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#SAPRadio What You Missed on Recognition Drives Retention


It’s been studied. Raises alone can no longer bring out the best in every employee, let alone get them to stay for 10, 20 and even 30 years at the same company, like your grandfather probably did. With more than 70% of workers actively on the hunt for another job, your battle to find and retain the “best” talent may already be an uphill battle for you and your competitors. Is there a ‘magic’ formula?

Take heart. There is hope for part of this quest.

Once you find the talent you need, the retention equation does not have to be the Holy Grail. An obvious yet overlooked factor is that your employees are still people who have “feelings”. While assembly line managers in the industrial revolution would have scoffed at this notion, most employees today want more than to be paid well – they want to be seen and heard, recognized and respected for their contribution to your company’s success.

The solution, according to our May 6 panel of experts, is a recognition plan that isn’t transactional in the traditional sense.

Cindy Ventrice, author, Make Their Day!; Brenda Pohlman, Senior Recognition Strategist/Consultant, Globoforce; and Sherri Goldberg, Global Recognition Lead, SAP, describe a rewards system that recognizes – and satisfies – employees who deliver a great performance along with behavior aligned with company values. Whether in the form of gifts, flexible work schedules, prizes, badges or a blush-inducing company-wide “Bob is a rock star!” announcement, taking the time to show your team that you sincerely care has been found to be directly related to their likeliness to stay at your organization. 

Sound time-consuming and expensive? Try losing a good employee and not knowing why – and you’ll know learn what really matters.

For more insights on this growing work culture movement to get employees to stay, click here.

Top memorable insights from this episode:

  1. Engagement is a huge topic. That emotional connection. Recognition can really help make that connection. [Management] must see it as a business initiative. Research shows 27% higher profits with recognition/engagement. Lots of companies with millennials focus on flexibility, healthy living, corporate social responsibility. Game rooms, lounges, and challenges. Depending on the type of job, but why not the 4-day work week? Paid sabbatical. Encouragement to explore their interests. These small conveniences help engagement and help employees feel more motivated. –Sherri Goldberg @SherriGoldberg2
  2. Tangible rewards attached to recognition need to be shaped differently than incentive programs, [away] from “Do this, I’ll give you that” to “NOW that you have done this, I’ll give you that”. Set up the expectation as being part of the organization’s culture – recognition and appreciation mechanisms. Shouldn’t feel like a bonus where people are just expecting to get paid out and gaming the system to get ahead. –Brenda Pohlman @Globoforce
  3. We’re spending a lot of money on recognition, but not getting what we want. We need to ask what do employees find meaningful? 70% say there’s no dollar value associated whatsoever. When people are paid, it’s a transaction. People [then] say, “Did I get paid enough?” For most people, we get our salary and bonuses. But recognition is that feeling connection. There’s not much of that in organizations today. –Cindy Ventrice @maketheirday
  4. In building culture, we must provide feedback on how [all] contributions impacted the organization, not only when people win or lose. –Brenda Pohlman @Globoforce
  5. What about those people who get the job done, but aren’t “heroes”? Aren’t they important, too? How can we reward them? – Producer / moderator Bonnie D. Graham @BizBreakRadio
  6. [Those who aren’t “heros”] are extremely important people and recognizing even for littlethings will encourage them to perform higher and go that extra mile. –Sherri Goldberg @SherriGoldberg2
  7. The war for Talent never went away. There’s a mass exodus of knowledge leaving the workplace. And companies are preparing now. –Brenda Pohlman @Globoforce
  8. [Recognition] should be attached to big lofty business goals. But [employees] don’t understand what’s involved. We need to focus [recognition] on a cultural value/objective. –Cindy Ventrice @maketheirday
  9. So important to recognize the little things – not just the big milestones and projects. They’re equally important. Immediate feedback is critical after the event occurs. It’s that surprise element. Tying it to a tangible gift is important. Recognition tied to multiple moments, not just one moment. Getting a gift should extend beyond initial notification. –Sherri Goldberg @SherriGoldberg2
  10. “Feelings” at work? On the surface, these concepts are soft, but in HR, there is a business imperative to this. The emphasis is recognition’s role in driving the business impact. –Brenda Pohlman @Globoforce

Top #CrystalBall Predictions for 2020:

  1. We are going to see rewards and recognition more at work. It will be more evident that they are indeed yielding benefits. There will be a notion that more recognition impacts “sticking around”. But we must use it to inform other talent management principles. High potentials get overlooked when they don’t get recognized in a program. Overtime, it will be a two-way street. –Brenda Pohlman @Globoforce
  2. We need to put our attention on teaching managers how to be most effective with recognition and understand what matters. Make sure every action reflects what matters to the individual. –Cindy Ventrice @maketheirday
  3. Corporations will continue to have strong focus on employee engagement and the demand for recognition. Yes, one universal program that will tie recognition to the values of the organization. Everyone can be a winner. Annual bonuses will become less popular, but more longterm incentives. More equity. Allow employees to have lifestyle benefits. Social sabbaticals. Flexibility and reward with the new generation. –Sherri Goldberg @SherriGoldberg2

The next episode of HR Trends with Game-Changers Radio explores HR & Sustainability: Bridging the Gap with HR thought leaders and experts. Stay tuned and please follow us on Twitter at  #SAPRadio.

Co-edited by Bonnie D. Graham

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