Improving retention through a culture of recognition


Like many employers with large frontline associate populations, HMSHost has struggled to retain its entry-level workers, losing three out of four associates within the first year of employment. Through associate survey data, HMSHost discovered that a lack of recognition from Managers for a job well done was a key reason for the lack of associate engagement and ultimately turnover. At the same time, managers believed they sufficiently recognized associates. This disconnect led HMSHost to focus their efforts on associate recognition in the workplace.


Through associate focus groups and their work with the Gallup Organization, HMSHost learned that the most meaningful recognition needed to be authentic, specific and timely. With this in mind, HMSHost created “Shout Out”, a simple recognition tool with the aim of increasing associate engagement and, ultimately, retention by creating a culture of appreciation. They selected 3 airport locations that employed large populations of youth in which to launch the pilot.  HMSHost understood that the adoption of the “Shout Out” program relied heavily on managers understanding the influence they have on associate engagement and role modeling the usage of the program. Because managers were asked to drive this program, training was provided to accompany the roll-out of the tool.

The Outcome

HMSHost utilized the Gallup Q12 engagement survey to assess the impact “Shout Out” had on associate engagement.  Within just three months of launching the program, HMSHost observed a slight uptick in associate engagement scores in pilot locations. Additionally, they observed both managers and associates embrace the program and make it their own within their work environments.  Associates are proudly sharing their “Shout Outs” on social media using #HMSHostShoutOut.  Due to the success of the pilot, “Shout Out” has now been rolled out company-wide and is becoming a go-to tool to support recognition efforts throughout the organization.