If employee recognition isn’t a solid part of your training program, you’re missing out on one of the strongest retention tools an employer can have in their arsenal.  Research done by Leadership IQ tracked 20,000 new hires, and a surprising 46% of them failed within the first 18 months. We’re talking a lot of company resources lost here. What’s more important than that stat, is the reason behind it.

Of those 46% who did not make it past the first 18 months, 89% of the time it was for attitudinal reasons. That means that 11% of them failed due to lack of skill. It seems most of us have the hard skills in training down, but there’s a huge piece of the training puzzle missing here.

That turnover rate from the Leadership IQ study is probably what your average company could report as well. Employee recognition has been proven to increase motivation, productivity and workplace satisfaction. I don’t know about you, but those sound like factors that could make a difference in the way of attitudinal problems…

Start Recognition on Day One

Even before training starts, feedback and recognition should be a part of the everyday workplace life. The sooner a manager can get an employee performing at 100% productivity, the higher the return on their investment in that employee. This includes cost factors like sourcing, recruiting, onboarding and training.

Online career site Glassdoor conducted a study and revealed that more than 80% of employees said they are motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work. This is compared to less than 40% who are motivated to work harder when their boss is demanding or the employee is fearful of losing their job.

We again see factors that can obviously be tied in with the employee’s attitude. Employees are 2 times more motivated by appreciation than by intimidation. Derek Irvine, VP of Global Strategy for Globoforce said:

“Even during this difficult economy, more people are voluntarily leaving jobs right now than people are being laid off. Employees are feeling disenfranchised and disengaged. People sustain an extra level of work pressure for a time, and then they’re voluntarily leaving jobs and out hunting and finding others. As you well know, it’s the top performers that, even during difficult times, still find alternative jobs.”

We’ve found hard evidence that recognition is strongly and positively connected with retention, but it is all too often doled out sparsely. A study presented by Work.com indicates that employees should be receiving some form of recognition on a weekly basis, but that study also showed that only 16% of companies are hitting this mark.

The candidate experience, onboarding and finally training set the tone for the rest of the worker’s time with the company. Employees don’t just get used to being ignored or under valued –they leave. When employees leave, they take with them the valuable resources that it took to attract, hire and train them. With such strong correlations between employee recognition and retention, how are rewards and recognitions programs not a solid part of every company training program?

Be sure to check out our main blog here.

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