Recognise This! – Employees are regaining control of their value in the workplace.

Where does employee retention fall in your priorities for 2011 list? Too many are still complacent, believing the poor job market will keep workers in place. But hiring is steadily ticking up and unemployment steadily falling.

How at risk are you? According to MetLife’s Ninth Annual Study of Employee Benefit Trends:
• 1 in 3 employees are a flight risk
Employee loyalty at a three year low, dropping 11 percentage points (after a steady decline)
• Employee satisfaction is also dropping at a rate of 8 percentage points over the last three years

Since employers also admit being less focussed on employee satisfaction and work-life balance at the same time they’re report dramatic productivity gains is it any wonder employees are less loyal to the companies trying to wring blood from a stone?

Forbes reported a much worse scenario of 74% of workers would consider leaving if offered another job. What will you do when those top performers do choose to leave for a better environment? Towers Watson tells us 52% of US employers say it’s difficult to attract “critical skill” employees and 25% say it’s hard to retain top performers.

Signs employees are ready to walk:

1) You no longer value employees. Have you stopped recognising and appreciating your employees for the good work they do? Our Employee Mood Tracker found 78% say being recognised for their efforts motivated them in their job. Simply saying “thanks!” has a powerful effect. Towers Watson research found “reward policy and practice is the number one driver of intent to stay.”

2) You haven’t communicated change. Yes, change is inevitable. And usually employees will be on board with it — if you tell them what you need them to do, not just the esoteric “change.”

3) You’re ignoring employee well being and engagement, even as the economic environment improves.
What does this mean? When I feel valued – when I believe my contributions are helpful to my team members, my customers, my company – I perform at my peak. But only 10% of employees feel like they’re vital company assets. Employee engagement is another key indicator of intent to stay. If people are engaged with their work and the culture of your company (their working environment), they will not easily leave.

Where does your company lie in this picture? Ready to make good on the “employment promise” to do right by employees or still living in the recession mindset of “employees are just grateful to have a job?”