Do Traditional Employee Awards Still Work?

April 24, 2020

High staff turnover can be negative for an organisation, especially when they have invested time, money, and effort to attract the talent acquired. Over recent years, the UK has started to see a gradual increase in unemployment. Currently, the unemployment rate is sitting at 4% and surveys have reported a rise in staff turnover levels across multiple industry sectors, including voluntary organisations. This causes us to ask questions, why people are leaving their jobs and whether employer retention strategies, that facilitate rewards and recognition, are still effective or being utilised in the workplace with positive results.

The Office for National Statistics conducted an insightful survey from 2017-2018 that examined staff retention levels in the UK across multiple industry sectors. The most interesting to note is the construction and educational sector which revealed a significant percentage of employees switching employers. In construction, 358,265 (66%) respondents remained with their employers for 2 years with 57, 701 (30%) finding alternative work. Similarly, in education around 207,507 (29%) of employees left their organisation for another, thus raising the natural question as to why many employees are leaving their job for another.

There are many factors to consider when examining reasons for resignation, from environmental to individual circumstances, any facets are involved. Unfortunately, external influences on a person’s decision to leave a company are unavoidable, this could be due to turbulent times in the economy or more personal matters in one’s family. However, studies have strongly suggested that most voluntary resignations are due to faults that an organisation is failing to address.

A study by Gallup found that employees receiving some form of reward and recognition were 59% less likely to search for a new job or career path. Participants showed higher levels of moral and even took less sick leave when receiving acknowledgement from their employers. This could be in the form of performance appraisal, awards, or recognition for their achievements.

With the popular notion that employee incentivisation and motivation are fundamental and effective in the HR community, one must question why retention strategies such as traditional employee awards, benefits, and rewards are not being used more frequently? Various physiologists and researchers have highlighted employee recognition as a vector of motivation and a component for meaningful work. It is also pivotal to mental health as professors Brun and Biron et al (2003) work point out that lack of recognition was the second largest risk factor for mental health suffering in organisations.

Awarding employees is therefore still very effective and important if you wish to retain your current highly skilled staff. Not only will it help you retain the key staff you need but it will also enable you to build a positive organisational culture, which is also considered to be a driving force for employee retention. Ensuring you find successful practices to motivate and engage your staff is paramount to the success of a company. Based on what we have uncovered here are some simple and effective ways to engage with your staff today.

  1. Reward

Incentive programmes are incredibly effective and will do wonders for your business in that an individual can feel a great sense of purpose in the workplace. As previously discussed, studies have strongly indicated that the retention of key staff is significantly linked with providing awards and reward packages for employees. These do not even have to be costly to your business, simply providing personalised awards, private healthcare, gym memberships can incentivise your staff to do their best at work.

  1. Enable Growth

Cultivating the culture of your organisation is not straight forward and multiple elements construct the overall paradigm. Taking some time to look at where your employees want to be in the future and their plan shows consideration and an invested interest in their success within the company. Allowing your teams to take on responsibility for pivotal roles can also open opportunities for your business, showing that you are putting in money and time to develop them, personally.

  1. Communication

Communication in the workplace is vital to provide recognition. Talking with the individual members of the team can send a powerful, yet, positive message. Acknowledging their work directly and not through formal methods of communication will be both valuable to you and them. It will encourage a positive culture in your business for communication and reinforce your company values.

Take Away

Over the years the UK has seen an increase in the number of workers leaving an employer for another across multiple industries. Various studies have examined people’s motivations for this decision and the most common reason is an organisations lack of recognition towards their staff, including a poor focus on corporate culture. Psychologists and researchers have strongly indicated a positive effect on staff retention strategies that have both an important effect on staff morale and mental health. By simply offering traditional awards and benefits you can increase the likelihood of retaining your staff, potentially improving both their performance and well-being.

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