The 2017 Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) Conference was held in New Orleans this year, and it proved to be a popular location. We decided to take advantage of the high attendance and administer a QuickTap Survey to test the temperature of recognition and engagement with the HR professionals who live it every day.

While our quick survey is not exactly scientific, we always find it helpful to gauge ground-level opinions and compare them to the trends we see reported from mainstream outlets. Events like the annual SHRM conference are great for getting a wide spectrum of responses from organizations of all sizes and types. To that end, here are some observations we took from our results (a sampling of about 100 attendees from various backgrounds) that you can take with a grain of salt:

  • Onboarding Gap – Although a whopping 73 percent of our respondents said they were planning on making changes to their recognition program in the next 12 months, close to the same amount (67 percent) said they do not offer any kind of recognition during onboarding. The correlation is notable as studies are starting to show that more engagement at the beginning of an employee’s tenure leads to better long-term retention and productivity. Things like Onboarding Kits can be folded in with recognition efforts to give new hires a more lasting first impression.
  • Measurement – Nearly four out of 10 of our respondents claimed they do not measure the success of their recognition programs. We see this trend recur in every major study that is released on the topic (WorldatWork’s 2017 assessment reported only 5 percent of recognition programs measure for ROI). There is a persistent miscommunication about the value reporting and measurement can bring to a recognition program. We have a featured article being published that addresses this very topic, and includes some practical examples. In short, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. A similar amount (38 percent) of our respondents reporting using employee surveys to measure recognition success, which is a good start, but may not go far enough.
  • Service and Daily Achievements – Far and away, the two most popular and effective forms of recognition to our respondents were service awards and daily Above & Beyond performance awards, garnering 21 and 38 percent of votes, respectively. In addition, more than half (52 percent) of our respondents indicated they currently field five recognition initiatives or more. These trends are in line with major studies and show just how much the recognition space is growing and changing. Service awards used to be the only game in town, but today we are seeing both service awards and a reliable daily recognition platform as must-have components to any program. The growing need to reach remote and international workers plays a big role in this.

Thanks to experiences and feedback we get from the generous participation of HR leaders at the annual SHRM Conference, we continue to find new and creative ways to make recognition accessible to companies of all sizes, while staying in touch with frontline concerns. If you are curious about how your recognition program stacks up to industry standards, do try our Recognition Strength Finder, a free assessment tool formulated by us that will help you plan a road map for any changes. Until then, best of luck creating an inspiring and rewarding workplace for your people!