I was appalled to see the structure of research that was recently released concluding that CFOs believe bonuses were the most effective way to acknowledge a job well done.

The research was poorly constructed with pre-directed selections (bonus, time off, department lunch, tickets to events) that were very specific but no broad option such as “recognition programme”. From such a narrow selection of unrewarding rewards, no wonder CFOs primarily chose “Bonus” as most rewarding.

As another comment on the research pointed out, “bonus” itself is ill defined as some would consider non-cash (tangible) rewards to be bonuses as well.

Interestingly, the same organisation released a survey a year ago that found:

"68% of CFOs said they are implementing strategies to boost the moods of their teams. The survey found that the most common way businesses are attempting to raise workplace morale is through increased and improved communication (37%); while 15% are enhanced employee recognition programmes.”

Clearly this was a much more properly structured study. Our own research found that nearly all respondents (CFOs and HR managers) agreed that HR and Finance need to be on the same page, only 58 per cent of respondents say this is the case in their organisation. Even though best practice suggests that Finance is the business unit that should require ROI, few survey respondents (36 per cent) indicated that Finance was taking a leading role in HR processes, programmes and technologies.

My caution to you: be careful how you read research.