The ‘war for talent’ reflects the critical role talented employees have in driving organizational success and increasing competition for this scarce resource. Indeed, retention of high performers is frequently a concern I hear from many of the clients I work with.
The first wave of that war was largely characterized by an ‘arms race’ mindset: companies trying to outspend each other to retain their top talent, through various compensation levers. The global economic downturn helped to put a damper on some of that, as did concern with the long-term sustainability of such practices.
As the markets change direction, a new wave of the so-called ‘war for talent’ is playing out. This time around with some crucial differences.
Employees have much greater expectations for the experience their work can offer, financially and emotionally. According to research, a positive experience is about creating a sense of connection, meaning, and achievement.
Being successful in this new environment means that companies will need to be more flexible and ready to address the spectrum of employee expectations. One efficient, but currently underutilized lever available to companies is to increase gratitude through a culture of recognition.
According to the Greater Good Science Center, “the positive feeling of gratitude can alert us to the benefits we’ve received from others and inspire us to show appreciation, which will in turn make others more likely to help us again in the future.”
From a business perspective, social recognition and the ability to say “thank you” encourages gratitude, which in turn encourages stronger relationships and a greater likelihood of contributing to shared success.
Social recognition enables gratitude to be communicated in real time and in response to performance. There is a positive spiral of appreciation and discretionary effort that stem from moments of appreciation.
High-potential employees who feel appreciated and are also energized to recognize those around them will be more likely to have a positive employee experience, which has been shown to correlate with decreased turnover and increased performance. Gratitude could be a key tool that will help companies win in this new ‘war for talent.’
What does gratitude at work mean for you?
As Globoforce’s Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting, Derek Irvine is an internationally minded management professional with over 20 years of experience helping global companies set a higher ambition for global strategic employee recognition, leading workshops, strategy meetings and industry sessions around the world. He is the co-author of "The Power of Thanks" and his articles on fostering and managing a culture of appreciation through strategic recognition have been published in Businessweek, Workspan and HR Management. Derek splits his time between Dublin and Boston. Follow Derek on Twitter at @DerekIrvine.