Research shows that the average cost of replacing a member of staff is over £25,000, taking into consideration internal administration, advertising, interviewing and associated costs, training of a new recruit, impact on staff morale and additional stress, drop in workflow and productivity, and therefore overall profit levels. This includes an estimated 28 weeks before a new employee is up to speed with their new role. It is, however, notable that unnecessary loss of good staff (and the associated costs) can be avoided by simply adopting new behaviours in the culture of the organisation.

Studies across the internet from Undercover Recruiter, Businesszone, HR Grapevine, Real Business, Huffington Post, Monster, Morgan McKinley, give a range of reasons for people leaving jobs, and salary is rarely at the top of the list. In fact, generally it’s not even in the top five. What does always feature in the top five, is something variously described as ‘not being valued’, ‘efforts not being recognised’, ‘feeling unappreciated’, ‘company doesn’t recognise contributions or reward good work’, ‘not enough support’, ‘company doesn’t care about employees’ and ‘feeling invisible’. In fact, in their recent slightly nutty, but memorable TV advertising campaign, ‘Love Mondays’, recruitment company Reed use ‘Jane’s’ feeling of being unappreciated as her reason for leaving her job.

In contrast to the extortionate costs and disruption of replacing an unhappy member of staff (now happy as they trot off to work for a competitor who recognises their worth), applying a bit of simple human encouragement and appreciation not only helps to retain staff and avoid upheaval, but naturally reverses the negative process, where commitment, loyalty and productivity are all increased. So instead of a downturn, profits actually increase. Employee recognition experts O.C. Tanner illustrate this very clearly in their extensive research laid out in The Carrot Principle by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton.

Recognition, appreciation, encouragement, reward, come naturally to some, but not to everyone, and need to be approached with care and sincerity; ensuring managers are skilled in the Art of Encouragement is an essential element of managerial training too frequently overlooked. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘people buy people’; despite the constant and mesmerising progression in technology, we are and always will be, human beings. Take the humanity out of work and we have reached (as opposed to ‘achieved’) the expectation that people are capable of operating like robots, a scientific advancement too far in my view. I can’t see ‘people buy robots’ catching on. What ‘people buy people’ means is that human beings respond to decent human behaviour, the building of relationships, trust, reliability, support, kindness, likeability, feeling seen and heard, being appreciated and valued. This applies internally as well as externally. Every single employee is an ambassador for the organisation they work for, and expecting them to favourably represent the company whilst feeling unappreciated in their job, is a mistake. Whether you’re working in a café, dealing with customers in a call centre, promoting your company’s services or negotiating complicated business deals, the expression on your face, the tone of your voice, your level of enthusiasm, or your general demeanour, all are influenced by your level of happiness at work, and all are consciously or unconsciously picked up by the customer or client, likewise influencing their inspiration to buy whatever product or service you are offering.

Investing in the happiness and satisfaction of employees is therefore essential good business practice.