How To Conduct Estimation Analyses of Recognition Practices and Programs

Organizational leaders often want to know the impact recognition has on people centered metrics. To find out how their recognition practices or their recognition programs have on measures like employee engagement or employee retention can cost a great deal if running a full scientific and analytical evaluation. 

One way to ease the cost burden and still collect a powerful indicator is to conduct estimation analysis. Estimation analysis is a simple method to analyze data, employee perceptions, and interpret results. 

It is important to remember that in conducting estimation analyses, that you are using an imprecise science to calculate the level of impact, or perhaps the amount of improvement gained. 

Consider how you could use estimation analysis in your review of employee recognition practices and programs in your organization. 

Conducting Estimation Analysis 

A much simpler analysis method that you can manage on your own is to conduct estimation analysis. 

Impact Percentage Levels: The first part of the exercise is getting employees and/or manager input on their perceptions of the impact that recognition has on things. This is great to do as part of focus groups where you are getting suggestions and recommendations for improving recognition. 

You would ask each individual in the focus group to answer this question. On a scale of 0 to 100 percent, where 0 shows no impact at all and 100 percent indicating a significant impact, what level of impact do you feel recognition practices have on employee engagement? 

You would ask almost the identical question except replacing recognition practices with the term recognition programs. 

After giving their personal opinion as to the level of impact they feel recognition has on a targeted people metric, you then ask them to gauge their level of confidence in the percentage estimate they just gave. 

Confidence Percentage Levels: Alongside each of the percentages given, you now want to collect their confidence levels they have in the percentage they just gave. 

Going in the same order you solicited their impact percentage, you ask participants to comment on their level of confidence in what they gave you. They will use a scale of 0 to 100 percent, where 0 indicates the value is false and they are not confident at all in what they gave, all the way to 100 percent, showing they feel the value given is absolutely certain and they are very confident. You write their level of confidence percentage next to their given impact (or improvement) percentage. 

Now you multiply each set of paired percentages to get a more accurate and final level of impact. 

For example, an employee might say that recognition programs only have a 50 percent level of impact on employee engagement. Yet, when you ask again how confident they are about this number, they might say an 80 percent level of confidence because they have seen departments where engagement has improved. Multiply the 50 percent impact by the 80 percent confidence level and you generate 40 percent. 

For this one individual you would show the level of impact of recognition programs on employee engagement as 40 percent. 

Another employee thinks recognition programs probably affect employee engagement a lot and states their impact level as 75 percent. When asked how confident they are of this number, they admit they do not know of these things. They state their level of confidence as only 50 percent. 

This employee’s level of impact is calculated as 75 percent times their confidence level of 50 percent, and you get 38 percent. 

Using the confidence level percentages takes the estimation process out of the realm of guessing and becomes much more realistic. 

Add up and average out these final percentage calculations to get a very good estimation of the level of impact or improvement from recognition. I also suggest giving the lowest and highest percentages as well so people can see the range of percentages given along with the average percentage level. 

Case Study Using Estimation Analysis 

I conducted a recognition assessment for a Canadian aviation industry organization. 

I used estimation analysis during the regular focus group sessions. The goal was to find out the perception of participating employees and managers on what they thought was the impact that recognition practices and their recognition programs had on employee engagement. 

Below are the final average percentage levels. I multiplied each employee’s impact percentage by their confidence level and then averaged out all the final scores for each focus group.

 Average Recognition Program Impact Percentage On Employee EngagementAverage Recognition Practices Impact Percentage On Employee Engagement
Focus Group #117%48%
Focus Group #217%68%
Focus Group #313%51%
Focus Group #420%58%
Average16.8%56%

What’s interesting from this exercise is seeing how recognition practices, in the current state of employee recognition, were perceived as three times more impactful than their programs in moving the dial on employee engagement scores. 

This is an easy method to gain further insights from your recognition programs and practices used by leaders and employees.

Recognition Reflection: How do you go deeper in analyzing the performance of your recognition programs?

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