Everyone wants to be appreciated for the work they do. For employees who work 40 or more hours a week, having their employer give them an incentive for their hard labor can go a long way, even a simple gift card to Starbucks.

Entertainment Benefits Group recently released its 2016 Employee Recognition Survey on the impact rewards and recognition programs have on employees and workplace culture. The study was conducted with 2,120 HR professionals who utilize EBG’s corporate travel and entertainment benefits program and respondents represented 38 industries ranging from small businesses to large corporations.

At least 94% of HR professionals believe that employee recognition programs help to engage, motivate, recruit and retain employees; however that number peaked to 97% among companies that do have a program.

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When it came to who offered these programs, 61% of respondents currently provide an employee recognition program. Of the 39% of respondents who do not currently provide a recognition program, more than half would consider implementing such a program within the next year.

HR reports that employees enrolled in a recognition program are 40% more engaged as compared to those who are not, and regardless of whether or not their organization has a recognition program, two thirds of employers place high priority on rewarding employees — rating it an 8, 9 or 10 out of 10.

Brett Reizen, president and CEO of EBG, says that corporate spending in the rewards market continues to rise because employee happiness remains a top business priority for great organizations.

“Since 2001, our travel and entertainment employee benefits platforms have helped 40,000 corporations create positive, productive workplaces,” Reizen says. “Adding a rewards component to our current offering was a natural extension of our business.”

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Financial commitments to recognitions programs do not appear to be dwindling either. Companies are investing financially in employee recognition programs with two thirds of companies with recognitions programs devoting more than $50 per employee annually to awards, with 39% devoting more than $100.

Employers who reside in the small-size bracket revealed that they tend to place more emphasis on life celebrations and holiday gifting, whereas medium to large-sized companies focus more on wellness initiatives and peer-to-peer recognition.

Through employee recognition, the survey uncovered five goals of recognizing and rewarding employees:

1) Make employees feel valued

2) Create a positive work environment

3) Recognize years of service

4) Increase employee happiness

5) Support the organization’s mission and values

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