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Ideas, Information, Inspiration (Nov/Dec 2010)


Study Links Engagement and Performance

Bret L. Simmons, Ph.D., a professor at the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno whose Positive Organizational Behavior (POB) website is a trove of information on engagement, recently wrote about a study profiled in the June issue of the Academy of Management Journal. Authors Bruce Louis Rich, Jeffery A. LePine and Eean R. Crawford theorize that “engagement provides a more comprehensive explanation of relationships with performance relative to well-known concepts that reflect narrower aspects of the individual’s self.” According to Simmons (who is particularly good at cutting through the academese), this study of 245 firefighters and their supervisors found that job engagement was a significant predictor of both task performance and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). This is especially significant because job engagement was tested for its affect on performance and OCB simultaneously with job involvement, job satisfaction, and intrinsic motivation. In the presence of job engagement, these other important factors lost their significance. Most importantly, says Simmons, this research offers a new measure of engagement that is, in his opinion, the best currently available. “This new measure of job engagement has 18 questions, 6 for each of the sub-dimensions of engagement: physical engagement (e.g. I exert my full effort to my job), emotional engagement (e.g. I feel energetic at my job), and cognitive engagement (At work, I focus a great deal of attention on my job),” he reports. “Because this measure is non-proprietary, I predict we are going to see it used in a lot of research in the future, so our knowledge of a consistent conceptualization and measurement of job engagement is only going to get better.”

• For more of Simmons comments on the study, go to www.bretlsimmons.com/category/engagement/page/2/. To view the AMJ article, go to www.aomonline.org/

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Social Media

Aberdeen Report Looks at Social Media ROI

Between July and August 2010, the Aberdeen Group surveyed 65 retailers regarding their use of social media marketing to interact with customers. Results indicate that 85% of these organizations have an initiative in place to help manage brand reputation and encourage revenue-building consumer interactivity. Despite its pervasiveness, however, significant challenges remain to achieve a full return on investment (ROI) from social media adoption. Just over half (56%) of retailers have indicated that they are unable to quantify the effect of social media. The purpose of this Analyst Insight was to assess the different motivational factors and corresponding actions inherent in a social media marketing initiative, and the strategies retailers are taking to yield ROI benefits from these initiatives.

• For a copy of the report, go to www.aberdeen.com/aberdeen-library/6398/RA-social-media-marketing.aspx

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Surveys & Measurement

Do Engagement Surveys Lead to Less Engaged Employees?

Preliminary Results from BlessingWhite’s 2011 Employee Engagement Report show that companies planning an employee survey better be ready for some meaningful follow-up. If you ask for an opinion and then are seen not to act upon it, be prepared for the loss of your followers’ trust. In other words, surveying might actually damage morale and increase cynicism. The good news is that Survey + Action = More Engaged Employees.

Nearly half (47%) of all employees who said their organization conducted a survey and demonstrated visible actions at the organization or department level are fully engaged. This finding was consistent across all regions and organization sizes. The bad news is that those employees who experienced a survey and saw no follow-up are decidedly less engaged – in fact, less than a quarter (24%) of respondents. The kicker: This is actually three percentage points worse than engagement levels for employees who report no action at all, suggesting that surveying and doing nothing can actually decrease existing engagement levels. The full global report based on more than 10,000 survey respondents and interviews with senior leaders will be available in November 2010.

• Register to receive a copy at www.blessingwhite.com/EEE__report.asp

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Rewards & Recognition

2010 Incentive Gift Card IQ Reveals Trends

Incentive magazine’s most recent Incentive Gift Card IQ Report found that while budgets did shrink, use of large-denomination gift cards grew and deployment of travel cards surged. The number of programs with the biggest budgets – those with $250,000 to $499,999 and $500,000 and above in the coffers – fell substantially to less than half of 2009’s number. Overall, fully 38.4 percent of our respondents said their gift card budgets decreased this year versus 2009, as opposed to just 18.6 percent who saw their budgets increase. The smallest incentive gift card programs, with budgets of under $1,000, more than doubled in number, however. And per-recipient spending increased in only the three largest budget categories: $200 to $499, $500 to $999, and $1,000 and up. In those, budgets doubled or nearly doubled. Taken together, that suggests managers are using gift cards to recognize top performers who might be missing other, more substantial incentive awards because programs were canceled in the wake of the anti-incentive climate that dominated 2009. Also of note, the inclusion of travel gift cards in incentive programs nearly doubled, suggesting that many companies replaced group travel programs with individual travel.

