Employee Recognition Statistics: Demographics and Practices in 2024

Employee recognition boosts performance and retention. It goes beyond development, productivity, and customer support, stretching into employee loyalty and engagement. Duuh. Captain Obvious there, right? While that is true, the fact that people are usually loyal to their carer and not to a certain company or institution puts things a bit more into perspective for business owners.

That’s where that recognition value comes to shake things up a bit. So, check out our list of employee recognition statistics that will also alert you to the danger of working in a demoralizing workplace instead of making employees feel valued. 

Top Employee Recognition Statistics: Editor’s Choice

  • A shocking 65% of Americans did not receive any form of recognition last year.
  • Just 31.5% of US employees feel engaged. 
  • The most common type of recognition relates to the years of service. 
  • Employees are more engaged during the first six months of work. 
  • 75% of employees would be satisfied with their job if they receive at least one recognition a month.   
  • Happiness magnifies productivity by 13%.
  • Peer-to-peer recognition is said to have a 35.7% bigger impact on financial results.
  • 63% of employees would not change their job if recognized. 
  • The effect of recognition on employee performance gets a 60% boost if done once every seven days. 
  • Global businesses lose roughly $7 trillion annually due to lack of motivation.
  • Annual incentive programs in the US cost around $100,000. 

General Statistics on Employee Recognition

1. If their efforts are appreciated, 40% of employees would be more committed to their job.

Employee recognition and retention is not one 10-year pin, a golden watch, or a ribbon away. It’s in making employees feel special and appreciated, visible in their workplace, even if they are stuck in the corporate, 9-5 grind every day.

How do you make people valued and appreciated? With unique gifts and incentives, or praise that usually comes from above. 

2. Employee recognition and motivation are more effective when their occurrence cannot be foreseen

If we are to trust employee recognition program statistics, your keywords here are timing and contingency. You want to keep those incentive punches sweet, but not regular.

Repeated use will kill all the fun and then you are back in that vicious cycle struggling with employee recognition and productivity once again. Repeated use of awards, prizes, incentives, or birthday gifts should be a bit more bouncy and unpredictable. 

3. Three out of four companies have an employee recognition program, but only 58% of employees know of its existence. 

“Today’s $46 billion market for recognition, with its focus on tenure-based programs, clearly is failing, and is out of sync with modern employment practices,” says Josh Bersin, President of Bersin & Associates.

Any employee recognition program is better than no employee recognition program’ is not a rule anymore, with employee recognition program statistics showing that staff would rather trade that for feeling appreciated at work and a ‘thank you’ from their manager here and there. 

4. 60% of the best-in-class companies indicate that employees’ performance is significantly higher when a company has various types of employee recognition.

Recognizing employee contributions scales the quality of work, concentration, as well as productivity, and diminishes the employee turnover rate. A company does not necessarily have to have all of the employee recognition types there are, but it should have some at least. The most popular employee recognition types include: 

  • Years of service 
  • The employee of the week/month/year
  • Annual or quarterly reviews/evaluations 
  • Gamification and rewards
  • Performance incentive programs
  • Peer-to-peer recognition
  • The celebration of important milestones

5. Employee reward and recognition program statistics show that nearly a quarter of respondents think that recognizing employee contributions with pay wasn’t very memorable.

So, what kept the motor running for them? It was making employees feel valued through public recognition either from a superior, the CEO, or even a customer, achievement through evaluations or reviews, employee rewards, and recognition in the form of a trip, an accolade, a recommendation, or a certificate.

6. 40% of people feel they aren’t recognized enough during COVID. 

After surveying 1,100 people, the 2020 Achievers Culture report confirmed that employee recognition in COVID-19  dropped by 40%. The retail sector, in particular, noted a 48% drop. 

7. Companies with a more frequent recognition culture are more successful at retaining employees. 

Research conducted by Brandon Hall Group showed that employee recognition and appreciation is tied to increased retention by 41%. It further increased engagement by 34%, according to employee recognition statistics. 

8. Employee recognition gifts and affirmation words are the most popular forms of recognition. 

According to an employee recognition survey of 1,500 employees conducted by SurveyMonkey, 33% of employees said they were in favor of gifts, while 32% answered words of affirmation. 

9. Employee recognition statistics show that up to 70% of people think gamification is a bad recognition technique. 

Competition among employees can be fun, but gathering points and displaying them on a leaderboard will make people feel as if they are not valued at work.

The key is motivating and recognizing employees every step of the way, not pushing them at the bottom of the board, making them feel embarrassed in front of their team members, or wanting to quit. 

10. People promoted internally after 3 years were 70% less likely to leave their job. 

A LinkedIn study encompassing 32 million people showed that if promoted internally, people have up to 70% likelihood of staying in the company. That figure is at 62% if moved laterally, and 45% if still at the same position in the company after three years. 

11. Production and manufacturing employees have the lowest levels of engagement. 

Employee recognition statistics show that employees in the production and manufacturing sector have 23% engagement, while people in sales have displayed up to 30.6% engagement, slightly less than employees in the installation and repair sector, 31.3%.

People in farming, fishing, and forestry displayed 33.6%, while managers had the highest level of engagement, at 38.4%.

12. Canadian research shows that only 12% of people leave their current job for more money. 

Employers believe that people quit their job to get more money somewhere else, when in fact 88% of people in Canada listed 11 other reasons including poor management, lack of career growth, poor communication among team members and lack of teamwork, lack of training, massive workloads, and not enough tools and resources. Lack of recognition at work scored 5th place. 

