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Recognizing Ourselves

There is no shortage of studies that show that employee recognition programs, when done right, play a significant role in retention of staff. In HR teams across the country, HR professionals toil away in collaboration with management to come up with ways to recognize performance and service that are appropriate and meaningful, and won't become the butt of company jokes.

But who recognizes us?

Kate Moore, RPR
MQ Editor
HR, on any given day, can be the most challenging and emotionally fulfilling of jobs, or the most transactional, routine and emotionally draining. We deal with the highs of hiring excited new employees and the lows of the sick, injured or poorly performing ones. Very often, we are forgotten when it comes time for special recognition of performance because we are the ones who administer the programs in an effort to retain the company's talent.

There's an old expression about shoemaker's families going barefoot. Having worked for several large scale organizations with decentralized HR functions reaching over long distances and many locations, I have seen this happen often. The positive feedback often comes from our clients and not from within HR. We need to remember that we are talent too! In the area where I work and live, there is a shortage of qualified HR professionals and a fair amount of competition to attract them. I have also seen, in the public sector particularly, that the turnover in HR is enormous.

It's time for us to spend some of the time and energy we give to attracting and retaining high quality candidates for our organizations on ourselves. While lack of recognition is certainly not the only reason for this high turnover, it is definitely something I hear from other HR professionals in my network. The feeling that one's work goes unrecognized by one's own management can be very demotivating.

In a discipline where we put so much of ourselves - our energy, our emotions - into our jobs, and where the personal cost can sometimes be high, it seems important to take time out to give each other a pat on the back for a job well done. It doesn't have to be cash, or an expensive gift, but it does need to be meaningful and thoughtful and show how we are valued members of the organization as much as any of the other talent we recruit.


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