The old adage that we get more with honey than vinegar holds true when it comes to attracting and maintaining a strong workforce. And in today’s economy, there can’t be enough honey spread around says Tina Weede, the Board Vice President of Recognition Professionals International, which is the only industry association dedicated to educating, improving, and advancing employee recognition and rewards in the workplace.With Weede’s extensive background in performance improvement and recognition in both business-to-business and consumer marketing, I asked her to provide some insights and direction on the intersection of recruitment and retention through recognition.According to Weede, recruitment of top talent can only lead to retention when the workplace fosters an environment where employee engagement is understood and appreciated. Employee engagement is the emotional attachment (good or bad) that an employee has to their job and to the company they work for.Employees with lower engagement are four times more likely to leave their jobs than those who are highly engaged. Highly engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to leave their companies. High potential associates have the potential, ability and aspiration for leadership and are valuable assets in the competitive business landscape. (Source: Driving Performance and Retention Through Employee Engagement, Corporate Leadership Council). Weede proposes the following five ways to move recognition forward to influence retention:1. Be a good listener by communicating frequently on both the good and the bad.2. Create avenues that give people a voice like leadership or associate advisory councils or high potential associate teams.3. Ask employees what motivates them and then act on it!4. Offer formal, informal and spot award opportunities.5. Provide training and enrichment opportunities for every associate.As far as the cost of not doing this? Tina Weede reminds us that research shows direct replacement costs can reach as high as 50%-60% of an employee’s annual salary, and total costs of turnover range from 90% to 200% of annual salary. So sweeten up and get your honey juices flowing!