The power of recognition in retaining employees

By: Judy Kneiszel

Publication: Employee Relations Management Today

Date Posted: 05/03/2022

In a survey conducted by the employee recognition platform Bonusly, 82 percent of respondents said they consider being recognized for their accomplishments an important part of their happiness at work. What’s more, 63 percent of respondents who said they felt recognized at work reported being less likely to look for a new job in the next three to six months.

Here are a few ideas on how to recognize and show appreciation for your employees:

  • Celebrate work anniversaries and birthdays.
  • Award prizes for meeting sales goals or completing large projects.
  • Offer occasional employer-provided lunches, or gift cards for restaurants if your employees are remote.
  • Track and share team wins.
  • Say “thank you” often, either verbally or by sending thank-you notes.

Recognition tips

Here are some guidelines and suggestions to help make personal recognition of employees as effective as possible. Make sure the recognition is:

  • Specific— Recognize a specific behavior, event, or accomplishment. Describing it in detail will carry more meaning in the worker’s mind than simply saying “Hey, nice job!”
  • Sincere— Employees will quickly see through any lip service recognition. To be effective, recognition should be genuine and heartfelt.
  • Timely— Saying “thanks” for actions taken three weeks ago will have little impact on an employee today, and may actually do more harm than good.
  • Fair and consistent— In a typical company, not all relationships are cordial. Because of this, it is extremely important not to let personal feelings or bad chemistry play a part in personal recognition.
  • Unconditional— True praise should ask for no work or response from the individual receiving it. If praise solicits, or even leaves room for, a response from the recipient, it may not be praise at all. A statement such as, “Pat, your performance is outstanding. Your numbers are by far our best. How are you doing it?” may not be true praise.

About the author
Judy Kneiszel - Human Resources Editor

Judy is an Associate Editor on the Human Resources Publishing Team and she specializes in issues such as recruiting and hiring, onboarding and training, employee communication and discipline, managing problems, team building, inclusion, employee retention, and labor relations

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