By Dan Simmons

CEO’s and managers alike should carefully examine the cost of employee recognition. Keeping your employees continuously engaged might seem like a time-consuming, tedious process on the surface. There are many simple ways to address engagement, ways that take little time and effort but reap numerous rewards and benefits in the long term. One of these ways is recognition.

When you think of core values, you might not immediately think of this one: “recognition motivates.”  It also effectively engages employees and raises retention rates significantly.

At a guest speaking engagement for a college’s Human Resource Management class, I spoke about recognizing and rewarding top performers.  As an example, I addressed how recognition not only motivates people to be better but also how it’s a highly effective retention tool.  I asked the audience members to imagine my recruiting call to two top-producing sales reps at two different companies.

Play along with me as I examine these two scenarios:


CALL A: I speak with Adam at Company A, whose boss takes him for granted, who doesn’t hear from the CEO and needs a vacation.

Adam wants to talk to me. He’s hoping that a recruiter is going to call to discuss a great opportunity, and he’s ready to interview.  He’s driven to succeed by his internal engine, but his company isn’t fueling that engine and he’s burning out.

CALL B: I speak to Bill, a top-producing sales rep at Company B. This guy was recently mentioned in the company newsletter for adding a new customer and was listed in a press release as being the #1 salesperson in his region.  He also just hung the President’s Award in his office and came back from a rubber chicken banquet where the CEO thanked him for his contributions. Bill and his spouse are going on the company trip for award winners: A five-night stay in the Bahamas. He’s also been asked to mentor the new hire that starts next week.

Bill is motivated, not only internally, but also because his company appreciates him.  Bill doesn’t want to interview; Bill doesn’t have time to interview. His company is keeping him interested with new challenges and with pats on the back.

THOUGHTS: Which of these two gentlemen is going to have the most success in the coming months? Which company will reap the biggest rewards? Which is happier in his job? If you guessed Bill, you’re right.  Who makes more money? Who knows? I don’t. My guess would be Adam. You normally have to pay people more to keep them working if they aren’t enjoying their job.

Let’s look at the Mastercard commercial analysis. Recognition costs, let’s add them up.  The cost of an award: $29. Five days and nights in the Bahamas for two with airfare: $1,500. The value of a motivated top performer who is not only loyal and happy but also fully engaged in his position: priceless.

Recognition motivates people to accomplish more through effective engagement, and it also helps retain talent.  Turnover is extremely costly. Recognition is the most cost-effective motivation, engagement, and retention tool that I know. The more ways you find to use it and the more people you use it with, the more powerful it becomes and the more prosperous your team will become.

Dan Simmons Bio

Dan SimmonsDaniel C. Simmons is a Certified Personnel Consultant who has been recruiting since 1991. Dan has won over twenty awards in the last decade with the Top Echelon Network, America’s leading placement network including Placer of the Year in 2009 & 2010.

Frequently Dan also is a recruiter trainer and has been featured at various Top Echelon Conventions and online as a speaker for various webinars. He has also been published in The Fordyce Letter the recruiting industry’s #1 magazine.

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