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by Alex Palmer | January 24, 2014
 A new report from Aberdeen Group finds that employee recognition is the top way that best-in-class companies improve employee engagement. But despite its demonstrated value, the research firm finds that many organizations have room for improvement in their recognition and engagement efforts.

Aberdeen’s 2013 employee engagement survey looked at the impact of several workplace elements on the level of employee engagement. Those companies categorized as “best in class” reported that employee recognition was the biggest determinate, with 40 percent of these respondents citing it. In contrast, just 35 percent of non-best-in-class organizations said employee recognition had the greatest impact on employee engagement.

The top driver for employee engagement at non-best-in-class companies, cited by 39 percent, was interaction with direct manager (compared to 32 percent of best-in-class organizations).

Part of this discrepancy may be rooted in the fact that while two-thirds (67 percent) of best-in-class organizations have a formal recognition program in place, just 58 percent of all other organizations have the same. Aberdeen also found that best-in-class companies were more likely to use clear metrics to gauge the impact of their employee recognition efforts. While 46 percent of top companies had metrics in place to evaluate the success of employee engagement, just 25 percent of all other organizations had the same. Likewise, while 43 percent of best-in-class companies had access to metrics on employee recognition efforts, this was true of just 18 percent of other firms’ employee recognition efforts.

“Being able to track the effectiveness of engagement and recognition efforts can help organizations better align engagement with business objectives and improve performance,” read the report. “To achieve competitive advantage, leading organizations create a culture of recognition by empowering managers with the tools they need, leveraging social recognition tools, and embracing analytics.”

The report can be downloaded free from recognition provider Globoforce.