Retention in the defense industry has always been a sticking point. Cleared employees can hop from contractor to contractor as they battle wins, losses, and LPTA contracts, among other things. For recruiters, retention means one less billet to fill as your company tries to grow and win more work and positions.

Employer branding and workplace culture are putting pressure on HR / recruiting teams to make sure turnover rates remain low in a tight labor market as we close out 2022. According to a report by Gallup, data reveals there is a correlation between employee recognition and retention. Employees that are recognized are five times more likely to feel connected to their workplace culture. When there is solid employee recognition, the company’s workers are also:

  • Five times less likely to leave their position.
  • 44% more satisfied in their life overall.
  • 73% less likely to feel burned out.
  • Four times more likely to be engaged at work.

While you may not have a structured employee recognition program in place, it’s time to implement one before more of your employees flood the exits.


Working as a contract employee can make you feel detached from your employer if you never hear from them or feel that they appreciate the hard work you are doing.

Recognition programs can motivate employees to perform by rewarding them and celebrating them for their dedication to your company. They also provide a platform for employees to experience more public praise of a big win, enhancing your team culture and potentially attracting new talent to join the winning team.

There are a few simple ways to recognize employees for doing a good work, and implementing these across the board can serve as a retention tool when your employees may be toying with leaving your company:

  1. Anniversary recognition on companywide town halls.
  2. Birthday recognition/celebration on team huddles.
  3. Shout-outs on social media when employees receive good customer feedback.
  4. Employee of the month wall to showcase employees that were voted best for each month.
  5. Yearly appreciation party for all employees to be invited to the office for an afternoon.

Of course, all of these coupled with a monetary component takes an employee recognition program to the next level – and will push all employees to take it seriously. But this all doesn’t have to be in the form of a paid bonus/stipend. It could also mean: an extra day of Paid Time Off (PTO), a gift card to a local eatery, a paid training opportunity or the ability to get a new certification, or a free meal with the company president.


Employee recognition is only one way that your HR team can invest in retention, easing the lift on recruiters and turnover rates. Your company should also be offering personal and professional development opportunities, implement a thorough onboarding process to assimilate new hires, encourage managers to host yearly team-building events, and offer anonymous or continuous feedback options so employees feel heard. Above all, companies should follow all of these up with action so employees know you are serious about keeping them.


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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 8+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