Approximately 80% of Fortune 1000 companies report that retaining talent is a major issue for them, and nearly half are planning to offer more generous compensation packages next year to keep employees on the payroll. While money certainly plays a part in building employee loyalty, it's clearly not enough in today's work environment. Compensation is important, but most employees consider it a right - an exchange for the work one does.

Study after study has shown that praise and recognition tend to build employee loyalty. People want to feel that what they do makes a difference. Money alone does not do this; personal recognition does.

Employers often fail to realize that some of the most effective things they can do to develop and sustain motivated, committed employees cost very little or nothing at all.

Consider the power of "the five I's":

  • Interesting work. No one wants to do the same boring job over and over, day after day. And while any job will always require some boring, repetitive tasks, everyone should have at least a part of their job be of high interest to them.
  • Information. Information is power, and employees want to be empowered with the information they need to know to do their jobs better and more effectively. And, more than ever, employees want to know how they are doing in their jobs and how the company is doing in its business. Open the channels of communication in an organization to allow employees to be informed, ask questions, and share information.
  • Involvement. Managers today are faced with an incredible number of opportunities and problems and, as the speed of business continues to increase dramatically, the amount of time that they have to make decisions continues to decrease. Involving employees in decision making, especially when the decisions affect them directly, is both respectful and practical. Those closest to the problem typically have the best insight as to what to do. As you involve others, you increase their commitment and ease in implementing new ideas or change.
  • Independence. Few employees want their every action to be closely monitored. Most employees appreciate having the flexibility to do their jobs as they see fit. Giving people latitude increases the chance that they will perform as you desire - and bring additional initiative, ideas, and energy to their jobs.
  • Increased visibility. Everyone appreciates getting credit when it is due. Occasions to share the successes of employees with others are almost limitless. Giving employees new opportunities to perform, learn, and grow as a form of recognition and thanks is highly motivating for most people.

Copyright © 1999 Bob Nelson, Nelson Motivation Inc.