Editor's Desk - July/August 2010

Without Trust, What Do You Get?

o you ever get the feeling that you are saying the same thing over and over again?

For the past six months, I've been a part of that chorus that keeps repeating this line, or some iteration of it:

"If you aren't rewarding and recognizing your workforce now, when the economy—and the job market—recover, you're going to be sorry."

It's an important message, so it bears repeating. And I doubt I'll ever tire of insisting on the importance of recognition and engagement. Without them, your organization will never reach its potential, just as your employees will be far less likely to reach theirs.

We all know about the impact of recognition on engagement. But now, a new study is showing that employees are losing trust in their employers, in their managers, even in their co-workers.

According to a recent poll by Maritz Research, only 11 percent of employees strongly agree that their managers show consistency between their words and actions. And, only 7 percent strongly agree that they trust senior leaders or their co-workers to look out for their best interest. About 20 percent don't believe their company's leader is completely honest and ethical. Around a quarter don't trust management to make the right decisions in times of uncertainty.


The flipside of this coin shows that where there is trust, there is higher employee loyalty and engagement. Nearly two-thirds of those with strong trust in management said they would be happy to spend the rest of their career with their current company. Among those with weak trust in management, that number falls to 7 percent. Half of those with strong trust in management look forward to coming to work, compared with just 3 percent of those with weak trust in management.

Who would you rather have working for you?

So, the question then is: How can you go about building up that important level of trust among your employees?

Because I'm willing to bet that you'd much rather have the loving-their-work, happy-to-spend-their-career-with-you folks on board. And while the survey doesn't directly make the connection, I'm guessing it's a pretty safe bet that those happier, more loyal employees have a positive impact on the performance of the companies they work for. And the grumpier, less loyal ones—well, they probably have an impact, too.

Recognition is an important factor in engagement and employee loyalty. But, according to the Maritz poll, more than one-third of respondents said their company had scaled back or even eliminated their recognition program in the past year.

Rick Garlick, Ph.D., senior director of consulting and strategic implementation, Hospitality Research Group, Maritz Research, called the survey results a "wake-up call for management teams that consider employee recognition programs as expendable." He said, "Not only do recognition programs positively impact employee engagement levels, they ultimately lead to positive customer service perceptions, which impact the bottom line."

Flip through the pages of Premium Incentive Products this month, or any other month, and you'll find this message reinforced time and time again. It's like the song you love to listen to over and over again.

So tell us, what are you doing to ensure recognition continues to deliver benefits for your organization? And what do you think are the most important ways to build trust among your employees?


Emily Tipping,
Editorial Director

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