United States: What's The Key To Talent Retention? Human-Centered Approaches, Says SHRM/Globoforce Report

HR leaders are using human-centered approaches in the workplace, which may help resolve retention, recruitment, and culture management challenges, according to a new report released by Globoforce®, a provider of social recognition and continuous performance development solutions, and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

The report explores the key elements of what constitutes a human workplace and reveals HR leaders are creating supportive feedback environments throughout the year to improve employee engagement, organizational culture, and the employee experience.

In the report, Designing Work Cultures for the Human Era, 47% of HR leaders cite employee retention and turnover as their top workforce management challenge, the third consecutive year this challenge has topped the list. Recruitment follows as the second biggest challenge, while 34% of those surveyed also see culture management as a top challenge.

The survey of 738 HR leaders finds that an organization's feedback environment is more likely to be supportive when human-centered approaches such as ongoing peer feedback, frequent performance reviews, and recognition tied to core values are adopted. Additionally, the celebration of employees' life events has the potential to help HR leaders advance their organizations in both their retention and recruitment efforts.

Key insights and findings from the report include:

More Human-Centered Approaches Can Help Meet Recruitment and Retention Challenges

Among HR leaders surveyed, 80% say their organization currently has an employee recognition program. Many of these leaders say their employee recognition program helps with employee experience (89%), employee relationships (86%), organizational culture (85%), employee engagement (84%), and organizational values (83%). Therefore, according to the survey, it's important for HR leaders to treat employee recognition as not just a program, but a management practice with a real and measurable business impact.

Values-Based Recognition Remains Highest-Rated Programs to Reinforce and Drive Business Goals

Values-based recognition programs—where employees are recognized and rewarded for behavior that exemplifies a company's core values—continue to be more highly adopted (70%) than recognition programs not tied to a company's core values (30%). Programs tied to values are also more than two times as likely to be focused on reinforcing and driving business goals; 33% more likely to be focused on empowering employees; and 29% more likely to be focused on creating a positive employer brand.

Funded Recognition Programs More Likely to be Rated Highly

HR leaders who have programs funded at 1% or more of payroll are more likely to agree recognition programs are fully aligned with the organization's people strategy—meaning tied to important business metrics such as retention rate of critical employees, strength of company values, and employee happiness. Additionally, compared to cost-saving recognition programs like "e-thanks," programs at 1% or more of payroll are 86% more likely to be rated as good or excellent.

A Supportive Feedback Environment Can Effectively Spur Employee Growth and Development

Only about half (51%) of HR leaders surveyed feel their current performance appraisal process is accurate. Yet those who conduct semiannual or more frequent reviews are 1.5 times more likely to agree they are an accurate appraisal of employees' work, compared to organizations that only conduct annual reviews. Additional findings on feedback include:

  • Organizations that rely on more frequent performance reviews are more likely to use peer feedback, either ongoing or intermittently (38% vs. 27%). Additionally, 89% of HR leaders surveyed agree ongoing peer feedback and check-ins have a positive impact on their organizations.
  • Compared to annual reviews with no peer feedback, semiannual reviews and peer feedback are nearly two times as likely to be perceived as accurate (81% vs. 42%).

Even if an organization is not ready to forgo the traditional performance review, HR leaders can consider adopting frequent peer feedback as a supplement to improve the quality of conversations and employee development over the course of the year, the report adds.

Celebrate Life Events to Humanize the Employee Experience at Work

Creating a community celebration of life events at work—including getting married, buying a house, or having a child—can help strengthen workplace relationships and employee connections, making organizations more attractive to potential and future hires. According to the report, employees are nearly two times as likely to agree their company is a good place to work when they are very or somewhat satisfied with how life events are celebrated in the workplace (64%), compared to those who are very or somewhat dissatisfied with the celebration of life events (35%).

"Continuous peer feedback and recognition, as well as a supportive feedback environment, have the power to help organizations drive employee growth and development," said Derek Irvine—Vice President of strategy and consulting at Globoforce—in a press release. "As our study shows, HR professionals are still dissatisfied with the accuracy of traditional performance reviews. Reward and performance strategies need to be reimagined so they help fulfill employees' basic human needs of appreciation and connection. Social recognition programs alongside more human-centered practices have the power to not only strengthen relationships between employees, but also employees' overall connections to the companies they work for."

Survey Methodology

The SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Report was commissioned by Globoforce and conducted by SHRM from September 27, 2017, to October 18, 2017. This is the sixth deployment of the survey since its launch in 2011. This edition of the survey was sent to randomly selected SHRM members at a manager level or above. The final sample of the survey was composed of 738 HR professionals who are employed at organizations with a staff size of 500 or more employees. The survey had a response rate of 12.5 percent and a margin of error of +/-4 percent. Results include responses from organizations in the U.S. across a wide range of business-to-business and business-to-consumer industries.

For more information, or to download the full report, click here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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