Feature Article - September/October 2012

Employee Engagement Roundtable

Game Components, Social Media, Mobile Are Top Industry Trends

By Deborah L. Vence

Jamiee Chism: In the next three to five years, the labor market will likely look much different than it has in the past three years. However, no matter where the economy is within the business cycle, there is always a demand for good talent that is actively engaged in your organization's success. In the current hyper-competitive global environment, engaged and dedicated employees who are committed and loyal to your organization are going to be a key determinant in the success of your organization. No matter how brilliant leadership's vision for the future is, if the individuals responsible for implementing that vision are not mentally engaged, then even the best strategy will struggle to get off the ground.

Proactive organizations that understand that all levers within the total reward strategy need to be utilized will be able to attract, engage and retain the talent they need to be successful. Organizations' HR professionals find themselves in a tough spot because while they are being asked to do more with less, they are also being asked to be more strategic. At times, these two requests can conflict with each other, and HR professionals are often in a "no-win" situation. Below are a few key points we believe will be important drivers in organizations' constant journey to maintain an engaged workforce.

  • Tight payroll budgets will cause organizations to be creative and utilize all levers within the total reward strategy. No longer can we just throw cash at employees to keep them engaged and loyal to our organizations. Organizations must have a dynamic and robust set of rewards that engages the hearts and the minds of an increasingly global and diverse workforce.
  • Moving forward, we see an increased focus on changing the existing organizational culture in order to adapt to the new marketplace. As HR professionals, we are tasked with how do we change a culture that has taken years to become ingrained into our workforce? A properly designed recognition program can be an important tool to help change behaviors and, ultimately, the entire culture within the organization.

Specifically, in regards to reward and recognition programs:

  • Gamification will become an increasingly critical component in order to engage employees in the right activities and behaviors.
  • Organizations will be increasingly focused on cost containment by combining several existing programs into one easy-to-use platform. Technology will play a huge role in this transition. These integrated platforms will be able to track and monitor results so that organizations understand where their funds are going.
  • Reward and recognition programs will be fighting for a share of the limited resources the organization has. In order for HR professionals to gain access to these funds and prove the worthiness of the programs, an increased focus on return on investment (ROI) will become important. If HR is going to get the support they need, they must be able to articulate the value of the different programs and link that back to a specific metric that demonstrates the ROI.