Do Recognition and Rewards Really Help Boost Retention?

August 29, 2011
Dear Missing the Link:
Your question might be better rephrased this way: "How can recognition and rewards help our firm boost retention?" Rewards by themselves offer a narrow band of benefits that are typically financial in nature: merit increases, bonuses or promotions, In today's economy, those types of rewards often are less available—and less effective—for motivating employees.
Studies are available that quantify the effect that a good manager can exert on retention. The Gallup Organization interviewed more than 2 million employees and found that the quality of relationships with immediate managers is the No. 1 predictor of whether an employee stays or leaves. Staffing firm Robert Half International says the No. 1 reason employees leave their jobs is "limited recognition for the job they do"—even more influential than money.
Treating employees well is common sense, but it needs to be common practice.

Far more important for today's employees is this: intangible recognition for a job well done. This recognition usually requires little or no financial commitment for an organization, yet produces a high return. Included are things such as:
• Helping employees learn and grow in their jobs.
• Soliciting employees' opinions and ideas for improving things (and enabling them to pursue those ideas to fruition).
• Involving them in decisions (especially those that affect them and their jobs).
• Providing them communication and autonomy because you trust and respect them.
• Helping them learn from their mistakes.
• Systematically providing simple, sincere thanks for a job well done.

Managers who systematically do such things with their employees almost always are viewed favorably. They reap the benefit of being a magnet for talent—and the type of manager an employee may be reluctant to leave.

There is one saying: "If you have a good boss, you have a good job." And another: "People are attracted to companies, but leave managers." Both of these nosegays acknowledge the importance of managers in forging relationships that make employees appreciate their jobs and workplace. As a result, employees strive to do the best job possible day after day. How employees get treated by their managers is thus a "make or break" issue with respect to retention: They either desire to remain in their jobs over time—or can't wait to leave the first chance they get.

SOURCE: Bob Nelson, president, Nelson Motivation Inc., San Diego
LEARN MORE: For another perspective, please read "On Recognition, Multinationals Think Globally."
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The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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