Top 4 Employee Engagement Trends for 2017

Are you seeing what we’re seeing? Employee recognition programs have changed dramatically over the past five years. This shift parallels a growing understanding of the importance of retaining top-performing employees and re-engineering employee recognition as a core business function. What’s behind this change?  Numerous studies demonstrate that companies that include strategic recognition as a measurement within their strategic plan show improvements in engagement, productivity, retention, customer service, and morale.

Here are four ways that forward-thinking organizations are harnessing employee recognition to impact business outcomes in 2017:

1) Regular feedback is replacing the annual review

Are performance reviews still a once-a-year event in your organization? Millennials—and soon Gen Z—are not prepared to wait a year to get feedback on how they’re performing. These groups grew up in a mobile world of online conversations, instant responses, and constant feedback and they expect this in the workplace too. Organizations are starting to realize this and act on it… because they know they’ll lose them otherwise.

2) Top-down recognition only is becoming a thing of the past

Not only do millennials expect regular feedback, they expect to receive it via mutual ongoing conversation—not through the hierarchy-led, top-down processes of the past. Many companies have worked hard to create a culture of recognition, but they’ve focused on developing managers to “do” recognition. While manager input will always be important, peer-to-peer recognition also plays a role in helping employees feel valued and connected to the organization.

3) Employee recognition is being integrated into human capital management strategies

There’s a new strategic value being placed on not just motivating the team, but identifying precisely the types of behavior that translate into business success. Increasingly, recognition programs are valuable coaching opportunities that reinforce desired employee behaviors, which can result in more effective sales, enhanced customer experiences, and longer-lasting customer loyalty.

4) New talent looks for cultures of recognition

In the red-hot competition for qualified new hires, it’s becoming clear that job seekers respond favorably to businesses that actively promote a culture of recognition. Businesses with cultures that “clearly value innovation, people development and strategic thinking attract higher quality employees,” notes business author Rob Peters. “Intelligent organizations utilize recognition as a way to regularly advance the aspects that make up a high performing culture.”

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