7 Reasons Why Employee Recognition Should be on Your Radar

Illustration of seven men and women around a computer.

In a recent Robert Half survey of IT leaders, 55 percent of CIOs were concerned with employee retention during the next 12 months. And yet, when asked about employee recognition and retention strategies, only 50 percent said they had a formal employee retention strategy.

In addition, just 69 percent of CIOs said they regularly check in with top performers to ensure they are happy in their role. So, nearly one-third of IT professionals come to work every day and their managers have no idea if they are satisfied with their jobs.

Employee retention is important for many obvious reasons: It leads to stability, depth of team knowledge and consistency in technical support quality for the organization. That’s why employee recognition should be top of mind for IT managers – it plays a crucial role in job satisfaction, employee engagement and retention for the organization.

Employee recognition made easy

There’s a lot of information about effective employee recognition programs, but the tips below are ones that I have seen be particularly effective in my travels to hundreds of our regional offices across the United States.

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While some are more formal, others are easy options for “in the moment” employee recognition:

  1. Nominate them for an award. Consider implementing awards that formally recognize your best employees or associates who go above and beyond. These type of recognition awards can be employee of the month/quarter/year, or a nomination for an industry award such as the HDI Analyst of the Year award. Formal employee recognition through an award is great career validation.
  2. Publically recognize their accomplishments. When employees perform their duties particularly well, recognize their efforts in department-wide emails, corporate newsletters or meetings and company gatherings. Being recognized by your supervisor for doing a great job is very rewarding for most employees and can be compounded when sharing accomplishments with a bigger audience who can keep the kudos going.
  3. Make it personal. Not everyone is a fan of the public spotlight, so you need to know your IT staff members to determine what will work most effectively. Sometimes a handwritten note from senior leaders to an IT pro acknowledging good work can be a powerful employee recognition tool. You might consider stopping by their desk to hand deliver the note and thank them personally.
  4. Provide opportunities. Another beneficial form of recognition for IT pros is to be given the chance to lead a meeting or training. The recognition a team member derives when they get to stand in front of their peers as a top performer can be a very powerful form of employee recognition. It’s also confidence-boosting as they have an opportunity to share their expertise with the group.
  5. Make them a mentor. Asking a valued employee to mentor others sends a vote of confidence as well as positive recognition. This will not only help boost the employees’ confidence, but it will likely help influence their mentee to work up to equal levels of success.
  6. Offer money. Employees can be motivated by many different factors, but nothing speaks louder than monetary recognition. If your budget allows, look for opportunities to provide additional compensation through a salary increase, performance bonuses or on the spot gift card to their favorite retailer.
  7. Promote. Employee recognition through a promotion or updated title can also be a powerful tool. While the management career path isn’t for everyone, look for opportunities to amplify an employee’s stature through a title change. It can be as simple as the addition of “senior” to their title.

We are in the midst of a war for IT talent and your ability to retain your top performers is critical to the success of your department and company.

Paying attention to your employee recognition efforts is an important area of focus for all IT leaders. You’ll be most effective if you use both formal and informal approaches like those mentioned above.

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