Recognition Should Be at the Core of Keeping Your Best Employees

Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognition - Keeping Employees Engaged and Motivated

The best companies have extensive recognition programs that make it IMPOSSIBLE for their best talent to leave.

Best practices in recognition include specific programs at the individual, team, department, and team level.

Recognition and non-monetary rewards should be a key element of your culture, where you celebrate individual, team, and company performance. The rewards should include praise, feedback, opportunities for learning and development, and achievement awards.

Recogition and Rewards to Engage and Motivate EmployeesDo you have an extensive set of recognition and non-monetary rewards that bring outstanding talent to your organization, AND prevent recruiters from poaching your best people?

Have you benchmarked what comparable companies do for recognition?

Do you collect competitive information when interviewing candidates? Do you ask them what recognition programs they are eligible for – and which ones they’ve been awarded?

Have you posed this question about “what other companies do” to your HR and benefit consultants, or labor law attorneys?

Have you researched the on-line libraries in your trade group or association for best practice information around recognition programs?

There is a wealth of content on the web, including in our website, various HR portals, bloggers, and associations on how to craft, design, implement, and execute an outstanding non-monetary rewards and recognition program.

Perhaps, in my next few blog postings, we’ll break down each of the key elements of a great employee recognition program, and I’ll identify some of the best resources I’ve discovered over the last decade.

In my conversations with thousands of professionals and high school athletes (I coach high school girls basketball), everyone wants to be recognized for a job well done. Are you providing this most basic human need?

Barry Deutsch

 

Have you used our 8-Point Retention Matrix to verify you’re doing everything you can do to keep your best people?  If not, click hear to download this self-assessment tool for checking your retention capability score.

Praise is a POWERFUL Motivator for your team

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Studies show that employees perform at a higher level when praised for doing a great job, or going beyond the call of duty.

I don’t want to play closet psychologist, but we all know this to be true. When playing a sport in high school, we wanted to do well so that our coach would praise us in front of our peers, we would get recognition from our teachers, our parents would give us a pat on the back and a heartfelt “I’m proud of you.” Who wouldn’t want to be praised?

We can look to the work done by Abraham Maslow on the Hierarchy of Needs that employees have – one he pointed to was  recognition from superiors/authority on a job well done.

As a high school girls basketball coach over the last decade, I’ve noticed that my teams perform at a much higher level when players are praised for doing things well instead of making mistakes. Just today this point got driven home again:

 

I asked one of my former players who had graduated from my team to a higher level team in our program She had gone from being a rock star on my team to the bottom of the totem pole on the higher level team. I asked her why she had become so quiet, reserved, cautious, and timid when playing on this new team.

Her response:

Coach Barry, my new coach yells at me every time I make a mistake. I’m afraid of making a mistake. He scares me because he gets so angry. All he ever does is criticize what we do. I’ve never heard him tell me in the last year anything positive.

 

boss_beating_fist_on_his_desk_hg_whtDoesn’t that story want to make you cry? What if that was you? What if it was one of your kids? Imagine how your employees feel when all you do is criticize them and seek out every little mistake to call to their attention, humiliate them in front of their peers, and basically rip them a new one by threatening them about their job security.

Do you think maybe their confidence might be down a little? Do you think they’re going to give you their best effort?

If they are good performer, they’ve already got one foot out the door since top talent doesn’t need your job. And when they lose respect for their immediate boss, they can’t wait to leave. They always have great opportunities knocking on their door.

If they are below the top talent level, they just become ROAD Warriors: Retired On Active Duty. You’ll never get an ounce of productivity from them again. They basically shut down.

So, here’s my key question:

What type of formal programs does your company have in place to provide praise as the most important element of a non-monetary reward and recognition system?

If your company is like most other companies, then praise is something that’s basically left up to each individual manager to do as he/she sees fit. We all know that being crowned with that manager title, instantly makes you a great motivator of people.

Okay, if you don’t believe that – why is praise, recognition, and non-monetary rewards systems absent in most companies?

When will you start researching, benchmarking, and implementing praise into your recognition programs to start raising employee motivation?

