December’s Jobs Report, released last Friday, made news for a variety of reasons. The 252,000 net new jobs created along with positive revisions made to previous postings were considered healthy signs by experts.
But to me the real story was not in the monthly numbers, but in the aggregate figures for the end of the calendar year. In 2014, the United States economy was credited with adding 2.9 million new jobs—the most since 1999. But instead of seeing growth limited to one sector, like we did when the Internet bubble was heating up, 2014 saw big pops across the board.
Why bring any of this up on a blog devoted to employee recognition? Well, clearly, one of the byproducts of showing workers that you appreciate their efforts is that they are far less likely to feel the urge to move on. And that enhanced sense of loyalty can be big in any environment that’s starting to create openings at a “healthy” rate.
Employees who are emotionally and intellectually connected to their employers are up to 87% less likely to leave. That’s a significant advantage in the battle for talent. And those same cultural conditions tend to attract top players from other firms. Companies that recognize existing employees win on both sides of the equation. They solidify their stance with current workers while also positioning themselves better with future ones.
As we move into the New Year, you would be smart to address this issue and put a recognition program in place. Chances are your most talented—but unrecognized employees—have had thoughts about leaving. Some may have even received an offer or two. The best way to keep them (and their enthusiasm for the job) is to start recognizing their efforts now.