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Engagement Industry Briefs

Rewards & Recognition

Wisconsin Wish List: What Gets Your People Pumped?

The state of Wisconsin is home to a number of unique attractions and locales that are prefect for building a rewards program around. Consider what kinds of sites in other states might offer similar personalized incentive possibilities…

Road America, the world-renowned road racing track, is situated on 640 acres just outside the picturesque resort town of Elkhart Lake. It hosts over 400 events a year, including Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) events, the American Le Mans Series, the SPEED World Challenge, the AMA Superbike series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Road America is also home to the Skip Barber Racing School, one of only 12 such schools in the U.S. Contact: www.roadamerica.com/

Lambeau Field. Vince Lombardi. The Frozen Tundra. The Pack. There’s scarcely a football fan alive who hasn’t dreamed of visiting this NFL shrine in Green Bay. Now think of what it would be like to walk out onto Lambeau Field and receive that trophy or award you worked so hard for. Whether your event needs include meeting space for five or a convention center for 1,500, the Lambeau Field Special Events planning team has the expertise and experience to make it happen. Contact: www.packers.com/lambeau-field/

The National Railroad Museum in Ashwaubenon houses over 70 historic locomotives and railcars, including Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4017, the GM Aerotrain and the British Railways A4 Class No. 60008 Dwight D Eisenhower, as well as a wide variety of railroad artifacts, an archive, a photography gallery, a 92-seat theater and the 26,000-square-foot Lenfestey Center. Contact: www.nationalrrmuseum.org

Located in the south central part of the state, The Dells area is home to more than 60 indoor and outdoor water parks, lending credence to its claim of being “The Waterpark Capital of the World.” Noah’s Ark Waterpark opened in Lake Delton in 1979, and has become the largest and the eighth-most-visited water park in the U.S. Other outdoor amusement and water parks have followed, featuring water slides, mini golf, roller coasters, go-karts and other attractions. Contact: www.wisdells.com/

The 130,000-square-foot, three building complex that makes up the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee contains more than 450 Harley-Davidson motorcycles and hundreds of thousands of artifacts from the company’s 106-year history. The museum opened in 2008 and attracts some 300,000 visitors a year. The complex also includes a restaurant, café, retail shop and special event spaces – the perfect spot for a motorcycle-themed incentive trip. Accommodations are available at the nearby Iron Horse Hotel. Contact: www.h-dmuseum.com/


Sheridan Address Key Engagement Issues

Avatar HR Solutions CEO Kevin Sheridan addresses key management issues in his two latest books, The Virtual Manager, Career Press, and Building a Magnetic Culture, The McGraw Hill Companies.

The Virtual Manager outlines the benefits of having a virtual workforce, the challenges they create, and how to address them. Sheridan’s practical approach addresses the issues related to building trust in virtual teams; what to look for in virtual employees (as some people are better suited than others to this lifestyle); the critical role played by employee engagement (and what he feels are the top 10 employee engagement drivers); and how to foster alignment and promoting organizational principles across multiple locations.

Sheridan takes an equally practical, straightforward approach to the topic of attracting and retaining top talent to create an engaged, productive workforce in Building a Magnetic Culture. The book outlines the bottom-line benefits of a magnetic culture; the importance of creating an environment of shared engagement; the critical role of recruitment; the importance of diversity; key trends; and engagement action steps.

? Go to www.hrsolutionsinc.com/Kevin-Sheridan-profile.cfm for more info


Good Corporate Citizenship Impacts Employee Engagement

While the debate about the benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities and good corporate citizenship continues, the question remains: To what extent does “doing good” really matter?

As the culmination of a nine-month project for her Research Analysis and Interpretation course at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy, Sarah Ketvirtis wrote an article outlining the project’s findings. Ketvirtis, who recently graduated from the university’s Masters of Science in Learning and Organizational Change (MSLOC) program in 2012 and is currently the Director of Organizational Development at SymphonyIRI Group, examines the impact of an organization’s corporate citizenship activities internally on employee engagement.

