Business Briefs: More Than Cash to Keep Employees, Public Interest Relations & Check Your Review Photo Background

Welcome to The Metropreneur’s newest series: Business Briefs. The world of academic publications features fascinating findings from real-world experiments in business and the marketplace. Here are some key takeaways and applicable nuggets of knowledge that may be helpful for your business.

Employee Retention: Beyond Cash Draws

Retaining employees isn’t just an issue for Ohio businesses, it’s a nation-wide concern. 

Money is one way to keep employees happy. But it’s not the only way. Feeling appreciated is important too. In a study published this summer in the Human Resource Management Journal, researchers evaluated employee reactions to non-cash rewards that included verbal congratulations, special mentions, and written memos.  

The authors surveyed 221 employees over a two-year period. They measured the efficacy of the non-cash rewards by monitoring “turnover intentions” (whether the employee was looking to move on) as well as whether the employees actually left their organizations.

Unsurprisingly, the authors found that organizational pats-on-the-back make it more likely that employees will want to stay. More interesting is an additional factor that’s also important for retention: balance. There has to be a balance between what is called “distal” and “proximal” recognition. Examples of proximal recognition would be compliments from customers or colleagues. Examples of distal recognition would be official organizational appreciation. Distal and proximal recognition need to be in balance. 

So if colleagues celebrate an employee…then then organization needs to be celebrating that employee as well. And if the organization celebrates an employee, then it should work to ensure that the employee is receiving informal appreciation from colleagues or customers. Per the research, balance makes a difference in retention. 

Read more here

Employees Perceptions of Non-Monetary Recognition Practice and Turnover: Does Recognition Source Alignment and Contrast Matter? – Denis Chênevert, Kevin Hill, & Steven Kilroy, Human Resource Management Journal

PR or PIR?

PR is a relatively well-known acronym for “public relations.” PIR might be less familiar: it’s an acronym for Public Interest Relations. 

An analyst from the University of Maryland focused on how the AARP leveraged 28 Town Halls as a promotional program that simultaneously served the greater community. That makes it a PIR project. The analyst noted that three defining features of the project made it successful as PIR (1) The AARP program highlighted common ground, universal elements that tied participants together (2) The AARP program dispersed valuable, high-quality information to serve the public’s interest, and (3) The AARP program provided further resources to allow participants to engage with the organization and its experts.

Following this pattern allows a business to promote itself, as it contributes to the greater good. 

Read more here

Serving Public Interests and Enacting Organizational Values: An Examination of Public Interest Relations through AARP’s Tele-Town Halls – Lindsey B. Anderson, Public Relations Review

Background Matters

All of us tend to do a little online research before we make a purchase. Even though consumer reviews are sometimes “sponsored,” they still feel like useful information. Consumer reviews feel closer to the straight scoop than official marketing materials.

If you’re on the selling end of the deal, then consider curating the backgrounds of sponsored consumer review photos. New research published in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Business Research is helpful. Researchers conducted a series of four studies on business students. What they were testing is the impact of a review photo’s background on a product’s desirability. Some highlights:

  1. A mass-market product loses appeal when the background of its review reflects a low socioeconomic status (in the study, a dirty kitchen was used as such a background).
  2. A high-end product may benefit from limited low socioeconomic status photo backgrounds, because it makes the product seem accessible.
  3. The authors suspect that consumer attention to backgrounds indicates something broader about humans and judgment…that is, findings about how we judge backgrounds in consumer reviews, may be generalizable for our personal background choices in videos and remote meetings.

Read more here

How Much is a Picture Worth? Online Review Picture Background and its Impact on Purchase Intention – Mingyue Zhang, Haichuan Zhao, & Haipeng (Allan) Chen, Journal of Business Research