by Lisa Grimaldi | April 01, 2006

Mark Peterman

Mark Peterman

Many U.S. firms miss the mark when recognizing their employees, according to a survey conducted by Maritz Research, a division of Fenton, Mo.-based meeting and incentive firm Maritz Inc.
    The online poll of 1,002 full-time employees was conducted in October 2005.
    Among the findings:
    " Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of employees polled who said they wanted to be recognized with noncash incentives said their firms did not reward them with trips, merchandise or gift cards.
    " Only 27 percent of those polled who prefer to be recognized by a symbolic reward were recognized with a trophy or plaque.
    " Less than one-third (29 percent) of respondents who prefer cash bonuses received monetary recognition.
    " Less than a third (30 percent) who favored a recognition event as a reward said they were shown appreciation in that manner.
    " Overall, more than half (64 percent) think their company needs to offer a greater choice of rewards for recognition than they currently do.
    Mark Peterman, vice president, client solutions, at Maritz Incentives, a division of Maritz Inc., says companies miss the mark on recognition and rewards because managers wrongly assume everyone’s tastes, lifestyles or needs are similar to theirs; they don’t address the diversity of their work force and assume any recognition will do. 
    How can the problem be fixed? “Companies must train and encourage managers to discuss recognition preferences with every employee, maybe as part of the normal employee review process, and then provide tools that allow them to recognize people the way they want to be recognized,” said Peterman.