Feature Article - September/October 2012

Employee Engagement Roundtable

Game Components, Social Media, Mobile Are Top Industry Trends

By Deborah L. Vence

Q: What is the outlook for employee engagement for the next few years? What do you see happening in the future?

Hendrickson: If only I had that crystal ball. The concept of employee engagement is not new, but the buzz-phrase is well-used over the past few years. And, of course, the past few years have offered the theory and technology to measure employee engagement. My guess is that companies will continue to incorporate engagement-friendly elements into their overall structure so that it becomes a way of work-life rather than a defined "program."

Wilson: I see social media playing a key role in engagement over the next few years. I think it is important that the focus remain on the employee. The quality of your team is what is truly important.

Ryan: I do think many businesses want to connect with employees on a personal level, which can be a daunting communications task. But, again, with the right technology, that becomes a reality. One of the unspoken objections with employee recognition is the effort managers think it will take in awarding employees through a new external system. But the mechanics of today's employee recognition solutions are growing in sophistication and the process of recognizing employees can be user-friendly, seamless and intuitive. Companies that use recognition technology like Madison's make recognition part of the normal workflow. It becomes an instinctual reflex rather than a chore.

Chism: The future is bright not only for today's workers but also HR professionals who care deeply about this issue because organizations are starting to see just how important the issue of employee engagement is to the overall success of the business. It's not an easy topic with a silver bullet, and as the competition in the labor market picks up and we see increasing diversity in our workforce, employee engagement may become more difficult and complex, but just because something is difficult does not mean it's not worth doing. Organizations that make employee engagement a focus for everyone in the organization, not just the C-suite, will realize the benefits in many different ways, including the almighty bottom line.