The Value of Recognition

The other day I was sitting in the airport, waiting to board my flight. Sitting a few seats away were two business people discussing what I assumed to be their proactive measures at a meeting they were flying to. I’ll be honest, I heard “turnover” and started to pay close attention as I pretended to read my newspaper. “It’s these kids today, there is no loyalty anymore” said the gentleman. “Well we pay equal to the market, sometimes a little more, we are an employer of choice,” the younger man feebly replied. I promised myself not to join in the conversation, although the employees would probably beg me to. In hindsight, I should have, but they boarded before me, in First Class, while I huddled with my new friends in the back of the plane. Sitting on the aisle, with nothing much to look at, I did a quick search of the value of recognition. I came across a Forbes article from June 2012. The data here is from the Forbes article, but it is impressive, even if it six years old. What struck me is the fact that most incentive money is spent on tenure. I shook my head in frustration at something that seems so obvious, maybe, as the saying goes; common sense isn’t all that common.

Continuing the old Forbes, article it stated that the companies that had established a culture of recognition enjoyed a 31% reduction in turnover. Just imagine if you could reduce employee turnover by a third. Think about all the intangibles that matter: experience, morale, relationships with customers. Every time an employee quits, everyone in their “circle” heard months of complaining and negative press. Everyone heard about the job search, heard who is hiring, and then, when that employee found a job, everyone celebrated their new success. Customers and clients experience the turnover blues and the remaining staff is all wondering if the grass is greener.

If you want to reduce employee turnover, you need to ensure that you reward behaviors, not tenure. Implement peer to peer recognition, share recognition success stories, make recognition frequent, and tie the recognition to company values or goals. I reviewed some of our clients and made a note to review our clients’ corporate goals to their customized recognition programs. Thinking of my two hapless friends in First Class, I realized that the extra they spent on the seats would probably fund most of the recognition program and could save hundreds of thousands of dollars that would make their meeting something to look forward to.

Feel free to visit Award Concepts anytime and see how we help businesses like yours implement employee retention strategies.

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