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Combat the Great Resignation With an Effective Employee Recognition Program

The Great Resignation is real and getting scary for employers. According to the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 4.5 million Americans left their jobs in November 2021—continuing the longest string of months with more than 4 million resignations since the statistic has been recorded. Sure, a lot of these notices were filed due to low pay, poor working conditions and toxic workplaces, but even companies with a good track record are dealing with unusually large turnover as a result of pandemic fatigue and resignation contagion where employees are motivated to move on when they see their co-workers calling it quits.

Besides creating a great place to work, what can employers do to stop this mass exodus of talent?

It’s pretty simple, actually. Employees want to feel like they’re making a contribution to their organization and that they are being put in a position where they have a chance to grow and thrive. This feeling of accountability improves morale and improves retention—nipping resignation contagion in the bud before it becomes a major disruption.

One way to give employees a sense of value and purpose is to recognize their hard work and expertise through an employee recognition program based on digital credentials. The benefits of recognition programs for employees can be extremely valuable. More than just a repository of badges and certifications, an effective employee recognition program powered by digital credentials allows employees to communicate their achievements, exemplify their unique skills and knowledge, showcase their qualifications internally, reflect on their career development path, and promote and amplify their personal brand.

However, there’s a stark difference between merely creating a program and launching a successful program. Everyone wants to work for an organization that values and recognizes their work, but creating and validating a successful program takes time and effort. Digital badges can streamline how colleagues and managers recognize employees. If not done properly, employee recognition can be seen as an extra duty in addition to the main responsibilities, causing it to fall down the priority list.

Five effective practices for building an effective employee recognition program

1. Make it easy to give and receive a digital badge

Ease of use is extremely important for getting buy-in from stakeholders across the organization to incorporate digital badges into an employee recognition program. Creating, validating and issuing a badge shouldn’t be a manual process that takes a lot of time. People are already busy with their regular, day-to-day responsibilities. You really don’t want to put yet another thing on their plate.

Employee credentialing workflows need to be simplified and streamlined through automation. These workflows should integrate with your learning management system (LMS) or Learning Experience Platform (LXP), so a badge is automatically awarded upon completion of a course or learning pathway. The actual learning courses should be easily accessible as well through a digital platform, allowing employees to complete courses on their own terms on any screen.

2. Provide something for everyone

Workforces can be quite diverse—especially at large, global organizations. And, your employee recognition program should reflect that. Certifications and badges for a bank teller in a branch office may not be applicable to a marketing executive at corporate headquarters. Same with a sales associate in a retail store versus a web developer on the commerce team. A diverse program that recognizes different skill sets, personality types and even ages helps bring people together rather than create a wedge between different roles within the organization.

3. Put meaning behind digital credentials

It’s critical that you create credential-worthy curriculums that really are valued rather than integrating badges for badges’ sake. What skills are valuable in your workforce? Does your organization have any common paths for internal mobility or role-specific training? Digital credentials backed by skills tags, earning criteria and other metadata give employees the power to visualize their career path at your organization—and helps L&D and talent development teams monitor top skills across its workforce. Encouraging business owners and people managers to include digital badging in their internal training programs ensures that applied skills, talent and accomplishments are being identified and recognized by the people on the front lines rather than just a corporate team that’s several steps removed from the work. Those direct users can then work closely with L&D or talent development teams to write the metadata and design the digital badge to add a sense of creativity and sense of ownership to the process.

This approach should be backed by a governance program led by the learning team that ensures reasonable standards are being met without limiting accessibility.

4. Award badges for involvement

You certainly don’t want to gamify when issuing your badges, but giving people a sense of accomplishment for mastering a soft skill or contributing to the workplace culture can help build a sense of pride in the contribution they make to the company outside their regular responsibilities.

Employee recognition program examples include recognizing people for managing or mentoring an intern, recruiting a new member of the team, or participating in a day of service. Digital badges can also help recognize people for being part of a task force or special committee. In the past, these people may have been rewarded with pizza in the breakroom or an office outing, but permanent badges follow employees throughout their career at your company and beyond, giving them cache with colleagues and a nod to your company as an employee-first organization.

5. Continuously promote and advocate

A strong communication and marketing plan is also essential when building and rolling out your digital credential program. This can be a big launch event, a series of articles on the Intranet, or a promo video when you reach 1,000 badges. You can even reach prospective employees by encouraging your existing workforce to share their badges with their professional network on LinkedIn and other social media networks, which signals your company as one dedicated to training, developing, and upskilling its employees. In fact, employees are 42% more likely to remain with a company long-term if they receive training that helps them perform their work at a higher level. Anything you can do to get the program out in front of employees will go a long way toward improving adoption. People like being recognized, and they like recognizing other people. You just have to make it easy for them through an intuitive, automated digital credential program that doesn’t take time away from their regular duties.

Get ahead of the Great Resignation

While the Great Resignation shows no signs of slowing down, employers can stem the loss of talent by building, implementing, and promoting an effective employee recognition program powered by digital credentials and badges. Making it easy for employees to recognize and be recognized allows people to feel like a valued member of the team and know they are developing critical skills for their career. For employers, it can be a great way to boost morale, improve retention and recruitment, and stem the tide of talent flowing out of the organization due to the Great Resignation.

Schedule a demo with Credly today to learn how you can create and automate an engaging employee recognition program with digital credentials.