HR · 21 January 2016

Staff retention: Formal recognition could see workers stay four more years

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Retention rates range from 8.6 years to 14 years for employees that have been formerly thanked

Employers can expect to gain almost four years of additional service from employees when good work undertaken by an individual has been recognised by a manager or colleague.

New research by performance improvement agency P&MM revealed that staff retention in firms that introduced a formal employee recognition programme grew by an average of 3.7 years.

Average retention rates ranged from 4.7 to 9.8 years for employees that had not been formally thanked during their time at each company surveyed. But the rates of staff retention rose to between 8.16 and 14 years for individuals that had received at least one form of recognition from a manager or peer whilst employed in the same firm. The difference in tenure ranged from 3.46 to 4.2 years.

Commenting on the research, director at P&MM, John Sylvester, said: “Whilst we are not suggesting that a single thank you alone will result in three or four more years of service, the data clearly indicates a propensity for individuals who are recognised to be more engaged at work, and to have better relationships with managers and colleagues.”

Conducted amongst 12,331 employees across a range of sectors including field engineers, IT developers, manufacturing workers as well as office-workers, the data also revealed that up to a third of staff will likely leave their job in 2016.

The cost to employers to replace an employee can reach up to £30,614, and new staff can take up to 28 weeks to reach optimum levels of productivity.

“Recognition programme data can be used to highlight those staff who are a flight risk,” continued Sylvester. “These individuals may well feel unappreciated or not be performing in such a manner that warrants a thank you from colleagues and therefore require greater attention.”

Sylvester went on to say: “Employee engagement incorporates many factors – recognition being one of them. Engaged employees understand and commit to the organisation’s mission and values and will tend to go above and beyond their basic job – making them more likely to be the recipient of recognition from their peers.”

Whilst a formal recognition programme could be the key to employee engagement in your small business, recent analysis from Business Advice found that a healthy work culture and healthy staff can be just as effective.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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