3 Ways That Recognition Reduces Employee Turnover

With job openings at a 15-year high, workers are in the driver's seat. It's an employee market.
08/10/2015 06:50 pm ET Updated Aug 10, 2016

Employee retention/turnover is the number one challenge facing HR leaders today, according to the new 2015 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey. The findings show that retention and turnover have surpassed employee engagement as the primary challenge, which moved to the number two slot after having been the top HR concern for the past three years. Part of the reason for this shift is the strengthening job market. With job openings at a 15-year high, workers are in the driver's seat. It's an employee market.

Our recent SHRM/Globoforce report uncovered a solution to the rising turnover problem. It comes in the form of employee recognition, which more and more companies are implementing as the cornerstone of their strategies to build a best place to work. In a new report, Gartner says that "recognizing a job well done is a proven method of increasing employee morale and engagement." More than ever, culture is a competitive differentiator, and a key part of attracting, engaging and ultimately retaining employees. This ideal culture puts people first and is predicated on strong relationships, a commitment to employee happiness, and a strong emphasis on employee development. What's more, this culture reminds employees of their worth as individuals through consistent recognition and appreciation from managers and peers. Due to the documented benefits, companies are investing more in recognition programs as a way to boost company metrics, like employee turnover. According to the survey, 68 percent of HR professionals with a values-based recognition program saw a positive impact on employee retention.

The survey findings reveal the top three ways that recognition--particularly when linked to a company's core values--can create a happier, more human work environment, and help organizations reduce turnover.

  1. 86 percent of HR professionals say a values-based recognition program makes their employees happier. A happy employee is the best kind of employee. Happy employees make happy customers and express higher levels of overall job satisfaction and alignment with company values. Investing in the happiness of your employees will pay dividends in engagement, productivity and, yes, retention.

  • 84 percent of HR professionals say a values-based recognition program improves workplace relationships. We stay at work for the people. The friendships and relationships that we develop at work enhance not only the time employees spend in the office, but also the time spent at home. According to Globoforce's Fall 2014 Workforce Mood Tracker Survey, employees are more likely to stay at a company when they have made strong connections with their colleagues. In fact, 42 percent of people who don't have friends at work said they would accept a new job if offered one, compared with only 21 percent of employees who have friends at work.
  • 90 percent of HR professionals say a values-based recognition program boosts employee engagement. Engaged employees are committed employees, and are proven to be more productive, more devoted to their organization's goals, and more likely to be with a company for the long haul. In fact, research from Globoforce's Spring 2014 Workforce Mood Tracker Survey shows that 73 percent of employees recognized over a 6-month period felt highly engaged at work, compared to only 58 percent who had not been recognized.
  • It is clear that companies that make a commitment to recognition, and implement recognition programs aligned with company values, experience better results in both culture and business metrics. What's more is the indisputable evidence that focusing on a great company culture is the key to reducing turnover, and maintaining top talent. The stronger the culture, the more magnetic the workforce. And less likely that your employees will answer when a recruiter calls or emails.