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The Illuminating Project team believes that data can drive better business decisions.  It is for this reason that we anonymously survey employees regarding their work satisfaction, including the work environment and company culture.  We analyze the data and share the unbiased results with the management team at the end of each project.  

Illuminating Project's success in employee retention is also supported by research throughout various industries.  Below is a summary of evidence-based research on employee appreciation, retention, engagement, and related topics.  This page is frequently updated, so we encourage you to visit it often.  The staff at Illuminating Project has conveniently summarized the research for you, but we provide you with a full citation to the original papers if you would like to learn more.   


The retention of a talented workforce is a critical issue for businesses. Talent is the driving force for business success, and many employees leave due to lack of professional challenges, lack of recognition, and lack of career growth. This study looked at the impact of employee recognition on the retention of talented workforce in the workplace. Through an employee questionaire, this study showed that management can apply various approaches to retain good talent. The findings suggest that employee rewards, recognition, motivation, and effective management are some of the factors business leaders need to address to minimize employee turnover.

The survey results support the importance of employee recognition as an effective leadership tool. Employees value personalized, specific, attentive, and sincere appreciation. Most employees feel more recognition is highly desirable, and prefer recognition based on efforts contributing to organizational success rather than based on tenure at the company. Increased recognition of talent is crucial for management to meet productivity, motivation, and retention challenges. Sincere recognition is a potent tool for effective leadership, and it is often overlooked in many workplaces.

Recognition and appreciation are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings. Recognition is about giving positive feedback based on results or performance, such as awards, bonuses, promotions, or raises. It can be meaningful and motivating, but it is performance-based, based on the past, scarce, and typically comes from senior leaders. Financial incentives can backfire in motivating employees, as they may reduce their natural inclination to complete tasks. Appreciation, on the other hand, is about acknowledging a person's inherent value, not their accomplishments. Recognition is about what people do, while appreciation is about who they are. Focusing solely on recognition can miss out on opportunities to connect with and support team members. Oprah Winfrey's speech at Harvard highlighted the importance of appreciation in human experience, stating that we all want to be validated and understood. Showing appreciation to colleagues, customers, managers, and partners can build trust and connect, ultimately leading to a more successful and engaged workforce.

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