by Matt Alderton | July 20, 2017
Applauding them for their achievements has surpassed honoring them for their years of service as the most popular way to recognize employees. So finds rewards, recognition, and incentives provider Michael C. Fina Recognition, which yesterday published the results of its third annual in-booth survey of more than 100 HR professionals at the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2017 Annual Conference & Exposition in New Orleans.

According to the survey, awards for years of service and for above-and-beyond performance are the most common types of recognition employers give employees; 21 percent and 38 percent of HR professionals, respectively, said their companies give those forms of recognition. Additionally, more than half (52 percent) of HR professionals said their companies currently have a "comprehensive recognition program" with three to five different initiatives in place.

"Service awards have always been the cornerstone to any recognition program," said Cord Himelstein, vice president of marketing and communications, Michael C. Fina Recognition. "But as the recognition space grows, we're seeing achievement-based programs like 'Above & Beyond' becoming more and more essential."

Employers aren't resting on their recognition laurels, however: Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of HR professionals said they plan to make changes to their recognition program over the next year.

The biggest opportunities for improvement, the survey suggested, are related to onboarding and measurement, as two-thirds (67 percent) of HR professionals said they do not integrate employee recognition with onboarding activities and nearly four out of 10 said they do not measure the success of their recognition programs.

"Even with limited resources, organizations that build engagement at the beginning of an employee's tenure are more likely to have better long-term retention rates," said Himelstein, adding that, "Measurement is an essential component of successful recognition. It is very hard to improve what you can't measure."