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Five Trends in Employee Recognition to Look out for in 2018

Rachel Reed
1/16/18 9:03 AM

The increase in knowledge-based specialized workforce, big data explosion, declining communications costs, and high technology penetration have transformed business processes, corporate ecosystems, and approaches to innovation. With this dynamism in place, the complexities related to motivating internal talent pool have also magnified. The power of reward and recognition has thus become an imperative for making a difference to talent in every organization.

Employee recognition is no longer limited to a top-down approach. Companies now are leveraging technology-enabled platforms to include recognition at every level — peer-to-peer, senior-to-junior and junior-to-senior. A right framework and efficient implementation of Reward and Recognition (R&R) Program often triggers positive behaviors amongst employees. And organizations are employing various innovative, broad-based recognition programs to encourage achievement, boost morale, attract and retain talent, and create a culture aligned with business vision and value system.

However, one of the biggest gaps in most of the recognition programs relates to addressing the needs of the knowledge workers of today. Recognition means the most when it happens immediately, especially when it comes to today’s diverse workforce. The right technology helps in designing and executing reward and recognition solutions that provide value, reliability and security. The future of recognition is less focused on physical rewards. In fact, it is driven by moments of micro-recognition promoted by everyone and not just leaders.

Rewardian and People Matters designed and conducted this study with the objective to understand how leading companies in India approach recognition programs. The survey saw the participation of HR professionals from 180 companies across industries and sectors.

The study is focused on three aspects of employee recognition programs:

1) Strategic Positioning: The placement of recognition programs in the value chain – their alignment with business vision and goals.

2) Technology Imperatives: Understanding the role that technology plays in the R&R philosophy. 3) Impact Analysis: Measurement of recognition programs and their perceived impact at different levels.

Findings from the study highlight these trends in employee recognition:

  • Instant (timely) recognition is more effective.
  • Leadership buy-in remains the top challenge in implementing successful employee recognition programs.
  • Leadership participation is critical in program success, yet many leaders view employee recognition as short-term fixes rather than a long-term culture shift.
  • Technology implementation is critical to employee recognition program success and analysis, yet 43% of organizations still manually manage programs.
  • Programs will be focused on behaviors which reflect core company values.


The study showcases that recognition programs are an integral part of an organization’s strategy that should reflect the company’s culture, and also integrate well with the business goals and values. The success of any recognition program largely depends on the budget and leadership buy-in. And in 2018, technology-based platforms will act as an enabler for integrating the R&R philosophy for better impact measurement, transparent communication, and a more efficient process.

You can download the full study here or below. 

Trends in Employee Recognition






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