Break Out the Cake and Speeches: Workers Need Formal Recognition

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- A little cake, a little speech, a little bonus in the paycheck: If you want happier, more productive workers, make sure you recognize their career achievements formally.

If your firm is slow on the draw to show appreciation for their achievements, employees could reasonably think it's time to move on to greener, more benevolent pastures.

O.C. Tanner, a Salt Lake City employee services company, has the goods on this issue, but let's add a caveat: The company specializes in employee recognition, so it's in Tanner's best interest for such programs to flourish on the U.S. corporate landscape.

The firm links formal service anniversaries such as a 10-year or 20-year anniversary to decreased employee turnover and increased worker satisfaction. Meanwhile, Tanner points out, it costs firms up to 400% of a given employee's salary and benefits to replace that departing employee:

  • It costs 30% to 50% of annual salary to replace entry-level employees.
  • It costs 150% of annual salary to replace mid-level employees.
  • It costs 400% of annual salary to replace executive-level employees.

The Tanner data also show that companies who show workers a little love stand a better chance or getting more out of those employees.

According to the survey, 58% of employees who are recognized formally for key service and workplace achievements believe their company "cares about them." That's opposed to 39% who aren't generally recognized in the workplace and don't believe their company cares about them.

In addition, 69% of workers who feel they are properly appreciated say they "fit in" with their company, and this leads to increased stability for workers and their employers.

"Our study found that employees who work at organizations with effective service anniversary recognition programs plan to stay at their current company up to an additional four years -- thereby reducing hiring costs, delivering a strong return on investment and positively impacting workplace culture," says David Sturt, a vice president for marketing at Tanner.

So it's an easy equation for U.S companies: Show some appreciation and reap the benefits of a more stable and more loyal employee.

Because if you don't, another company down the road will.