Companies have all different kinds of ways to recognizehardworking employees, according to a newsurvey by WorldatWork, an organization of human resourceprofessionals.

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Related: Employers beefing up recognitionprograms

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A survey of more than 5,000 of the group’s members finds nearly90 percent of employers offer some type of formal recognitionprogram, about the same percentage as reported during last year’sstudy.

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Companies which lack a recognition program give differentreasons for why they haven’t created one. The most common reasonsare “lack of support from senior management” and cost.

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Among those that do have such programs, most managers believerecognizing an employee with some type of reward is a valuableinvestment in the workforce that boosts morale among employees.

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Eighty-five percent of employers offer formal recognition foremployees who have served for a particular amount of time, while 77percent have programs set up to reward high-quality work. Aroundhalf of companies say they also use such programs to encouragespecific behavior.

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Related: Nothing's worse than a failed recognitionprogram

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Most organizations formally recognize employees for a number ofdifferent reasons. Just under two-thirds report having betweenthree and six programs, some of which may be for different types ofworkers or which may reward different accomplishments, such aslengthy tenure or above-average work.

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The great majority (72 percent) of organizations also have abudget set aside for employee recognition program, whether that’scompany-wide or allocated to a specific department.

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Just over half of employers have specific, written guidelines todetermine who is deserving of recognition. Others may do so on amore ad hoc basis. And yet, a larger percentage -- 87 percent -- ofHR professionals say they have received formal training on how todole out rewards.

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In a similar review of employee recognition programs last year,the Society for Human Resource Management noted formal recognitiontypically ranges from as little as a verbal “thank you” or amention in the company newsletter to one-time cash awards oradditional vacation days.

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Related: Employee retention depends on employeeexperience

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There are, however, pitfalls to employee recognition efforts,SHRM warned:

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“A recognition system will falter if employees feel that theirwork is trivialized or even insulted by inconsequential incentivesor insincere gestures of appreciation. Awards should be consistentwith the employee's achievement and meaningful to the personreceiving it. An employee who completes a two-year project shouldbe rewarded in a more substantial manner than an employee who doesa quick favor for a manager.”

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SHRM also emphasized the importance of adding a personal touchto the recognition, as opposed to a standard form letter from thecompany president.

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