• For more information, go to www.incentivemag.com/Resources/Research/Articles/2010-Incentive-Gift-Card-IQ/

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Site Index Evaluates Motivational Program Design

Site International Foundation recently released its Site Index: Annual Survey results. This annual analysis and forecast for the motivational events industry provides a broader data set of trends and reveals priorities placed on significant topics, such as the strength of motivational tools (travel experiences, cash, merchandise, gift cards), ROI, buyer decisions, cruise products, green incentives and more. The study reinforces the concept that motivational travel incentives as extrinsic motivators continue to be more desirable than other forms of rewards directly linked to measurable business results. Some highlights: A majority of respondents (62%) expect an increase in motivational travel use in the next six to 12 months, with 84% predicting improvement in a one- to three-year timeframe. These findings continue to demonstrate a high expectation that the requirement for measurement will increase in both the short and long term.

• Complete survey results are available at www.siteglobal.com

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Incentive Legislation Campaign Advocates Wellness Incentives

Representatives of the Incentive Legislation Campaign (ILC) traveled to Capitol Hill on November 10th to meet face-to-face with staff advisors of targeted members of Congress as part of the ILC’s effort to institutionalize the power of wellness incentives as a way to encourage a healthy American workforce. Seeking to amend the Internal Revenue Code by including employer deductions and employee tax exemptions for wellness incentives, ILC representatives met with the Senate Finance Committee senior benefits counsel for Senator Baucus, tax advisors for Senators Hatch and Enzi, health care policy advisor for Senator Harkin and a legislative aide for Senator Cornyn. Incentive Federation Executive Director George Delta, who worked with ILC Legislative Counsel Jim Miller to organize the meetings, explained that upcoming tax reform and health care issues on the horizon for the 112th Congress that begins in January could provide a workable venue to promote the use of incentives as a means to reduce health care costs. Delta explained that ILC members will continue to gather data and case studies that can be brought to Capitol Hill early next year once the 112th Congress has established its legislative calendar and agenda.

• For more information, go to www.incentivefederation.org

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White Paper Links Social Media and Performance

A new White Paper, How Social Media is Changing Corporate Performance, discusses how lessons learned from Social Media are helping corporate employee-engagement experts capitalize on the momentum in self-motivated, peer-driven participation. Corporate recognition, rewards and incentive programs for employees are actually the unsung pioneers of the kind of ‘social points’ activity like we see in Social Media games like Farmville and others. By leveraging the power of online systems, corporations can provide a familiar social environment similar to those in which people have already chosen to engage during their own time. You can bring the power of Social Behaviors to your employees by offering intrinsic/extrinsic motivation rewards and recognition programs. Peer-to-Peer awards let people recognize each other. Team-based activities allow for relationship-building and trust. Wellness programs show that you care about employees’ health challenges and that you want to help through education and online tools. Open ‘suggestion programs’ accelerate innovation by creating a meritocracy. The actions you choose in rewards and recognition programs, combined with the words and value messages that you choose to incorporate, can create some of the most meaningful and measurable programs ever. Expectations for outcomes should include things such as increased productivity, increased performance, increased satisfaction, increased innovation, increased wellness, safety, education, and reduced churn of employees. These goals should permeate your corporate culture for continued impact.

• The white paper, based on the Dittman Incentive Marketing report, ‘Social Behavior Engages Motivation 3.0’, can be found at www.enterpriseengagement.org. For a copy of the full report, go to: www.dittmmanincentives.com

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November/December 2010

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