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The Gift of Employee Recognition
Authored By: Megan Mohr on 3/23/2015

Know anyone that’s thinking of changing jobs in the not too distant future? You’re not alone. A survey from CareerBuilder and Harris Interactive found that 21% of fulltime employees were looking to change jobs last year. That’s up 4% from the year before – and the highest percentage since 2008.

A major reason employees want to flee is lack of recognition in their workplace. Another study, this one from Bersin & Associates, discovered that employers who had staff recognition programs to promote employee engagement had lower turnover.

When you consider that the average job tenure for U.S. employees is 4.6 years and only 3.2 years for millennial employees, it may be time for your company to rethink its recognition program. And if your organization doesn’t have one, now’s the time to put one in place. Here are four things to consider when rewarding employees:

  1. Rewards Aren’t Always Monetary
    Even though actions speak louder than words, sometimes employees need both in the form of positive feedback. Whether it’s verbal or written, formal or informal, a few kind words can go a long way to making your employee feel valued. And an employee that feels valued will stick around longer and produce better results.
  2. Start Early
    Don’t wait for an employee’s five-year anniversary to shine a light on them. The sooner you recognize an employee, the sooner you set the standards for work quality and fulfill their need to be appreciated. Try a yearly anniversary recognition – this will keep them engaged with their job and your organization.
  3. Give it Meaning
    Who wants a hollow compliment? Definitely not your employees! Personalize your recognition program so it means something to each individual and makes them feel special. Instead of a more blanket form of recognition, perhaps let each department have input in how they’d like to be recognized.
  4. Get Everyone on Board
    From top to bottom, everyone needs to fully buy in to your company’s staff recognition programs. Make sure that your managers actually have the skills and feel comfortable enough in their roles to work with and recognize their employees. Some training may need to happen before your program can be successful and impactful.

However your organization approaches its recognition program, here are the two the main takeaways: 1) You need to have one in place, and 2) Some thought and care need to be taken before unveiling it to your staff. If done correctly, your staff recognition programs can be the gift that keeps on giving.

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