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Fixing Employee Engagement

Rachel Reed
7/19/17 11:02 AM

A study by SHRM found that 80% of organizations currently have a recognition program in place. However, people around the world are still disengaged in their work. That is, only 15% of workers worldwide are engaged. Even more shocking is Japan’s latest statistic: 94% of workers are dissatisfied with their work and are not engaged. In the US, only 30% are engaged, leaving a large majority (70%) of American workers who are not engaged.

Engagement is Important, We Know. 

A Gallup study shows that highly engaged business units enjoy a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity. Organizations with successful engagement strategies also receive 10% higher customer satisfaction ratings and a 20% increase in sales. All of these stats are fantastic for businesses, but why do reports still show that employees aren’t engaged? Simply discussing the idea of an employee engagement strategy is a great start to improving things around the workplace. However, like any other business initiative, results will not be achieved without planning, practice, and proof.

Tips for fixing employee engagement



Step back.

Have you tried implementing a recognition program only to have it kick off with a bang and fade out completely over time? Revisit the original motivation behind building a program and analyze what may have stunted its growth. Do you have the full participation of managers and employees alike? Is there one department or figure designated to own and manage the program? Are the incentives offered things that your employees actually want? Between communication plans and daily maintenance of the program, be sure to take a step back and ensure the program aligns with company values, is highly promoted, and is carefully analyzed for results.


If designated employees were appointed to manage the program, regroup with them and freshen up a communication plan for the program to encourage use. Promote the program with fresh branding. Create newsletter emails or printed flyers. Have creative business cards printed and hand them out with donuts on a Friday. Be sure to communicate the importance of recognition first from a top-down level, and encourage peer-to-peer recognition.



Pick a medium.

If your recognition program is producing less than stellar results, evaluate the tools used to manage it. Is it a very detailed spreadsheet? A digital task manager? Whiteboard? Poker chips? One study found that 13% of employers don't use a technology platform for their recognition initiatives, and 25% of the programs don't have a social recognition component. Take a look and evaluate your options. Maybe your workforce is largely digital. Whether it’s standard email or communication apps like Slack, Trello, or Asana, a healthy majority of US workers are accustomed to digital communication. Consider moving the program to an online platform that allows employees to interact with one another in a way that mirrors common business practices or through social media. Badges and gamification have been shown to increase employee use of recognition programs.


Don’t Have an Employee Recognition Program?

Increase conversations.

Maybe you've discussed the idea of building a recognition program, but haven't gotten around to it. A simple place to start is communication with your people. Remember traditional performance evaluations? Try more frequent, individualized conversations about performance and create an improvement or growth plan tailored to an individual. Find out how they think they're performing, what they like and dislike about the organization's current landscape, their position within the company, and their peers. Simply (but consistently) interacting with employees will begin to boost morale. This level of personalization will allow each employee to feel that their contribution is valued, who will then strive to improve for personal growth, as well as for the good of the company. Use the collected information on your employees and the newly formed rapport to build the foundation for a recognition program.  


employee recognition guide

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