Recognition Steps Up in 2023

HR priorities evolve with the workplace every year, and 2023 looks to be no different. The big trend heading into the new year, according to research from Lattice: a shift in focus away from talent acquisition and towards employee retention.

Lattice’s 2023 State of People Strategy Report surveyed over 800 HR professionals from around the globe, particularly North American and Europe, to learn about their concerns, successes, and priorities. While 39% listed talent acquisition as a top priority last year, only 17% said the same this time around. Instead, the most cited priority is employee engagement, with 41% of HR professionals listing it as a top priority. Rounding out the top three HR priorities are manager training (35%) and learning and development (34%).

These priorities reflect a change in perspective on how best to navigate the labor force challenges of the past few years. Instead of focusing on hiring new talent, HR is more concerned with retaining current talent, rather than losing them to more tempting opportunities elsewhere. That’s why 86% of HR teams in the Lattice survey say they’re putting more effort into improving employee engagement, and 83% report being “somewhat” or “significantly” invested in retention than before.

Retention efforts are likely to look different in each organization, but a few overarching strategies can be helpful across the board. Higher pay is an “obvious” solution, but it’s also not necessarily possible for every team at every organization. Effective solutions could also include better transparency (on pay and other aspects), career development opportunities, more feedback, and clear career paths.

Employee appreciation initiatives, including a formally structured gifting and recognition program, can also help with retention and engagement. After all, employees want to know that their hard work is genuinely appreciated, and if they feel taken for granted, they’re much more likely to start looking elsewhere. As with any other form of employee engagement, take the time to consider what your employees would like best in a recognition program, which milestones or events to celebrate, and how to make it feel truly personal. These programs can be one more piece of the puzzle to help build a culture where employees feel a sense of purpose, know that they’re appreciated, and can clearly see a long-term future, and that’s a positive for everyone!

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