of loyalty.

And, while merit-based increases in compensation are considered a best-practice way to recognize and reward, other, less-costly options are effective. Gallup found that employees appreciate public recognition, even without an associated financial reward.

In this era of distanced work, organizations may need to get creative with their public recognition, but a pandemic shouldn’t be an excuse to put recognition and rewards on hold. Instead, it’s the perfect time to let employees know their additional efforts, their flexibility and their resilience is something employers value highly.

To find out more about the connection between recognition, empathy and productivity, read our e-book. In it, you’ll learn more about how employees, HR professionals and CEOs view rewards and recognition and how CEOs have a different perspective on best practice.