Is recognition Your Silver Bullet?

American research published last month shows that in the current economic climate many firms put engagement (or employee buy-in) on a back burner. They calculate that with unemployment hovering at around 3 million, people are delighted to just have a job and a relatively secure income. But will that approach keep at bay the twin spectres of poor performance and high employee turnover?

Surely such a view is only true up to a point and doesn’t consider the wider implications of a disengaged workforce. It’s no surprise that an employee who feels ‘happy’ at work make a better contribution and therefore help the organisation perform better. i.e. employees who are valued by the organisation: paid at the market rate, gets satisfaction from their role, has a range of benefits, their opinions are listened to and their contribution is recognised by their manager and the wider team. But how many organisations can say that?

Research indicates that many firms have exhibited some decline in employee engagement – and that it will (or is) costing them dearly. When engagement plummets, customer service, quality and productivity also drop, while costs and employee turnover rise. New PwC research reveals that the cost of replacing a competent staff member is approximately equal to a year of the employee’s salary and that attrition will cost the UK economy £42 billion a year. A recent cross-industry study conducted by Metrus Group found performance differences of nearly 10% between organizations where employee engagement was high and those with low-engagement operations. So although many employees are delighted to have an income, it doesn’t mean they’re satisfied, committed or even engaged with the organization. And what does that mean for their ability to satisfy, exceed or even delight your customers and drive repeat business? So, with pressures on budgets continuing could recognition be the silver bullet to thwart declining satisfaction levels and engage employees? Recognition, implemented imaginatively, is much more cost effective than an incentive and can be a source of fun and pride. When was the last time you were recognised, and what does that say about your organisation?

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