Have you used our 8-Point Retention Matrix to verify you're doing everything you can do to keep your best people?  If not, click hear to download this self-assessment tool for checking your retention capability score.

Barry Deutsch

Let’s NOT train our staff so they’ll get picked off for better jobs

Are providing enough training and development to keep your employees engaged?

 

I was conducting our Speaker Program on retention titled “You’re the Person I WANT to Keep” and we were at the section on discussing how training and development is a powerful element of employee satisfaction and engagement.

One of the CEOs in the room blurts out “Why should we train our people – we’re just preparing them to be stolen by our competitors”

I was so stunned at this remark, I was for once at a loss for words. Then, an even bigger shocker took place: Some of the other CEOs in the room actually started nodding their heads in agreement.

What have to come to where we are so afraid of our employees leaving, that we're willing to lock them in the basement, put our thumb down on top of them, and crush their future capability?

Is this perspective dysfunctional or what?

NOT training your employees is a sure way to lose them. NOT providing opportunities for learning, development, and personal growth is one of the major reasons 50% of your workforce is logging onto job boards trying to see if the grass is greener somewhere else.

Training the heck out of your workforce is one of the best ways to “recruiter-proof” your company. I know you’ll lose a few people over time to competitors; however, you’ll keep a far larger group.

Perhaps, most importantly, the value training brings extends far beyond just keeping people. Your workforce becomes more skilled, knowledgeable, and capable than all your competitors. Productivity goes up. I can’t begin to quantify the value of a well-trained workforce.

What’s your training investment? How much of every revenue dollar goes to training? Does every employee have a personal development plan for formal training, e-courses, webinars, projects, on-the-job skill training?

When you are planning on making training one of the core elements of your culture?

Barry Deutsch

Retention – Bah Humbug! My Employees Love Coming to Work

Your employees might start kicking down the door to leave

Here's the biggest myth of retaining great people: They show up every day – my employees must love their jobs.

Be prepared for the shock of your life!

I'm re-running one of the most popular blog articles every posted. Most CEOs and Executives reading this article in the past, were suddenly gripped by fear, extreme anxiety, and an urge to take action.

This article was a WAKE-UP call to start focusing on how to retain your best talent.

 

Some of your Best People Are Waiting to Kick Down the Door to Leave

What are you doing right now to ensure your company is capable of retaining your best talent as the job market expands?

I can't predict whether the job market will bounce back into a vibrant job market – in 6 months, 12 months, or 18 months. However, it will bounce back.

You might say “Barry, we have very low turnover and I'm not concerned about losing some of our talent to competitors”.

I would contend that since there are very few jobs available, most candidates have hunkered down and are waiting out the job market depression. Of course you don't have turnover issues now. Plan on having those issues within the next 12-18 months.

 

Job Market Trends Raise Your Risk

We need to recognize a few factors and trends at play in this job market.

First, the tools for candidates to find jobs has increased dramatically.

Secondly, the tools for companies to find candidates have increased, particularly through social media channels.

Third, employee satisfaction is at one of the lowest points since the Great Depression.

These combined factors are unique for the coming job market improvement.

I'm waving my hands in the air sounding the alarms of a dangerous combination of factors regarding your employee satisfaction and available jobs. Perhaps, you'll write this off as the little boy who cried “wolf” too often. Perhaps, you'll read this blog post, pull your management together, and start implementing programs to proactively raise your retention capability.

 

Procrastination, Denial, and Complacency

In my workshops and seminars to CEO groups and management teams, I've noticed that many companies might be at risk to lose some of their most critical and important talent over the next 18 months. As I jump back and forth across the country in my presentations, I am stunned at the lack of attention being given to structured retention programs.

Perhaps, many company executives feel that since there are no jobs available, there is no need to invest in retention programs – as in “our employees are not going anywhere.”

What if 1 or 2 of your top performing engineers, sales reps, or pivotal executives suddenly walked into your office and resigned tomorrow? Do you have a back-up plan in place? Maybe you've been working on a succession plan? What if the 1 or 2 leaving triggered a brain drain or exodus of talent?

