Recognizing Employees from Day 1

In an article highlighting Globoforce client Nortel Networks, Workforce Management magazine recently discussed the importance of engaging employees very early in their tenure with the company to foster a longer relationship with company.

The article cites research showing recognition and appreciation, even during the onboarding process, is important to retention in the short-term, much less over the long haul.
“Half of U.S. employees ages 20 to 24 have been with their employer for a year or less, according to 2006 numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the latest available. That number looks great, though, compared with the mere 13 percent who stick around for up to 23 months and the 10 percent who stay for two years.”

To reduce turnover among their newest hires, Nortel and other companies are incorporating recognition early. For example, Nortel new hires are introduced to Excellence@Nortel, the company’s strategic recognition program run by Globoforce, immediately.
"We expose new hires to the Excellence at Nortel recognition program during a two-day orientation workshop," says Robert Schmitter, corporate programs owner for rewards and recognition at Nortel. "That includes an explanation of the program, how to use the tool and how to recognize colleagues."

This early exposure to the recognition program also helps immediately assimilate employees into Nortel’s culture of appreciation.
Introduction to the program at orientation isn’t the only time new hires experience Excellence at Nortel. Schmitter says that this fall, new employees will receive e-cards two to four weeks after they start at the company "to enforce that they’ve made a good choice of employers. We send them a card to say, ‘Welcome, we know you’re here, we value you,’ and we want to give them exposure to the recognition tool and a recognition experience.”

Nortel hopes the new program will reduce attrition among its newest employees—those with no more than five years of service. These are the employees most apt to leave. "This is our attempt to engage those employees and keep them," Schmitter says.

A recent Merit Systems Protection Board study of 37,000 employees at 24 U.S. federal agencies found Nortel is on the right track, reporting: “Employees should also be shown that they are valued from the first day on the job.”

Do you include recognition and appreciation as part of your onboarding strategy? How are you introducing your employees to the company culture you want to create across your organization? Join the discussion in comments.

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