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Bringing meritocracy back to America

The American ideal is centered on the belief that you can make something of yourself, be whatever you want to be, reach for the stars and get there - and so on.

The American ideal is centered on the belief that you can make something of yourself, be whatever you want to be, reach for the stars and get there – and so on. The country was founded on the idea that people shouldn't be ruled according to a strict, rigid class structure or have their lives determined by their family connections. However, as The Economist recently questioned, has America lost its way? Where is meritocracy today?

The magazine pointed to the fact that while income inequality is increasing in the U.S., social mobility has not risen at the same pace. That means that wealth gaps are growing and people don't feel that they can work their way to the top. Even more problematic, such conditions might cause employees to feel trapped, helpless, and apathetic. If working harder won't benefit employees, why should they put forth the effort?

Employee engagement programs that identify, reward and inspire excellence can help to bring meritocracy back into the American workplace. Reward and recognition programs acknowledge actual achievement, not just tenure and attendance. By motivating higher levels of performance and giving greater visibility to successes, these strategies give workers a reason to apply themselves and see where their contributions can take them.

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