There’s a running joke in the sports world that when a player is holding out for a better contract, and they say “it’s not about the money,” that means it’s totally about the money. But when successful companies focus on recognizing and rewarding their top employees, it seems that experts agree it’s not about the money.
In a recent whitepaper from the Incentive Research Foundation, they conducted an intensive study of the 10 things that top performing companies do differently. They found that among the best of the best, things like smart budgeting, strong support, advanced analytics and innovative design are all important factors. But among the top performing companies – defined as those that have high revenues, good growth, excellent customer ratings and excellent employee ratings – the most important thing they do well is treat their own people right.
From the study, the top factor in company success is “They have a strong belief in non-cash rewards and recognition.”
“When asked about their attitudes toward non-cash rewards and recognition, respondents at top performing companies were—across 11 metrics—significantly more likely to strongly agree with the benefits of non-cash rewards,” the study summary noted. “Notably, top performing companies were over 20% more likely to assert that their non-cash reward programs were effective recruitment, retention, and engagement tools. Top performing companies were also over 30% more likely to believe that their non-cash reward and recognition programs effectively influence behavior.”
IRF did a deep dive into successful companies to compile the study, reviewing more than 900 entities and selecting just over 300 of them for inclusion. The standards were strict. To be included companies needed $100 million of more in revenue, a revenue growth or stock price grown of greater than 5 percent, a customer retention rate of better than 90 percent or customer satisfaction of greater than 90 percent (along with a new customer acquisition rate of 5 percent or better), and employee satisfaction ratings of 90 percent or better.
The study found that top companies do things dramatically differently for their employees in terms of non-cash rewards and recognition. It echoes the mantra of countless RPI members about the growing importance of creative and consistent employee recognition, especially in this job market where attracting and retaining top talent has rarely been more challenging and important.
For more information and to download the full report, visit the IRF website.