 

Review Retention Best Practices

I would like to suggest it might be time to review your current retention programs to update, improve, enhance, and implement changes to ensure your best talent does NOT leave as the job market rebounds.

Some best practice areas to focus on:

  • Culture – is there dysfunction in your culture? Have you surveyed your employees for their satisfaction levels?
  • Feedback – do you have a rigorous process for One-to-Ones for coaching, development, and success-based leadership?
  • Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognition – top talent only performs to a standing ovation. Do you have a series of programs aimed at supervisory, team, and company-wide non-monetary recognition?
  • Acceptance of Mediocrity – top talent wants to be in a success-based environment. Can you claim that you've embedded success-based management principles in the fabric of your business?
  • Learning and Development – how aggressive are you pushing learning, training, and development throughout your organization? Your best people will stay in an organization that helps them grow at a high rate.

Here’s a great question that might keep you awake at night:

What are you doing right now to improve your ability to retain your best talent over the next 12-18 months?

Do you feel any level of fear, anxiety, or an overwhelming urge to wrap your arms around your best talent and express your gratitude they are still part of your company?

Have you used our 8-Point Retention Matrix to verify you're doing everything you can do to keep your best people?  If not, click hear to download this self-assessment tool for checking your retention capability score.

Barry Deutsch

Can You Prevent Your Best People From Leaving?

Your talent is heading for the exit sign - retain them now

Are you at risk from your best people heading for the exit?

I was reading a blog from the Forbes website, and the article struck me that maybe it was time to raise this “elephant in the room” issue that no one wants to address.

I screamed “WOLF” about this issue a couple of times before – but let’s have at it again. Here’s what Edward Lawler said in his Forbes article (maybe you will not believe it when Barry Deutsch speaks – but perhaps an article on Forbes gives the concept some validity):

 

The economy is getting stronger, and as a result, more and more individuals are looking for better jobs. A recent survey by Lloyds found that executives believe a talent shortage is the number two risk facing business today, up from twenty-second place in 2009.

 

Put Retention PROGRAMS in place right now!

Are you putting specific retention programs in place right now. With the economy heating up, everyone acknowledging a talent shortage, and employee satisfaction hovering at depression-era levels, is anyone concerned that the lid may blow and lots of your best people starting leaving like dominos falling?

Once the brain drain begins, many of the folks who “aligned” themselves with your best talent, starting heading to the door with equal speed.

You can prevent your best people from leaving!

However, wishing and crossing your fingers doesn’t work. Nor does leaving it up to each individual manager.

Here are some proactive steps you can start taking today:

  • Identify your high potential/high impact employees
  • Ensure they have stimulating work
  • Sit down with each one and map out a learning and development plan for the next year
  • Assign an executive to be their mentor
  • Come up with a list of projects that will intellectually challenge them
  • Find places in your organization to leverage their best talents and skills
  • Are there non-monetary rewards and recognition you can give this group of “A” performers when they exceed your expectations?

 

Take Care of Your Best Talent

Not taking care of your “A” talent will result in the “A” talent leaving. I know it’s “unfair” to single out this group and give them specific notice, projects, and nurturing. Unfortunately, in most companies, the biggest successes, results, and outcomes follow the Pareto Principle. 20% of your workforce (typically your most talented) generate 80% of the significant change, improvement, and growth in your business. No surprises in that statement.

Are you ready to shift from a mental framework of abundance (typical in poor job market) of “these people should be lucky to have a job” to a framework of scarcity (typical in a good market). It’s been so long since we’ve had a good job market – it’s hard to remember what a struggle it can be to keep and recruit talent.

What’s your plan to keep your very best people engaged and “recruiter-proof” your company?

Read more about the techniques of recruiting and retaining top talent, especially what motivates great performers, in our award-winning and best-selling book, You’re NOT the Person I Hired. The book is available as a FREE digital download on our website.

To read the full article on Forbes, click the link below:

Preventing the Loss of Key Talent

Barry Deutsch