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Struggling with turnover? Don’t overlook the importance of an employee recognition plan

Posted by Kanika Sinha

July 6, 2021    |     3-minute read (626 words)

With employees quitting their jobs at a record pace, businesses across industries are looking for ways to defend themselves against rampant turnover. More than ever employers are looking to devise strategies to retain staff and keep their best-performing teams intact. This is where an employee recognition plan can help. 

As recognized employees tend to be more satisfied, they work harder and are more productive. Acknowledging employees and their efforts makes them feel valued and become the best version of themselves at work, and this in turn leads to reduced incidence of burnout, absenteeism and most importantly, attrition.

In fact, research by Deloitte suggests that companies that prioritize recognition have a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate than organizations with poor recognition cultures. Additionally, high-recognition companies have an advantage in the talent wars.

The employee recognition plan

This isn’t a novel idea; employee recognition has always been an important part of building a successful organization. A genuine employee appreciation program fuels the idea that every employee plays a role in building the company’s culture and prosperity. And that's certainly a powerful thing to recognize!

It starts with the company expressing appreciation for its workforce for going above and beyond and celebrating their successes. There are a number of different ways, whether structured or spontaneous and informal, in which a company can recognize its employees' achievements within the workplace. They may comprise:
  • Weekly or monthly thank-you activities.
  • Praise for daily activities through virtual high-fives.
  • “Wow” moments acknowledged on the spot or on bulletin boards.
  • Peer-to-peer recognition on chat.
  • Sharing employee success stories internally through newsletters or the brand’s social media channel.
  • Featuring the accomplishments of the employee in the yearbook or annual report.
  • Recognition at leadership or department meetings with peers.
  • CEO shoutouts.
  • Personalized program wherein the team members choose their reward.
Employees want to be seen, have their efforts valued, opinions heard and aspirations honored. And this is what the recognition plan does. When employers encourage and appreciate the people who make up their organization, they perform better and stick around.

Productivity, loyalty, retention

As the saying goes, what gets recognized gets repeated; what gets celebrated becomes a habit. Knowing that they’re appreciated, employees work harder and put in extra efforts to gain recognition, and they are more likely to engage with the rest of the team. This translates to higher productivity that benefits the business. 

Employee recognition also drives engagement, which ushers in loyalty and fosters an emotional bond with the organization — that is, more honesty in selling the brand and its products. 

Finally, appreciation lead to increased job satisfaction. Employees are less likely to look for alternative employment and stay longer.

Standout examples of employee recognition 

German utility company E.ON introduced an employee recognition program called Buzz that encouraged appreciation through digital and physical thank-you notes. The initiative cut across the organization, with recipients getting messages from managers and peers. The staff’s motivation score increased from 61% to 69% as a result of Buzz.

Apple gave its entire workforce an extended holiday in 2013. Instead of just a single day off for Thanksgiving, the company offered three paid days off in a row. A customized reward based on the employee’s location and job role was also given. 

GE Healthcare replaced its regular employee-manager check-ins with creative meetings. The Friday sessions were held in a comfortable environment at the company’s restaurant. Employees’ achievements were highlighted on-a wall-mounted dashboard.

Ecommerce company Zappos came up with peer-to-peer bonuses and HERO awards to recognize its employees and acknowledge their contributions.

Communication Service for the Deaf implemented a companywide employee recognition program that entailed sending recognition to team members on a public social feed. Custom rewards and exclusive corporate discounts were also awarded.

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