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Engagement begins at the top

Employee reward and incentive programs can work miracles for worker productivity and engagement.

Employee reward and incentive programs can work miracles for worker productivity and engagement. However, they don't do this by magic – these initiatives need the support and care of upper management in order to be effective. Yet some business leaders make a few errors that hamper these tactics from being successful.

A bad example can be just as useful a good one
One of the most common employee engagement sins managers commit is believing motivation to be a bottom-up process, rather than a top-down one, Scott Ahlstrand, vice president of global HR and talent at Right Management, told Smart Company. Ahlstrand explained that it puts leaders in a position they aren't accustomed to or trained for. Instead of allowing managers to be lead by example, they end up thrust somewhere entirely new to them.

"It forces managers to be something they're not, which is focus-group specialists," he said.

Furthermore, Ahlstrand pointed out that the topic isn't given its proper weight. Managers and department heads end up treating it as yet one more item to check off of a laundry list of tasks rather than considering it to be insight and information that can drive overall business strategy.

So, how can businesses begin to fix the problem? Ahlstrand suggested conducting surveys, explaining to the source that they operate as veritable "medical examinations" by measuring progress and highlighting issues.

However, even some firms are getting these surveys wrong. Gallup Business Journal wrote that many companies begin using surveys only to end up focusing overly on metrics and not enough on creating real, dynamic change. One way to combat this bad habit is by prioritizing transparency and regularly communicating what leaders learn from these tools and what they plan to do to address the issues discovered through them.

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