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A Case Study on Peer Recognition: Proven to Reduce Turnover, Increase Pride & Satisfaction

July 26, 2010

Anticipated churning in the labor marketplace is a call to action for employers. Learning how to effectively recognize, reward, and inspire your workforce will pay great dividends to the health of your organization and its employees.

In an effort to increase partnership and morale following a dismal employee satisfaction survey, hospital leaders at Crittenton Hospital Medical Center in north suburban Detroit created a cross-departmental Employee Pride/Satisfaction Team to work on a number of projects. Read on, their results were astonishing.

Efforts included:

> Hospital-wide communication, with senior leaders attending deparmtne meetings to learn first-hand the challenges facing managers and employees
> An improved intranet site where employees and physicians can recognize one another for exceptional acts of caring
> Events and outing to build community

The result was a 5.4-point jump in the overall partnership mean score in Crittenton’s 2010 Press Ganey Employee Partnership Survey, which pushed the hospital to the 76th percentile nationally, up from the 56th percentile in 2008 and just the 26th percentile in 2007. Perhaps the single most tangible sign of the success of the program is a dramatic reduction staff turnover. In 2007, total hospital turnover was 10.7%. By 2009, it had plummeted to just 5%.

Among nurses, the improvement has been nothing short of spectacular. In 2007, RN turnover was an unhealthy 15.5%. By 2009, it was just 1.2%.

What the release did not mention, which is certainly noteworthy, is the likelihood that not all of the decrease can be be solely attributed to the new program. A news release from The Herman Trend Alert on June 23, 2010 supports the notion regarding employee cocooning as a result of the economic meltdown that severely hampered job mobility.

“There is an attitudinal shift happening in today’s labor marketplace, and it is not good news for employers. As we have said in previous Herman Trend Alerts, increase in consumer confidence result in churning in the labor marketplace. More people are able to find jobs; others feel confident enough to quit them without firm offers. They are seeing more hiring and a strengthening economy. It is interesting to note that in the United States more people quit their jobs in the last three months than those who lost their jobs. After 15 straight months of time in which layoffs exceeded voluntary departures, it appears that the job market is finally shifting. My guess is that the same phenomenon is being seen in some other countries, notably Brazil, India, Malaysia, and Singapore, whose economies are well into recovery already.

In September 2009, the number of people in the U.S. who voluntarily left their employers fell by 40% to 1.72 million, the lowest level since the government began tracking the data in the year 2000. That figure was down from nearly 2.9 million in December 2007, when The Great Recession began. In a related development, on-quarter of our business community’s most promising employees are increasingly disengaged and many are actively seeking new employment opportunities. A recent study on employee engagement, conducted by the Corporate Executive Board’s Corporate Leadership Council (CLC), found that 25% of the ’employer-identified, high-potential employees’ plan to leave their current companies in the next near. That is an increase of 250% when compared with the figure from 2006.

Moreover, 21% of today’s employees identified themselves as ‘highly disengaged’. This group has increased nearly 300% since 2007. Based on its findings, CLC believes that businesses must place greater emphasis and urgency around leadership succession planning to ensure future success and preserve the bottom line.

As in 2002 to 2003 in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, workers are corporate cocooning. The pressure to increase productivity, while reducing staff, has left today’s worker s feeling overworked, under-appreciated, and burned-out. Once more people feel confident that they will be able to find other jobs, we will see unprecedented churning in the labor marketplace.” This alone is reason enough to look back on the success achieved at Crittenton Hospital Medical Center and begin to focus on building a culture that values individual contributions and promotes peer recognition.

To learn more about building an effective culture of recognition in your workplace, visit

To demo the latest in peer recognition software and discover the benefits for your company, visit

Contributed by: Greg Butterfield, Partner, Terryberry Company


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