Depositphotos_16042231_originalTraining employees takes time and costs companies thousands (or more) a year. That’s why most employers would agree increased retention and lower turnover is a key hiring initiative.

It’s no surprise then, that 84 percent of employers have a recognition program based on length of employee service, according to a 2013 survey by the Human Resources Association WorldatWork. But, have you ever heard an employee say, “I’m going to stick with this job, even though I’m unsatisfied, so that I can get my 10-year lapel pin?”

The average corporation budgets 1 percent of its payroll for employee recognition programs. With a limited budget, it’s important for companies to set relevant recognition goals and awards that resonate with employees.

What does that look like? 

WorldAtWork’s survey found that after “recognize years of service,” the top four recognition goals are to create a positive work environment; to motivate high performance; to create a culture of recognition; and to increase morale.  

There’s no one-size fits all for employee recognition, but programs build around your recognition and organizational goals will be more effective than out-of-date programs that recognize, but fail to motivate employees.

To start, ask yourself (or your management team) to review why any current recognition programs are in place. Do you continue arbitrarily naming employees “Employee of the Month” and placing their names on a plaque in the hallway because it’s “what you’ve always done?” If so, what goal does this help you reach?

From there, ask your employees: What motivates you? Ultimately, your recognition program should be built to motivate your employees to reach whatever goals you’ve set.

For example, if your goal is to create a recognition culture, consider developing a peer-to-peer recognition program. Rather than waiting for managers to reward employees, employees will have a way to recognize and reward their teammates for hard work.

Once you know what your current employees actually want from a recognition program, the possibilities are endless and the result is a far greater impact than continuing down the same old path.

Questions about talent and retention? Let us know.

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