A lack of appreciation is the reason two in three employees are considering quitting their jobs

High employee turnover can be a costly business for organisations around the world. Voluntary turnover, in particular, where staff leave of their own volition, has been reported to cost £30,000 per single employee according to Oxford Economics. This accounts for everything from recruiting and staffing fees to onboarding, training and time spent to get the new hire up to speed.

By: Sinead Healy on

Of course, losing employees to new opportunities has other costs too. There are the emotions of their immediate colleagues, the extra work that might have to be taken up by the rest of the team and the knowledge and experience that a leaving employee will now be taking to a new (probably rival) company.

So, businesses are aware of the issues that high turnover can have, but what are the key reasons why employees are wanting to leave in the first place?

There are some obvious factors at play. A bigger pay offering elsewhere, better benefits and perks as well as life events that may see a staff member wanting to relocate or starting a family too.

But one area that’s many organisations are increasingly becoming aware may be playing a major factor is employee recognition and, at a core level, how appreciated staff feel for the effort and work they put in on a day to day basis.

The negative impact of a lack of appreciation

A study by Office Team looked to assess the reasons that would cause employees to begin window shopping for new opportunities. Their results were pretty conclusive - two in three workers in their study said that they would leave their job if they didn’t feel appreciated. That’s 66% of a businesses workforce that would quit because the organisation has failed to let them know they recognise the work put in.

For companies heavily reliant on skilled millennial employees (of which 75% of the workforce will be made up in under a decade), that figure rises to 76%.

What’s more, this feeling is growing amongst workforces. An earlier version of this study conducted five years ago marked 51% of staff who would consider leaving if underappreciated.

What can businesses do?

What organisations need to assess is whether they hold a culture that is rich in recognition, or at least affords the opportunities for showings of appreciation to take place. A mistake many firms make is to think that birthday cards, a Christmas bonus or years of service awards count as a recognition programme, or at least, one that’s effective within the modern workforce.

Younger employees in particular desire and require far more frequent feedback and positive appraisals that the work they’re doing is both appreciated and is contributing towards the wider success of the organisation.

Great perks, Friday drinks and a company Christmas card are all great but more frequent, short-bursts of recognition - when earn’t - deliver big boosts for both individuals and teams.

It can start with a more concerted effort from management to say well done and thank you more often. But these too can become infrequent when work piles up or stress increases for the management tier.

The modern approach to employee recognition programs is to adopt a peer-to-peer platform approach whereby employees themselves are given a digital space whereby they are empowered to recognise their own colleagues for their regular efforts and great work achievements.

This approach removes the burden on management to be the orchestrators of recognition, whilst empowering staff to show appreciation themselves can create a snowball effect. Once one team members recognises another, that colleague is then more likely to go on and recognise someone else. A culture of recognition is born.

Find out how to get recognition flowing in your workforce with Fanmail - the instant, genuine and easy peer appreciation platform here.