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Engagement levels dropped during economic downturn

Employee reward programs that clearly outline how success will be defined will see higher levels of participation and better end results.

The economic downturn of the last few years is having a negative effect on employee engagement levels. Mercer’s 2012 Attraction and Retention Survey showed that nearly twice as many organizations report low levels of employee engagement compared to 2010.

Almost a quarter (24 percent) of the surveyed firms stated their engagement levels were reduced due to recent cutbacks and additional workloads, compared to just 13 percent of respondents in 2010.

“Employee loyalty has been eroding the past few years due to companies’ responses to the economic downturn,” said Loree Griffith, Principal with Mercer’s Rewards consulting business in the US. “Meanwhile, firms are still aggressively managing people costs while finding ways to re-energize and re-motivate engaged employees.”

According to the survey more businesses were turning to merit based incentives to boost productivity and motivation. Ninety-five percent of firms stated they had employee reward programs, but companies appear to have problems getting the motivation to stick.

Making engagement programs stick
Gallup Business Journal notes there are a few steps that business leaders can take to keep employee motivation and engagement high at their companies. One suggestion is to accurately define and share goals. These could be set for the entire organization, or on a more individual basis, but staff members need to know where they are expected to end up. Without a clear goal workers will continue along the same path, which could be frustrating for both staff members and their supervisors.

Employee reward programs that clearly outline how success will be defined will see higher levels of participation and better end results. Businesses that use employee input to form their programs could see more enthusiasm for the initiative, according to the source. Building incentive programs from the ground up encourages communication and an open dialog that is essential to maintaining high levels of engagement throughout the program. Taking the time to recognize early successes could also keep workers motivated longer.

Public recognition of a few individuals may inspire other team members to work harder. This can be especially true if the company provides worthwhile rewards. While cash rewards are common, companies have increased their use of non-cash rewards. The Mercer survey found that more businesses are offering non-cash rewards than two years ago.

Allowing employees to select from a range of merchandise is a simple way to ensure that everyone is able to receive a worthwhile rewards. Working with an incentive specialist like Xceleration provides businesses with the means to provide a wide selection of rewards without a lot of additional costs.

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