Why You Need an Effective Employee Recognition Program

Posted On: February 4, 2016

Think about the best job you ever had. What made it so great? Some reasons might be good pay, convenient location, great coworkers, and a sense of pride in a job well done. 

Chances are, you had a boss or peers recognize your hard work and thank you for your contributions to the team. You likely measured high in employee engagement, which means you were invested in your work.

Employees who feel recognized by their employers, and thus are highly engaged at work, are more likely to be loyal to that company over the long term. This is increasingly important because, unlike decades ago, workers are more mobile and open to changing jobs when they feel dissatisfied.

In fact, the average person changes jobs 10 to 15 times before retirement. Job-hoppers are looking for new jobs that not only pay well, but ones that make them feel good about what they do.

The High Cost of Employee Turnover

The rapid rate of job transition comes at a high cost. The price of employee turnover, which incorporates the financial investments of onboarding a new staff member, can be hard to calculate. A recent study estimated that a shocking 11 billion dollars is lost annually in the United States due to employee turnover.

All that time and money spent hiring and training an employee adds up. In some estimates from Talent Management and HR, each staff who turns in their two-week’s notice costs:

  • 30% to 50% of an entry-level employee’s annual salary. If your entry-level staff makes $35,000 a year, that is a loss of $10,500 to $17,500 per employee.
  • 150% or more of a mid-level employee’s annual salary. In your mid-level staff makes $75,000 a year, that is a loss of $187,500 per employee.
  • 400% of an upper-level or executive salary. If your executive is pulling in $120,000 a year, that is a loss of $480,000 per employee.

The potential losses for an average company can derail even the most carefully executed profit-growth strategy. Let’s assume that you employ 100 people and experience a modest 10% turnover this year. If seven entry-level, two mid-level, and one upper-level staff quit, you are looking at over half a million dollars in losses. If your company experiences a higher staff turnover—which, in some industries, can be higher than 20% to 30% annually—you are looking at potential millions in the red.

How to Really Retain Employees

The first thing to consider is why employees leave any workplace. Think back to that ideal job and what made it great. Most people are switching jobs to find better compensation or greater fulfillment in their work. You may not have much wiggle room over compensation rates, but you can make a difference in employee satisfaction. A happy, engaged employee is more likely to remain loyal to the company. Millennials, the up-and-coming generation in today’s workforce, are especially interested in finding work that gives them meaning and a sense of purpose.

A simple, yet effective, strategy to hold onto talent is to honor staff through a thoughtful, well-planned employee recognition program. Acknowledging superior work from your employees not only makes for happy and productive staff, it also means greater retention rates.

Hiring a company like Docherty Incentives & Meetings can make a huge difference in your employee engagement and, therefore, your bottom line. Docherty can enable your company to hold onto valuable talent by developing employee recognition programs that work for your industry, including:

  • Peer-to-peer recognition
  • Length of service anniversary recognition
  • On-the-spot recognition options

These kinds of employee recognition strategies help staff members feel appreciated for their contributions to the workplace.

Save Employees, Save Money

Investing in a quality recognition program can help employees stay satisfied in the workplace. A recent study from Bersin by Deloitte shows that companies who are actively improving employee engagement have a 31 percent lower voluntary turnover rate than companies who don’t. In the scenario mentioned earlier (where your company was due to lose over a half million dollars in staff turnover costs), a 31 percent lower rate would equal a $200,000 in savings.

Industry leaders today agree: you can’t afford not to hold onto talent by devoting resources to a high value employee recognition program. Any shrewd business leader will tell you that investing company dollars into employee loyalty will make financial sense in the long run. And, even more importantly, helping staff find satisfaction in their work is the right thing to do.