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Every time we talk about employee engagement on TLNT, we get a great response. Cynically, I could say that’s because it’s easy to talk about employee engagement rather than issues like compensation, but I think it is still one of those concepts that managers are really curious about and HR is being asked to lead that conversation.
So what’s in store for 2012?
Recognition, rewards, engagement during the recession
This week, I was able to talk with Rob Catalano who is the Senior Director of Marketing for Achievers. We were able to hit on the history of where this particular niche of HR has come so far and where it will go in the year (or more ahead).
One of the more interesting things that happened since 2008 was that the idea of employee engagement efforts and rewards actually grew during a time of severe economic stress. It seemed more like band-aids on broken legs than a meaningful push to make the workplace better. No workplace reward and no employee engagement effort stands when fellow employees are being laid off left and right.
As the bleeding slowed, it seems like many company’s efforts started paying off. Productivity and engagement in workplaces where there was a real effort to show appreciation actually improved. Turnover stayed low, and employees were satisfied even if the conditions weren’t always ideal.
Along the way, employers tried adding new tricks to their book. What might have started off as an informal recognition program maybe became a little more formal. Some companies developed internal programs, hired consultants or used companies like Achievers or Globoforce to help them out and recognition started to take its place on the mantle alongside other good management practices.
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To 2012 and beyond
So now that we’ve caught up, what’s coming up in 2012? Well, it may not be sexy but it is more of the same: progress. Slow, but steady progress.
Vendor companies will keep pushing the innovation envelope, making sure that their solutions can be accessed globally, as well as via phone or by a remote employee. But more importantly, companies will continue to progress when it comes to the idea of recognition and engagement as a meaningful tool. A company that does nothing might start small. A company that has an informal program might start shopping a stop gap solution.
And when those options run out? They’ll work on ways to make it organization-wide and really think about the impact of what can be accomplished with genuine recognition.
We also talk about much more in this week’s podcast so take a listen.
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