The research focused on the relationship between employee engagement and three categories of externally-focused corporate citizenship: philanthropy, community involvement and social innovation. A group of corporate employees were asked a series of questions to determine whether a relationship between their engagement level at work and the three categories of corporate citizenship existed. The results indicate that organizations that offer corporate citizenship programs do indeed benefit from significantly more engaged employees. In addition, the more committed an organization is to breadth and depth of their corporate citizenship programming and the more hands on employees can be, the higher their engagement scores.

? Download the full research report at www.sesp.northwestern.edu/msloc/knowledge-lens/stories/2012/how-corporate-citizenship-impacts-employee-engagement.html


Definitely Room for Improvement

Only around a third of U.S. workers are engaged vs. two-thirds worldwide. A new Global Workforce Study by Towers Watson says that 63% of U.S. workers are not fully engaged in their work and are struggling to cope with work situations that don’t provide sufficient support. This study breaks new ground in understanding and measuring what contributes to sustained employee engagement in the workplace today, and demonstrates the strength of the relationship between “sustainable engagement” and specific financial outcomes for employers.

“This is an important wake-up call for U.S. companies if they hope to sustain their growth,” says Laura Sejen, Global Practice Leader of Rewards at Towers Watson. “When we looked at sustainable engagement scores among 50 global companies in a related piece of research, organizations with high sustainable engagement had operating margins almost three times higher than those with a largely disengaged workforce. That fact alone creates a compelling case for change.”

And in a similar study by Hay Group, researchers found that, on a worldwide basis, 66% of workers are engaged – rebounding marginally over the last twelve months but still falling significantly behind the world’s highest performing companies, which boast engagement levels of 75%. Hay Group says that global engagement levels had been falling consistently since 2007, reaching just 65% last year before this year’s slight uptick.

“We are seeing a stubborn gap between the discretionary effort employees across the world are willing to put into their work and the level of support available to help them excel,” says Mark Royal, Senior Principal at Hay Group and author of The Enemy of Engagement. “To truly drive productivity, business leaders must understand the role they have to play in enabling high levels of performance – removing the barriers that are holding their employees and their organizations back.”

? More at www.towerswatson.com/press/7563 and www.haygroup.com/ww/press/details.aspx?id=34123


Understanding Employee ‘Value Segments’

While businesses have spent more on employee reward and recognition programs in recent years to attract top talent and retain good employees, only 45.3% of employees feel meaningfully rewarded and recognized by those programs. According to a recent Maritz Motivation Solutions study, companies can improve the effectiveness of the reward and recognition programs they invest in by focusing on participant values. The national study indicated a relationship between how effectively employees felt rewarded and recognized and several factors that can be improved with good program design. These factors include leadership support, reward and recognition efforts of direct managers, appropriate reward options and communications, support of personal goals, alignment with company strategy, reinforcement of consumer-focused actions and alignment with corporate culture and values. To identify opportunities for creating better employee programs, the study focused on distinguishing the specific drives and values of employees relating to reward and recognition programs. Four distinct employee value segments emerged – Altruists, Drivers, Pioneers and Stabilizers. Each segment possesses values unique to their particular segment, specifically about how they work, how they prefer to be rewarded and recognized, and how to effectively communicate to them.

? For more information on the Employee Values study, an infographic and details on each of the four segments, go to www.maritz.com/Employee-Values-Study

Strategies & Tactics

What Drives Engagement?

Aon Hewitt’s 2012 Trends in Global Employee Engagement report recently looked at which engagement drivers had the most positive impact on engagement and opportunity for improvement. According to the analysis, organizations are likely to get the highest return on investment in employee engagement if they focus on improving the following drivers:

  • Career opportunities. For the fourth consecutive year, career opportunities remained the top driver to positively impact overall engagement levels. Now more than ever, organizations must communicate clear career paths, prepare employees for the next role and provide lateral growth opportunities for key people.
  • Recognition. Recognizing the extra effort employees have given in a tough business climate by providing feedback and positive reinforcement will pay big dividends – and it often comes at no cost to the organization. Researchers found that recognition has a higher impact for employees in Asia Pacific and Latin America than in other regions.
  • Organizational reputation. People want to be part of a respected and winning team. Aon Hewitt found that European and North American employees are more concerned about their company’s reputation and what it stands for in the market versus recognition.
  • Communication. Effective and engaging communication resonates with employees in rationally, emotionally and behaviorally relevant ways.

