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December 2013

Recognition Council Highlights New Workforce Realities

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A white paper issued by the Incentive Marketing Association's Recognition Council, titled "The Recognition Revolution," underscores the importance of taking bold new moves to recognize and motivate a workforce that is increasingly becoming a largely virtual "workforce community" comprised of core employees, strategic partners, outsourced functions and independent workers, rather than a mainly homogenous group of bona fide employees.

In the paper, the Council points out how the effects of the recent economic recession have combined with the realities of a global marketplace to create a more tightly integrated relationship among a diverse set of workers who are all focused on a specific work activity even though they are not directly employed by one company.

"We are discovering that recognizing and motivating desired behaviors among this expanded network of talent have become a significant dynamic within the changing recognition landscape," said Carla Rea DeFlorio, CAE, executive director of the Incentive Marketing Association. "In fact, given the changing characteristics of 'doing work,' we may have already come to a time when it is more appropriate to talk about 'workforce engagement' rather than 'employee engagement.'" The paper also highlights how the increasing role of independent and contract workers has changed many well established recognition practices such as service awards, retention, recruiting, on-boarding and peer-to-peer recognition. It concludes that "organizations that embrace this new free-agent mentality by amending their engagement strategies will be in the best position to succeed."

This newest insight from the Recognition Council is part of its continuing mission as the strategic industry group of the IMA responsible for increasing awareness of how recognition and reward programs should be leveraged by organizations to drive their business plans. The complete paper is available at