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Meaningful Employee Recognition Can Help You Retain Valued Employees

August 20, 2013 - 5 Comments


This is the final post in the Cisco Partner Talent series, helping partners attract, develop, and retain the right people with the right skills at the right time. This month’s blog post goes into detail about the importance of Rewards and Recognition in our Cisco Fit4Talent Employee Lifecycle. To read all of my blogs, see my Cisco blogs bio.

Good job. Well done. Fantastic. We all recognize the power of positive reinforcement but what about recognition preferences? Studies show that how you recognize an employee for their work is as important as recognizing them at all.

Sounds strange, I know. But let me share some data from Maritz Research, a marketing research firm, to get you thinking about your own recognition program. 

Recognition Preferences vs. Recognition Practices:

Recognition Practice % Who Want to be Recognized in this Manner % Who Are Recognized in this Manner
Cash bonus 82% 25%
Verbal praise 49% 70%
Recognized for individual achievements 46% 53%
Written praise 45% 29%
Non-cash incentives 44% 17%
Recognized for both individual and group achievements 38% 43%
Formal praise in front of others 38% 32%
Recognition event 23% 14%
Symbolic award 17% 13%


Did you notice something about these numbers? There consistently seems to be a discrepancy between “supply” and “demand”. And did you notice that a lot of people who don’t prefer verbal praise are receiving just that?

The Power of Meaningful Employee Recognition: Why One Size Does Not Fit All” report also examines how recognition impacts an employees’ long-term interest in remaining with a present employer, based on recognition.

But it’s more than just recognition that’s important in increasing job satisfaction and reducing turnover. It’s a company’s internal culture that’s also key. So if you’re only focusing on your external brand, you could be lessening your standing as an employer of choice.

There are financial consequences as well. The cost of turnover, according to the report, may be as much as 1 1/2 times an employee’s first year salary. Cut turnover in half and you could see tremendous savings in your bottom line.

Here are some quick tips for improving your recognition program:

  1. As a manager, spend at least one hour per quarter with employees to determine how each employee is best motivated.
  2. Find ways to integrate meaningful recognition into each employee’s personal development plan.
  3. Give everyone a chance to receive meaningful recognition.
  4. Be careful when using competitive awards—criterion-based award are valued more.
  5. Be consistent with the way recognition is given.
  6. Communicate clearly why recognition is being given.
  7. Employees should recognize one another whenever possible.

This is just a glimpse into recognition programs and practices. Keep in mind that they can be your greatest asset or cause of frustration. Avoid the pitfalls by downloading the full report.

I hope you found the Cisco Partner Talent series informative. And if you’re just discovering the series, check out all of the blogs posts or watch this video for an overview of how Cisco Partner Talent can help you.

Do you have a recognition story to share? I’d love to hear from you. Also, visit Cisco Fit4Talent for free talent management resources.

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  1. Definively a great post, it seems there are some low hanging fruits with “Written praise” and “Recognition event” when cash bonus is not available !

    • Sometimes, human mind gets very calculative when offered cash but remains emotionally related when the reward is non-monetary.

      Besides cash, what are the other rewards or incentives you have used to motivate the performance of your team? Please share in the comment box. Thank you.

  2. I love CISCO and I love this training network.

  3. Hi Kelly,

    Thank you for so much for your comment.

    Yes, effective reward and recognition strategy can help motivate your staff to perform better. It can also reinforce behaviours you want to encourage to achieve your objectives.

    Do you have a reward and recognisation strategy/story to share? I’d love to hear from you.

  4. As the marketing and sales director for a large law firm this information is extremely helpful. With over 30 employees in high pressure situations it is imperative to keep them happy and focused.