Appreciate Them - If You Want to Keep Them It's no secret that in the current economy, talented employees are hard to hold onto. Especially if you don't make them feel appreciated, says a recent survey of 473 human resource professionals conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management in Alexandria, Va. Forty-one percent of respondents said voluntary resignations in their companies had increased during the past three years, and feeling under-appreciated was cited by 90 percent as a reason employees resigned.
"Employees are looking for a total package when they decide to take a job or to leave one," says Thomas B. Wilson, president of the Wilson Group Inc. (www.wilsongroup.com), a Maynard, Mass. - based consulting firm, and author of Rewards That Drive High Performance: Success Stories from Leading Organizations (AMACOM, 1999). He considers employee incentive and recognition programs to be essential parts of that package, citing Southwest Airline's Heroes of the Heart recognition program as one example.
But big-name companies aren't the only ones ramping up staff recognition programs. "Within the last year or so, we've noticed all kinds of corporations becoming more strategic about recognition," reports Kimberly Smithson, president of the National Association for Employee Recognition (www.recognition.org), Naperville, Ill. "They're working to deploy meaningful programs throughout the organization, not just for salespeople."
Wilson, who has seen the same trend, suggests "a mix of programs that celebrate specific milestones, with meetings that get people together to talk about what they and their teammates are doing and build a common vision. People are much less likely to leave if they feel that they are a part of something important."