A few years ago, when the economy was in a deep recession, I wrote a white paper that argued (with passion and purpose) that recognition still mattered. It presented the case for ramping up (and not reducing) employee recognition. My thesis was simple: companies who took the attitude that their employees had nowhere else to go and were lucky to have jobs would be in a bad spot once the economy started picking up again.
I hope you took my advice. The recent jobs reports should be an eye opener for any employer who might have taken their employees for granted. Last month we have had our tenth consecutive month of net new job creation. Companies created new positions and opportunities above the 200,000 number. That type of sustained hiring hasn’t happened since 1995.
And don’t look now but wages are starting to rise as well. That’s a strong signal that it’s becoming an employee’s (vs. an employer’s) market, one where it will be increasingly difficult to hold on to good people—especially those who have felt neglected over the years.
Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. As we gear up for what promises to be a prosperous 2015, leaders responsible for retaining people should be rethinking their attitudes toward recognition. Those that have been rewarding and acknowledging employees all along would be wise to continue in ways that are increasingly more meaningful and relevant. And for those that have ignored employees up to now, my advice is to get busy correcting that. You have a lot of catching up to do. Make more employee recognition your New Year’s resolution!