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Modern Strategies for Employee Retention

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The trend of workers moving from one job to another has surprised many industries, sectors and companies worldwide, and it doesn't look like this will change any time soon. As younger generations move in to replace those retiring, they bring with them their own values and ideas that only sometimes align with the most efficient and cost-effective ways to operate as an employer.

Whether your business trades stocks, manufactures clothing or sells life insurance in Australia, retaining your employees is crucial to your success and minimizing ongoing costs.

Employee retention rates

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following industries have the best employee retention rates:

  • Government - 91.4%
  • Finance and Insurance - 75.4%
  • Manufacturing - 71.4%
  • Wholesale - 70.4%
  • Education - 70.2%

The following areas have the worst retention rates:

  • Arts, entertainment and recreation - 20.5%
  • Leisure and Hospitality - 21%
  • Accommodation and food services - 21.1%
  • Construction - 35%
  • Professional/Entrepreneurial Services - 36.5%

Owners and managers who operate in industries with poor retention rates must do everything they can to reverse the trend within their sphere of influence. However, that doesn't mean those in the more stable industries can rest on their laurels. There is always something that can be done to ensure these rates don't drop and to set an example for others in the industry.

Recognition of employees and rewards for performance

Statistics show that employers who recognize their employees' achievements and reward them accordingly are significantly more likely to retain those employees for a longer period of time. And it shouldn’t stop at these moments of recognition. Even the smallest gestures result in exponentially greater positive reactions, and all business owners and managers would do well to take note and acknowledge the following:

  • Professional or personal achievements
  • Behaviors learned and training completed
  • Anniversaries and emotional moments
  • Significant milestones in life

The effort required to capture and appreciate these moments is small compared to the feeling of goodwill that can result. Some other important factors that influence employee retention are:

  • Additional extras, benefits and bonuses
  • Respect and courtesy in the workplace
  • A healthy work-life balance
  • Respectful, productive working relationships
  • The company ethos and responsible practices
  • Effective internal power structures

Positive aspects of consistent employee recognition

Performance-related praise, recognition and reward lead to:

Stress at work

According to the American Psychiatric Association, the workplace is the leading cause of workplace stress. Employers need to find ways to reduce this stress to increase satisfaction and productivity. Aside from recognizing employees, this can be done in a variety of ways, such as: by creating a pleasant working environment and promoting team spirit and empathy through the various hierarchies that exist in most companies.

Practical methods of employee recognition

There is no perfect method for recognizing employees for their achievements that is equally applicable in every situation. However, there are a number of methods and you should be able to figure out the ones that work best for your situation. This includes:

  • Recognition conversations - Regular conversations to recognize individual and team achievements are an excellent way to motivate and encourage employees. These meetings are the perfect time to mention anniversaries and other milestones that you should carefully record. If necessary, delegate the tracking of these events to a trusted employee and distribute gifts at your discretion.
  • Peer Recognition - An added benefit of regular meetings is that colleagues can praise and recognize each other's achievements, creating strong working relationships and trust.
  • Set goals and reward those who achieve them - goal achievement programs can offer incentives such as prizes, bonuses or other innovative ideas. These don’t have to be expensive items or significant rewards. Something as simple as rewarding an achievement with an extra hour for lunch can do wonders for morale. Allow individuals and teams to set goals and adapt the system to your business model.
  • Group Thanks - When projects are successfully completed or other milestones are achieved, you should thank the entire group and show your appreciation. Pizza and cake are always well received...
  • Cards or emails expressing appreciation - If possible, be specific about your accomplishments to show your commitment and personalize the recognition.
  • Give positive feedback immediately - Verbal, targeted praise creates a supportive environment when grand gestures are inappropriate. Recognition of achievements months later becomes less important and creates a discrepancy between the achievement and the response.
  • Moderate your reactions - Exaggerated appreciation can lead to bitterness in others and appear insincere. It's a balancing act that requires careful consideration based on your knowledge of the people involved and the overall company ethos.


To meet the needs of a changing workforce, companies must work hard to create a supportive, respectful atmosphere where performance is recognized and rewarded. Bottom line: If you treat your employees as valuable, respected members of a highly motivated, committed team, they are much more likely to show appreciation.

Invest time and effort into creating a system that makes rewarding your employees easier. It will pay off many times over because there will be an atmosphere of "togetherness" and the knowledge that there is meaning in working harder and going the extra mile to get the right results.

Investing in employee recognition fosters a supportive workplace culture. With IceHrm, streamline your recognition efforts for lasting success.

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