13. Employee recognition statistics for Canada also show that recognition programs in the country have kept the same ranking as in 2013. 

At 85%, years of service is the top program, followed by an above-and-beyond performance with 77%, behavior-oriented programs associated with business initiatives (51%), peer-to-peer recognition (49%), and retirement (34%).

14. The latest employee recognition statistics for the UK indicate that engaging employees beyond business has a great impact on performance. 

By this, we do not mean engaging your employees outside of work; we mean caring and catering for employees beyond the business aspect.

Specsavers, a British company, for example, has a goal of providing optometrical services to its employees and is collaborating with Reward Gateway, a company offering its engagement platform in the form of eVouchers. The vouchers can be used for employees to get the eye care they need.  

15. The Australian HR Institute strongly suggests tailor-made employee benefits.

Namely, Ben Thompson, the CEO of the HR platform Employment Hero, argues that a cost-effective mobile phone plan, a fancy gadget like Bluetooth headphones or tablet, and even a gym membership will be a good productivity booster to younger employees.

Employee recognition statistics for Australia further show that as employees move into their late 20s and 30s, health and life insurance, credit cards, and restaurant discounts are extremely important, while older employees will be looking towards more leisure time, i.e. holidays, which is why different types of benefits should exist within the company. 

16. Research by Development Dimensions International Australia points out that many managers solve their not-great-at-conversing-with-employees problem with annual reports. 

Annual reports are an umbrella of vague generalizations that don’t tackle separate events — permanently squeezing them into that pipeline of oblivion.

Generic in form and focused on preventing employees from requesting higher pay, annual reports are not regular feedback and in their aim at pleasing everyone, paradoxically enough, they please no one. 

17. Different demographics and generations must be managed differently.

Employee reward and recognition program statistics show that millennials are the least engaged group with only 28.9% of engagement. Most of the time, millennials feel like their current job does not leave them enough space for career growth and skills development. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, will go the extra mile if their managers show them at least a bit of approval and praise, and they thrive when left to do what they know best. 

Employee recognition statistics further show that people who obtain a scholarship degree have lower engagement levels than those who obtain a high school diploma. This arises from the fact that people with a diploma expect to be valued more because their educational levels exceed high school. 

Employee Recognition: Conclusion

Recognition in the workplace seems to be lagging in many industries, ultimately driving people away or causing disengaged employees to spiral across the pipelines of that 9-5 grind for years on end. Employee recognition statistics show that monetary compensation, albeit appealing, isn’t the only option. There are other alternatives to employee recognition in the workplace and those can do just enough wonders for your company, cost you less, and make your team happy and satisfied at work.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why recognize employees?

To literally make them happy. The thing about happy employees is that they are loyal to the brand they work for, they go the extra mile for their clients and customers; they are communicative and more positive, and they are likely to stay within the company.  

Why is employee recognition important?

Employee recognition statistics confirm that regular interactions and feedback, or nominations and awards make employees feel valued and appreciated, which in turn, helps the company thrive and remain successful. 

What does employee recognition mean?

Employee recognition means supporting, recognizing, and valuing patterns of behavior, practices, and activities; i.e. exemplary performance in the workplace that magnifies a company’s productivity and reaches its financial goals. Recognition can be formal or informal, but above everything, it should be timely. 

How important is employee recognition?

Extremely important! It is the mover and the shaker of a positive working environment. Appreciation and the feeling of belonging among a group of people and in a company, as well as fighting for the same greater cause is the social proof that what we do really makes a difference. 

How do you promote recognition in the workplace?

Some great employee recognition ideas include compliments and unrecorded time-off, approvals, employee recognition awards, nominations, gifts with the company branding or gadgets, trips, team meals, entertainment discounts, bonuses, etc. 

How does recognition motivate employees?

Employee recognition statistics show that employees feel a sense of accomplishment and take pride in working for a particular entity, which ultimately leads them to deal with responsibilities more efficiently and execute their duties on time. 

What is a good employee recognition program?

A good employee recognition program is one that will help engagement skyrocket through means of choosing employee of the year, customer service and sales awards, retirement and years of service gifts, as well as tenure recognition. 

What is the difference between reward and recognition?

Recognition refers to the informal praise and compliments for good work and can be given by coworkers or managers at the company whenever. Rewards and incentives are at the other end of the spectrum, being more related to goals and accomplishments. 

What are the types of recognition?

There is peer-to-peer recognition and recognition by supervisors. Further on, recognition can be formal or informal. An employee recognition letter would be a good example of formal recognition, while a simple thank you note on the employee’s desk or a compliment, would be an example of informal recognition. 

How often should you recognize employees?

Statistics on employee recognition confirm that regular recognition is much better than annual evaluation. Recognizing your employees’ hard work and efforts once every seven days will keep them well-motivated, meaning it’s a win-win both for them and your brand. 

How to measure employee recognition programs?

Employee recognition programs can be measured by conducting employee recognition surveys and by tracking that data and measuring key performance indicators through management software, as well as monitoring productivity, engagement, turnover, and employee satisfaction goals. Through gathering constant feedback, HR can draw conclusions if those recognition and retention programs need to change. 


Harvard Business Review, Bersin & Associates, Applauz, Gallup, Analyst Insight, Gallup, Incentive & Motivation, Canada Human Resources Centre, Biworldwide, Australian HR Institute, Australian HR Institute, Development Dimensions International Australia, Gallup, Gallup, Achievers, Human Resource Executive, Bonusly, Globalforce, LinkedIn