? Download the full report at www.Aon.com/globalengagement


Employees Give Execs ‘No Confidence’ Vote

Less than half of all U.S. employees respond favorably when rating their degree of confidence in their company executives. This finding, based on employee engagement research from management consulting firm DecisionWise, Inc. paints a less-than-favorable picture of the perception most employees have of those leading both large and small organizations.

According to DecisionWise CEO, Dr. Tracy Maylett, the end-results of these statistics are visible in a number of ways: “Lack of support, lowered performance, inability to change, employee attrition, decreased quality and output, and employee burnout are among the many possible negative results we find when confidence in leaders drops. In fact, further statistical correlations from this study show a clear relationship between employee confidence and the ability to retain key talented employees.”

? More at www.decision-wise.com/blog/

Case Study

‘Little Red Flyer Code’ Drives Employee Engagement

A recent article in Workforce Management notes that emphasizing engagement has helped Chicago-based Radio Flyer post double-digit revenue growth each year from 2004 through 2011. Writer Garry Kranz notes that the company’s engagement mantra, known as the “Little Red Flyer Code,” embodies its vision, mission and corporate values. “It connects to the company’s overarching plans for sustained growth, and in turn cascades to goals for individual departments and employees,” says Kranz, adding that employees are challenged to provide “fun” customer experiences, exhibit high integrity and a can-do attitude, and take individual responsibility for sustainable business practices.

Amy Bastuga, Radio Flyer’s VP of Human Resources, notes in the article that prior to its focus on engagement, the company was losing almost half of its new hires but is now retaining about 80%. Employees that don’t embrace the Flyer code usually don’t last long, says Bastuga, and that’s not a bad thing: “If someone doesn’t believe in our vision, mission and values or isn’t applying their talents, then we don’t want to retain them.”

? Read the full article at www.workforce.com/article/20120724/NEWS02/120729983/radio-flyer-relishes-rolling-out-engaged-workers


Secrets of Effective Employee Recognition

New research by Bersin & Associates shows that recognition programs dramatically improve employee engagement and reduce turnover, yet 87% of organizations still rely on outdated tenure-based service level awards. Companies with recognition programs that are highly effective at improving employee engagement have 31% lower voluntary turnover than their peers with ineffective recognition programs. The findings, which appear in a new research report, The State of Employee Recognition in 2012, indicate that recognition plays a much more measurable role in business performance than previously believed. “This new research highlights a huge opportunity for companies to redirect existing expenditures to programs that significantly influence engagement and retention,” says Josh Bersin, President and CEO of Bersin & Associates. “The findings also suggest that recognition programs should align with an organization’s comprehensive performance management strategy to drive business results.”

? To download a copy of the WhatWorks Market Brief on the importance of recognition in performance management, go to http://marketing.bersin.com/Recognition.html


IRF Announces Business Education Series for 2013

The Incentive Research Foundation has announced the creation of a professional development series for progressive practitioners of incentive and recognition programs and the providers whose advice and counsel support their thinking. The program, “Building Better Business Results through Incentives and Recognition,” will be introduced at the 2013 Rewards & Recognition Expo held in conjunction with the Recognition Professionals International Annual Conference, April 28-30, 2013 at the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans, and continue through the spring and summer of 2013. The educational series will provide five hours of education in five of the critical areas of incentive and recognition program development and execution:

  • Business case development
  • Communications planning and execution
  • Award funding and selection
  • Technology and diagnostics
  • Overlaps with other strategic agendas within the organization (operations, marketing, etc.)

Speakers will include IRF President Melissa Van Dyke, Chief Research Officer Rodger Stotz and Mike Ryan, SVP of Madison Performance Group.

? For more information, go to http://theirf.org/Education.6084727.html

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Summer 2012

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