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Employee turnover top workforce challenge

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Survey finds companies that use values-based employee recognition programmes are more likely to report increased engagement and retention, stronger workplace culture.

Employee retention/turnover is the number one workplace challenge facing HR leaders today, according to the 2015 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey. The survey results were announced by Globoforce (, a leading provider of social recognition solutions, and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. In the survey, 40 percent of HR professionals cite employee retention/turnover as their top organisational challenge, followed by employee engagement.

The survey of 823 HR leaders also examined the benefits of employee recognition programmes tied to company values, and the impact these programmes can have on company culture. 90 percent of respondents practicing values–based recognition say it positively impacted engagement, while 68 percent say it positively impacted retention.

Key insights and findings from the report include: The top three challenges faced by HR organisations today are retention/turnover, employee engagement, and succession planning.

In the 2013 and 2012 SHRM/Globoforce surveys, employee engagement and succession planning topped the list of challenges for HR leaders. Growing concerns about retention/turnover have now overtaken them both, a sign of the growing war for talent.

– 40 percent of respondents say that the loss of personnel is a top challenge; another 29 percent are concerned about finding replacement talent.

– 39 percent say employee engagement is their primary concern; down from 47 percent in 2013.

– Tewnty-four percent of respondents cite culture management as being their top HR concern.

Values-based recognition programmes are seen as creating stronger cultures and more human workplaces, and increasing bottom-line organisational metrics. The 2015 SHRM/Globoforce survey found an uptick in the number of recognition programmes aligned to company values. The survey also found that recognition, and in particular values-based recognition, is perceived to be driving key metrics such as engagement, retention, safety, wellness, employer brand and even cost control goals. 81 percent of HR leaders say their companies practice formal recognition, while 58 percent say they have a programme tied to their organisation’s values.

Companies with a values-based recognition programme see an overwhelmingly positive impact on company culture, 86 percent report an increase in employee happiness and 85 percent said it added humanity in the workplace. A majority of respondents (57 percent) say a values-based recognition programme improved their company’s bottom line, 90 percent also say it positively impacted engagement and 68 percent say it positively impacted retention. The top objective for years of service programmes is employee appreciation, but many programmes still fall short of the mark for inspiration and quality.

Years of service (YOS) programmes are widely practiced in today’s organisations, but many are falling short of excellence. HR leaders say this can be improved through inspiring experiences and participation from senior leadership. 74 percent of respondents say their companies have a service anniversary programme in place, but only 22 percent rated their programme as excellent, 47 percent rated their programme as good and 31 percent rated their programme as fair or poor. 88 percent of respondents say their top objective for YOS programmes is to appreciate employees, followed by ambitions to increase employee satisfaction or happiness (73 percent). 35 percent of HR leaders would like to improve YOS programmes by creating a more inspiring experience, while 22 percent would like more participation from senior leaders.

“Now more than ever, companies are focussing on culture as a competitive differentiator,” said Eric Mosley, CEO of Globoforce. “They’re realising that a best-in-class culture is dependent upon employees feeling engaged and nurtured, and that this type of human workplace starts and ends with recognition. The latest SHRM/Globoforce survey provides insight into the key concerns among the HR leaders. The one that rose to the top of the list was employee turnover/retention, which is certainly not a surprise given the strengthening job market,” said Evren Esen, SHRM's director of survey programmes. “The good news is that our findings reveal that employee recognition programmes promote engagement and an overall positive work experience.”

Survey Methodology

* The SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Programmes Survey was commissioned by Globoforce and conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management from January 13, 2015 to February 4, 2015. This is the fifth deployment of the survey since its launch in 2011. This edition of the survey was sent to 6,000 randomly selected SHRM members at a manager level or above. The final sample of the survey was composed of 823 HR professionals who are employed at organisations with a staff size of 500 or more employees. The survey had a response rate of 14 percent and a margin of error of +/-3 percent. Results include responses from organisations in the U.S. across a wide range of business to business and business to consumer industries.

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