Many companies give up their tactical incentives initiatives and turn to global strategic recognition when they realise the level of risk associated with ad-hoc, untracked and ungovernable motivation efforts they had in place.

As Jennifer Reimert, Symantec’s Senior Director of Global Compensation, answered to a viewer question on risk in a recent webinar:

"We didn’t always know where programs were happening. We had a lot of people handing out actual merchandise. For example, they would go out and buy an iPod and present it to an employee. Well, that becomes a taxable event for the recipient. We needed to get the entire company to be aware of those risks. That kind of behaviour was running rampant in the organisation. We needed to get a better control over that.”

The Edmonton (Canada) Journal recently reported: “City staff expense claims jumped 41 per cent in 2006-08, and auditor David Wiun says many of those purchases were inappropriate, cost too much or didn't have proper receipts. Spending in 10 common areas, such as travel, training, food, employee recognition and car allowances, rose to an estimated $13.5 million last year from $9.7 million in 2006.”

For precisely this reason, employee recognition does not belong in expense reports. It is eminently not trackable, not reportable in any meaningful way, and therefore not measurable across the entire organisation.

Strategic recognition pulls all those ad-hoc initiatives into one single, tracked and governed program that complies with international tax and payroll compensation laws – without adding additional administrative burden to your staff.

How well governed are your recognition efforts? Have you eliminated the risk from your appreciation efforts?

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