Money Talks, So Should You

Workers need formal recognition, study says

If you want happier, more productive workers, make sure you recognize their achievements formally.

Brian O'Connell
by Brian O'Connell, MainStreet contributor

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — A little cake, a little speech, a little bonus in the paycheck: If you want happier, more productive workers, make sure you recognize their career achievements formally.

If your firm is slow on the draw to show appreciation for their achievements, employees could reasonably think it’s time to move on to greener, more benevolent pastures.

READ: How are you perceived at work?

O.C. Tanner, a Salt Lake City employee services company, has the goods on this issue, but let’s add a caveat: The company specializes in employee recognition, so it’s in Tanner’s best interest for such programs to flourish on the U.S. corporate landscape.

The firm links formal service anniversaries such as a 10-year or 20-year anniversary to decreased employee turnover and increased worker satisfaction. Meanwhile, Tanner points out, it costs firms up to 400 percent of a given employee’s salary and benefits to replace that departing employee:

  • It costs 30 percent to 50 percent of annual salary to replace entry-level employees.
  • It costs 150 percent of annual salary to replace mid-level employees.
  • It costs 400 percent of annual salary to replace executive-level employees.

The Tanner data also show that companies who show workers a little love stand a better chance or getting more out of those employees.

According to the survey, 58 percent of employees who are recognized formally for key service and workplace achievements believe their company “cares about them.” That’s opposed to 39 percent who aren’t generally recognized in the workplace and don’t believe their company cares about them.

READ: 11 tips to advance your career

In addition, 69 percent of workers who feel they are properly appreciated say they “fit in” with their company, and this leads to increased stability for workers and their employers.

"[Our] study found that employees who work at organizations with effective service anniversary recognition programs plan to stay at their current company up to an additional four years — thereby reducing hiring costs, delivering a strong return on investment and positively impacting workplace culture,” says David Sturt, a vice president for marketing at Tanner.

So it’s an easy equation for U.S companies: Show some appreciation and reap the benefits of a more stable and more loyal employee.

Because if you don’t, another company down the road will.

Brian O’Connell has 15 years of experience covering business news and trends, particularly in the financial, health care and career management sectors. He has written 14 books and appeared on CNN, Fox News, CNBC, C-Span, Bloomberg, CBS Radio and other media outlets and in such publications as The Wall Street Journal and The Street.com. He is a former Wall Street bond trader.