Posted by Jeff Gelinas on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 @ 11:04 AM

When the number of available jobs exceed job seekers, employees who aren’t happy look for employment elsewhere.

The U.S. labor market is now the strongest it has been in decades, with the ratio of unemployed Americans to open jobs now at 1.4 to 1. In July 2009, this ratio was a whopping 6.6 to 1.

A shrinking pool of qualified candidates in 2017 will drive greater reliance on recruiting from already employed candidates. As a result, HR leaders are reexamining their retention strategies.

Engage2Excel recently completed groundbreaking research on the impact of engagement on talent acquisition. Over the next few months, we’ll be releasing a series of reports and insights based on this study.

Our first release, 8 Reasons Why Employees Seek Employment Elsewhere, is an infographic that highlights the need for making engagement and recognition a key part of your recruitment and retention strategies.  Download the infographic now.

Rethinking Retention? Recognition Matters Most. 

The most important reason why employees are willing to leave their current employers isn’t better compensation or even more interesting work. Nearly one quarter (24%) of survey respondents indicated that “lack of recognition, appreciation or respect” was the most important reason that would cause them to leave their current employer.

In contrast, 18% of respondents indicated that “inadequate or unfair pay, benefits or total compensation” was the most important reason to leave their employer.  “Work itself that is not interesting, challenging or fulfilling” came in a close third, with 15% citing this as the number one reason for seeking employment elsewhere.

Is It Time To Rethink Your Employee Recognition Program? 

It is difficult to think of an HR investment with greater bang for the buck than employee recognition. Compared with other reasons cited in the survey, recognition programs are by far the least expensive and easiest to implement enterprise-wide. However, like any business investment, realizing a return on employee recognition requires careful analysis, planning and execution. There is no such thing as a quick fix.

If you are thinking about retooling or expanding your employee recognition program to improve engagement and retention, here are four things to keep in mind:

  • Align: To be effective, employee recognition programs must be carefully aligned with your organization’s culture and business objectives.
  • Design: One-size-fits-all recognition programs don't work. The most successful programs combine performance recognition, service awards and social (or peer-to-peer) recognition.
  • Enable: Managers need help in understanding the role that recognition plays in influencing employee engagement, productivity and job satisfaction.  Managers also play a big role in making the recognition experience memorable.
  • Measure: While nearly 75 percent of companies spend money on employee recognition, very few are able to document their return on investment.  A key element of success is the assessment of business impact to ensure an ROI.

Forward-thinking HR leaders will be making smart investment in employee engagement and recognition to get out in front of changing demographics and a tight job market. For more insights on doing recognition right, download Aligning Recognition with Enterprise Strategy.

 Download the Infographic

Topics: employee recognition, employee surveys, retention