Engagement keeps companies thriving

Employers that go beyond the hearty pat on the back to keep employees happy.

Indeed, says employee engagement expert Chester Elton, “a well-said ‘thank you’ is more important to most employees than raises, bonuses or perks.”

He should know. Elton—co-author along with Adrian Gostick of The Carrot Principle: How the best managers use recognition to engage their people, retain talent, and accelerate performance—conducted a 10-year, 200,000-person study on the subject for the just-released book.

The study also revealed, however, that 65 percent of North Americans say they weren’t recognized for their work efforts at all last year and 79 percent of people who leave a job report a lack of appreciation as a reason.

If that’s not proof enough, consider that “the organizations that most effectively recognize excellence have a return on equity that is more than triple that of those that do so the worst,” Elton says.

But what’s the right way to show appreciation to employees? Here’s a hint: “‘Great job, guy!’ and ‘thumbs up!’ don’t cut it,” Elton says.

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