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Recognition and Retention

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Mike Douglas, Command Chief
  • 126th Air Refueling Wing

One frequent problem organizations and businesses alike face is retaining quality individuals in their workforce; the Air National Guard is no different.  The Air National Guard spends considerable amounts of money recruiting and training our Airmen only to watch many of these recruits complete their initial contracts and separate from the military.

When researching the topic of employee retention, employee recognition was frequently identified as a means to retain employees.   Although the Air National Guard has many formalized methods of employee recognition, leaders and supervisors sometimes fall short of properly recognizing our Airmen.  

Failure to recognize the accomplishments of our Airmen is not a new challenge for the Air Force. While visiting the Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy, I discovered an article written in 1980 by former Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James McCoy.  In the article, Chief McCoy wrote about a Chief Master Sergeant who retired with more than 28 years of service, never receiving so much as an Air Force Commendation Medal throughout his entire career.  While this seems hard to believe, I am confident some of our own Airmen have stood by silently without formal recognition for their dedicated service and professional accomplishments.

I encourage all leaders and supervisors to make a conscious effort to recognize our greatest asset, our Airmen.   While I know we value our Airmen and the sacrifices their families make on behalf of the Air National Guard, formally recognizing an Airman may improve morale and help us retain our most valuable resources.