Want to Keep Those Good Employees?

Here’s the No. 1 reason they leave, and what you can do about it.

Perspective Guest

Volumes of data support the value of recognition to bottom-line performance. We know this, even without external data supporting the statement, because it makes logical sense.

Reflections on what motivates employees inevitably conclude that we work harder and with more heart for those who value our contribution. Recognition influences us beyond the visible spectrum. It motivates us, fills our emotional bank account, instills commitment and fuels productivity.

  • Data backs up what we intuitively know; recognition is a critical component for organizational success.
  • Over 75% of employees who quit their jobs identify lack of appreciation as a reason. The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics states lack of recognition as the No. 1 reason employees voluntarily leave their jobs.
  • More than 60% of respondents list appreciation as a significant motivator of performance.
  • Greater than 90% of employees identified as highly engaged state their leaders provide effective recognition.
  • Substantive data supports the link between effective recognition and operational results, specifically productivity, engagement, retention and customer satisfaction. Recognition directly affects the bottom line.

We know the power of recognition, yet reports share that 70% of the workforce feel underappreciated. We have a “Knowing-Doing” gap.

Bridging the Knowing-Doing Gap
Why is there such a gap between what we know, that recognition of employees is core to business success, and what we do (or are not doing), which is the act of providing timely and meaningful recognition?

The most common reason offered for not giving recognition is a lack of time. Other reasons shared are a lack of skill, being unaware of recognizable actions, or “It’s just not my personality.” While this article does not address all the issues that contribute to bridging the Knowing-Doing Gap, we attempt to address a few easily correctable contributors.

Lack of Time: Often, lack of time and busy schedules with competing priorities are quoted as reasons for not prioritizing team engagement and recognition. Many organizations develop elaborate employee recognition programs to solve this problem, and this can overcomplicate the solution. The reality is that the harder it is to do something, the less likely you are to do it. When it comes to recognition, reduce the barriers and provide tools that are easy to use. Ultimately actions are what count, not elaborate plans. A thank you card delivered to your employee’s home is a lovely gift — truly. However, writing a card can become a barrier and can prevent action. Finding an easier way to provide recognition, such as a digital recognition tool, can reduce or remove obstacles.

Unaware: You are likely aware of more opportunities to recognize the actions and behaviors of others than you believe. Consider the interactions you had during your day or observations you made as you walked through your place of work. Did Sue at the front desk greet you with a cheery “Good morning” and smile as you arrived? And does she do this every day? That she is a consistent bright point in your morning is worthy of recognition. Reinforcing positive behaviors demonstrates that you value the individual. A ripple is created with each moment of recognition and has the potential to create a wave of change and define the culture of an organization.

Lack of Skill: Giving meaningful, pointed, real-time recognition requires a bit of skill. We might cite “lack of time” as our primary barrier to providing recognition when we instead lack the skills. Meaningful recognition is specific. When you have observed someone do something worthy of mention, go beyond the generic “great job!” and get specific. Most people want to improve, yearn to learn, and want to make a difference. This is only possible with authentic and constructive feedback. There is a formula you can use to master this skill: Action + Impact. Mention the action you witnessed, and then share the impact it had on you or others. For example: “Thank you, Sue, for always greeting me with such a cheery “good morning” and genuine smile. Your consistent energy and positivity resets my mood, and I find I am more joyful in my heart as I walk towards my office.”

Recognition Positively Effects the Receiver and the Giver
Rhonda Bagby shared in an article published in Biz New Orleans in February 2021 the benefit of a practice of gratitude. Bagby wrote, “One proven route to improving physical and mental health is through the simple act of practicing gratitude. Gratitude means deliberately expressing thankfulness, acknowledging life’s blessings, and showing appreciation for what you have.” This practice includes expressing gratitude or appreciation to another person.

Bridge the gap and begin doing — it will elevate the spirits of the receiver and yours as well.


Perspective Guest Rohanwalvekar

Rohan Walvekar, MD, created nDorse in 2015. A digital recognition platform that allows team members and leaders to provide timely and meaningful recognition and reinforce organizational values with each celebration, nDorse is currently helping celebrate over 20,000 healthcare professionals and has served our healthcare community by being a tool used to capture over 75,000 recognition moments during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit ndorse.net or email Dr. Walvekar at rwalvekar@ndorse.net