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Motivate high performance by promising rewards

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Employee recognition programs aren’t quite as popular as they once were, but the 86% of businesses that use them find that rewards and in­­centives can still spur sales, improve retention and employee loyalty, and raise productivity during an era of slim pay raises and uncertain bonuses.

In fact, the Incentive Research Foun­­dation (IRF) reports that incentives of all stripes can attract and retain good employees, boost team performance by as much as 44% and increase individual productivity by an average of 22%.

A 3% dip in the number of companies using the programs since 2008—as re­­ported in a 2011 WorldatWork survey—doesn’t suggest a permanent decline, says Alison Avalos, research manager for the trade group. Instead, she notes, “The data suggests that, even with a recession, recognition programs remain an important component of employee rewards.”

The top recognition programs, the WorldatWork survey found, were:

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