Study Reveals Low Effectiveness of Rewards and Recognition Programs in Organizations

May 30th, 2024 12:00 PM
By: HRmarketer Editorial

A new study by's HR Research Institute finds that while most organizations have rewards and recognition programs, only 31% rate them as highly effective. The research highlights key challenges and emphasizes the need for adaptive strategies in employee engagement.

Study Reveals Low Effectiveness of Rewards and Recognition Programs in Organizations

A recent study conducted by's HR Research Institute has uncovered a significant gap between the widespread adoption of rewards and recognition (R&R) programs and their perceived effectiveness in organizations. The research, detailed in the report ''s State of Rewards and Recognition Programs and Tools 2024', reveals that while 94% of organizations have a recognition program and 91% have a rewards program, only 31% rate these initiatives as highly effective.

This discrepancy raises important questions about the implementation and impact of R&R programs in the current business landscape. The study, which surveyed HR professionals to gain insights into R&R benefits, issues, drivers, and best practices, identified several key challenges faced by HR teams in their employee rewards and recognition efforts.

Cost emerged as a primary concern, with 48% of respondents citing it as a major challenge. Equally significant is the inconsistent application of R&R programs, also reported by 48% of participants. Other notable issues include the loss of engagement for employees not being recognized (42%), lack of leadership involvement (38%), and insufficient manager training on best practices (36%).

These findings underscore the complex nature of implementing effective R&R strategies and highlight the need for organizations to reassess their approaches. Debbie McGrath, Chief Instigator and CEO of, emphasized the importance of adapting to current HR challenges, stating, 'Modern and cost-effective rewards and recognition programs, combined with leadership training and support, are pivotal to ensure boosting employee engagement and productivity.'

The study's implications extend beyond the HR department, potentially impacting overall business performance. Effective R&R programs are widely recognized as crucial tools for enhancing employee motivation, retention, and productivity. The low effectiveness ratings revealed by this research suggest that many organizations may be missing out on these benefits, despite their investments in such programs.

For HR professionals and business leaders, these findings serve as a call to action. The report suggests that there is significant room for improvement in how R&R programs are designed, implemented, and managed. Organizations may need to reevaluate their strategies, focusing on consistency, leadership involvement, and manager training to enhance the effectiveness of their R&R initiatives.

The research also points to the need for more innovative and cost-effective approaches to R&R. As budgetary constraints continue to be a major concern, HR departments may need to explore creative solutions that deliver impactful recognition without straining financial resources.

Furthermore, the study highlights the importance of inclusive recognition practices. With 42% of respondents citing loss of engagement for non-recognized employees as a challenge, organizations must strive to create R&R programs that acknowledge and motivate a broader spectrum of their workforce.

As the business world continues to evolve, particularly in the wake of recent global changes, the role of effective R&R programs in maintaining a engaged and productive workforce cannot be overstated. This research from provides valuable insights for HR professionals and organizational leaders looking to enhance their R&R strategies and align them more closely with employee needs and company objectives.

The complete's State of Rewards and Recognition Programs and Tools 2024 report is available for free download, offering detailed insights and actionable recommendations for improving R&R initiatives. Additionally, HR professionals can access a recorded presentation, Adapt Your Rewards and Recognition Practices to a New Era, for further guidance on adapting R&R practices to the current business environment.

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