It’s no secret that demand for IT talent is skyrocketing, with 72% of employers planning on hiring IT staff over the next year. With this much movement in the market, you can imagine that there are lots of IT people getting calls and messages from hiring managers and recruiters.

Obviously, this is a major concern for many employers, but the key to retaining your top talent may be simpler than you think. Beyond competitive compensation, engaging workplaces, and career growth is the simple yet often overlooked factor of employee recognition.

Employee recognition may seem like a fairly straightforward topic, and it may already be implemented to some extent in your workplace. However, it’s worth acknowledging that employee recognition – or the lack thereof – is often one of the most called out problems in the workplace. Even if that’s not the case for your business, it’s a good idea to be aware of the hidden intricacies of this issue.

Public vs. Private
Even if your company does a great job of acknowledging people’s achievements, have you considered the way in which you’re bringing this recognition to light? Are you recognizing an employee’s hard work in a one-on-one meeting or out on the floor addressing your whole department?

Keep in mind – recognition should be for effort that goes beyond the typical workday objectives. If an employee took initiative and went above and beyond to exceed their goals, this is a great opportunity to recognize them. And not only do most people love the publicity of an office-wide announcement, it can also be a great incentive to the rest of your staff.

One final point you may not have considered: Many companies are recently turning to social media to recognize their employees. Posting your “employee of the month” on LinkedIn or Facebook is a zero-cost strategy for employee recognition that also allows for peer acknowledgement within a wider audience.

Recognition vs. Reward
There’s a fine line between recognition and reward that many employers don’t acknowledge. The truth is, they are not an interchangeable nor identical means of identifying an employee’s efforts.

Rewards are typically monetary, or at least tangible, in nature. They are expected to be given in return for reaching existing objectives and goals. On the other hand, recognition should be given as a result of exceptional behavior that goes beyond results-oriented effort. Because of this crucial difference, recognition comes across as much more personal than reward; it means you’re paying close attention to your employees and the way they work. It’s less transactional and more celebratory.

Manager vs. Peers
One final point to consider when evaluating your company’s recognition strategy is who it’s coming from. Traditionally, employee recognition comes from management or supervisors. This is great, but an even stronger form of recognition comes from an employee’s peers.

Fostering a work environment in which coworkers are encouraged to recognize each other’s best efforts is a radical yet highly successful strategy. Think about it: close colleagues often have a much better perspective on what their coworkers are doing and how they’re doing it. Plus, this tactic boosts a collaborative team dynamic and creates a valuable feedback loop.

Whether or not your company has a formal recognition program in place, there are clearly many factors to consider. No matter how you go about acknowledging the outstanding efforts of your employees, it’s a critical step in retaining your top talent.

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