The Simple Yet Powerful Retention Tactic that Won't Cost Your Company a Dime

In today’s work culture where paternity leave, free snacks and on-site daycare have become more common, formulating the right package of perks and benefits for your employees can be difficult. Glassdoor research indicates 57 percent of people place benefits and office perks at the top of their list when considering a new role. However, research has also shown that employee satisfaction within the workplace is more strongly correlated to elements such as senior leadership, company culture and values and opportunities for growth. It is these intangible factors that can have a significant impact on employee retention.


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In fact, when it comes down to it, there is one overarching company perk that all employees crave that costs nothing: praise. It’s as simple as taking the time to commend your employees where that praise and credit is due.

“In this fast-paced business environment we work in, leaders are often focused on the financial side of the business and forget the importance of their everyday interactions with their employees,” says Anne Hayden, vice president of human resources for MRINetwork. “It’s really the small things like a simple acknowledgement or word of thanks that can make a world of difference. Without those words, no amount of incentives or bonuses will provide employees with the real and meaningful recognition they’re looking for.”

The goal is not to encourage flattery or give false praise, but instead to find the right opportunities to give authentic and honest recognition. Everyone deserves praise for their individual talents and hard work. It’s your job as a manager to see that potential and bring out the best in your employees.

Here are three tips for generating a positive praise culture in your workplace:

Be authentic
Don’t praise just to praise - your employees will see right through a false compliment and they’ll be left wondering what you’re hoping to get out of them. Praise should be organic, the natural reaction to a job well done. Take the time to sit down and really explain what it is they did so well.

Use specific examples of what they’ve done and how it benefited the company as a whole. Encouraging them to keep up the hard work exemplifies how their individual contribution made a positive impact, which is always nice to hear.

Put yourself in their shoes
Consider the last time you were commended for your long hours, extensive research or hard work. Did you feel appreciated? Your employees are seeking the same kind of feedback. Each individual contributes something of great importance to your company, and deserves to be recognized for that.

Displaying true personal interest in your employees shows that you are invested in not only the work they generate, but them as a person as well. When employees feel genuinely appreciated, it cultivates stronger dedication to any given client, project, report and the company as a whole.

See the potential in everyone
Finding areas to praise may be difficult in some situations. It’s important to remember that everyone brings something to the table and each has his or her own talents. Perhaps they consistently boost team morale, or maybe they’ve been dedicated to the company for years. Whatever it may be, it’s your job to support them, encourage them and praise them.

“While recognition may seem like such a simple and obvious thing, its impact is frequently overlooked, especially when a company does not have the ability to provide extraordinary perks or benefits,” says Hayden. “By spending a few moments to sincerely commend your employees, you, your team and your company as a whole will reap the benefits. Or as many like to say, it pays to praise.”