How To Recognize Employees and Retain Top Talent

Entrepreneur reported that more than 50% of employers polled said they didn’t have any formal employee retention strategies. The fact that there is no program to show companies how to value their employees is discouraging.

Retaining employees is a major challenge for any organization, small or large. Posting for a job, interviewing, hiring, onboarding, and training new employees are costly endeavors. To repeat this more than necessary also costs in terms of time and employee morale. No one likes to work in an office where the turnover is high.

Employee retention is often misunderstood. Employers think higher pay and better benefits might do the trick, but a deeper understanding of human motivation is required.

People are motivated by money only up to a certain point. After that, more intangible things like feeling valued, appreciated, and recognized take over.

Fortunately for employers, sincere recognition doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, yet it can do wonders for employee retention. Recognition doesn’t always mean recognizing for a job well done. It could also mean being in tune with what employees need and what they’re good at.

The best retention strategies are generally intangible benefits that improve your employees’ lives. Here are some ideas for retaining your best employees.


1. Healthy Work / Life Balance

Work/life balance has become a buzz term, but it’s necessary to recognize the need for one. Effective scheduling is a good start, but also letting employees know their balance is out of whack is helpful. Even self-professed workaholics need a break once in awhile to perform better.

2. Give Specific Metrics 

SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Actionable, Realistic, and Time-bound – are generally touted as the best way to achieve goals. Employee performance is no exception. When employees know what specific metrics they need to achieve, they feel more fulfilled when they meet their goals.

Lack of fulfillment is one of the top reasons good employees choose to leave a company. They need to feel a connection to the big picture. When goals are specified and tied to the company’s vision and mission, employees develop a sense of belonging.

3. Celebrate Milestones

Whether it’s birthdays, work anniversaries, or successful deals, celebrating milestones connect employees to your company. People like to know their presence is recognized and appreciated.

If your company has a lot of employees, individual birthdays might be hard to celebrate. Having a birthday “month” luncheon can solve this problem.

Anniversaries can be mentioned in a weekly or monthly meeting, with custom pins or awards delivered to the individuals on their actual anniversaries. In a culture where people are job-hopping more than ever, anniversaries of long-term employees are something to be celebrated.

4. Give Recognition

When employees go above and beyond expectations, they deserve recognition. Recognition should be both private and public. Private recognition, preferably with a handwritten note, seems more personal. Public recognition encourages other employees to follow suit and raise their performance level. It also lets them know their contribution is not ignored.


Low Cost Recognition Options


Understand the importance of employee recognition but think you can’t afford it? Think again. Employee recognition doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many affordable ways to show your appreciation for a job well done. Here are five gifts your whole team will be sure to appreciate:

1. Flowers 

You might not think to give fresh flowers to your employees, but they will surely be touched by this thoughtful gesture. Forbes magazine noted this is an especially great gift during the winter, when everyone can use a colorful burst of nature to liven up their home or workspace. Give your employees small arrangements for their desks, or send a larger bouquet directly to their homes.

2. Books

This gift is not only a great way to recognize your team’s efforts, but it’s also an excellent present to show them you care about their interests. Inc. magazine recommended choosing a different book for each of your workers based on their hobbies and talents outside the office. It is bound to make them feel appreciated.

3. Prepared Foods

Is there a better gift than not having to cook for yourself? When your workers wow you, relieve some of their stress by sending them gourmet premade meals right to their door. Does your group have a sweet tooth? Candy is always appreciated as well. Purchase a large amount to keep at work, or send out individual gifts personalized by taste.

4. Paid Time Off

This precious commodity will always be appreciated by your staff, but it is especially nice near a holiday, after successfully completing a stressful project or closing a major deal. Give the gift of relaxation by offering your workers an extra day of paid time off, suggested Inc. If your whole company achieved success, consider cancelling work altogether one day or hosting a fun luncheon in place of usual responsibilities.

5. Custom Awards

Looking to really make an impact among your team? Create custom awards to show them you care. These can range from custom trophies to crystal paperweights – whatever you feel would look best on their desks or walls. Personalize them with engraved messages that let them know exactly how much their efforts mean to you. Every time your employees glance at their trophies and awards they will definitely feel appreciated.

“Your most valuable asset are your employees, and they should be treated as such” explains Seth Fine, CEO of Based in Hollywood, FL. designs and manufactures gifts and awards for Fortune 500 companies, sports franchises and charities around the world.

According to Tech Republic, one of the biggest reason people leave a company is because they do not feel appreciated. Additionally, workers are more likely to quit if they feel their opinions are not being listened to, they are not being challenged or if their work environment is highly stressful.

Employee retention is something that employers can no longer ignore. Replacing one employee can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars a year. Knowing what makes each employee tick and customizing retention strategies for each employee will go a long way towards making sure the best ones stay and contribute to the success of your business.

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