How Employee Recognition Encourages Retention

How Employee Recognition Encourages Retention

As the Great Resignation wages on, employers around the globe are anxiously looking for ways to close the door on the exodus of top talent.


Some are getting creative with out-of-the box benefits while others are boosting pay to entice workers to stay. While such perks may hold off the tide for a bit, for true, long-term retention, employers may need to look deeper at one factor that’s at the core of retention: culture.

In particular, a culture in which all employees feel valued and included is one that can lead to lower turnover—when workers believe their employer is invested in them and appreciates their contributions, loyalty and satisfaction naturally follow. To foster that culture, employers should invest in a strong employee recognition program—to benefit employees’ growth and simultaneously that of the company. According to Bersin & Associates, highly effective recognition programs yield significantly higher levels of employee engagement and are responsible for a more than 30% reduction in voluntary turnover.

And, employees are craving recognition. In a survey by Psychometrics, nearly 60% of employees said more recognition would boost their engagement at work. And in another study by Socialcast, almost 70% of workers said they would be motivated to work harder if they felt more appreciated. In these times of high turnover and significant employee mobility, it’s crucial that employers are doing all they can to meet the needs of their workers—and, for many, that means building a culture where, around every turn, employees feel their work is valued in a genuine and meaningful way.

Here are a few tips for embedding those ideas into your culture:

Create a smart recognition strategy:

Enhancing employee recognition can’t just be a one-off effort; it has to be supported by a robust strategy. Lay out both formal and informal methods of recognition—Including what will earn recognition, when and how it will be delivered and other specifics—and continuously revisit the plan for improvements.


Listen to your people:

Since recognition is all about employees, creating a recognition strategy should involve the voices of employees. Through surveys, focus groups and other communication methods, get the pulse of your workforce to see what they think about recognition—how they want their efforts applauded, what type of rewards may incentivize them—and use that feedback to build your program.


Invest in today’s tech:

Despite the potential that recognition programs offer to organizations, research by Globoforce found that just 14% of employers give their managers the tools they need to make their employees feel valued. HR and business leaders should secure buy-in for such programs from the top levels of the organization, including through resource allocation for technology. The employee recognition tech market is booming, with scores of vendors offering solutions to help you roll out a recognition plan tailored to your particular employees and the needs of your organization.


While retention is a struggle for all organizations in today’s labor market, those on the leading edge are embracing the power that an employee-focused culture can have on fueling a loyal, invested and engaged workforce.