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Leading Edge November/December 2011


1 in 4 Companies Fails to Keep ‘High-Potential’ Employees 

According to a survey of 562 senior managers and executives by AMA Enterprise, 26% of employers are ineffective in retaining their high-potential workers. Even though more than half (56%) are considered “somewhat effective” at hanging on to high-performing talent, only 18% are “very effective,” according to the survey’s findings. “Management succession and future leadership are paramount concerns at most companies today,” says Sandi Edwards, Senior VP of AMA Enterprise, a specialized division of American Management Association that offers advisory services and tailored learning programs to organizations. “Yet their efforts to hold on to their best people often fail. Some organizations make only intermittent attempts to identify their up-and-comers, and it seems that those that do so meet with mixed success.” According to Edwards, organizations should focus their high-potentials program on leadership development. “Talented, motivated individuals need to be developed in a number of ways, including mentoring or coaching, training, stretch assignments, action projects, cross-functional teaming and job rotation,” she explains. “Naturally, such programs should align with the business needs of the organization. Finally, employers must measure the desired behaviors and calculate success.”

Contact Arlene Bein, Director of Marketing, AMA Enterprise, at 212-903-7935 or


‘Frustration isn’t an employee issue; it’s an organizational issue’ 

Frustrated employees represent 20% or more of the total workforce, leading to a major loss in performance, talent and revenue. Frustration wears down motivated, dedicated employees who really care about their jobs but can’t get the organizational support they need to get things done. Focused on making contributions, these employees often hide their frustration, leaving managers in the dark about their discontent. “Frustrated employees really want to succeed in their role, but become aggravated by organizational barriers or a lack of resources,” says Mark Royal, Senior Consultant at Hay Group and co-author of the new book The Enemy of Engagement. “Managers must ask the right questions and address the issue promptly, or risk losing top talent who care deeply about the organization.” Royal’s co-author and colleague, Tom Agnew, says that frustration isn’t just an employee issue, it’s an organizational issue, adding that “Managers must listen for clues and serve as the voice for frustrated employees.”

For more information on The Enemy of Engagement, contact Andrea Friedman at 212-584-5476 or


Employees Would Work an Extra Week for an Incentive Program

Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc., recently released the results of a survey that found one-third of office workers would be willing to put in an extra week of work each year if it meant their company would implement an incentive program. Respondents at companies that already have such programs say they are:

  • more valued (85%)
  • happier and more motivated at work (70%)
  • more loyal to their company (65%)
  • more productive and able to get better results (60%)

More than 70% of employees at companies without incentive programs say they’d love to work for a company that has one. In addition to working an extra week each year, these employees would be willing to make other sacrifices if it meant their company would implement an incentive program – 30% say they would take on extra responsibilities, and more than 40% would be in favor of forgoing the annual holiday party.

Read more at http://staples.newshq.businesswire.com/news_releases#axzz1bniJVjGp

Rewards & Recognition

Study Identifies Impact of Rewards on Perceptions of Fairness 

A research report released by WorldatWork, Hay Group and Loyola University Chicago HR Professor Dow Scott, Ph.D. reveals the top five concerns in reward fairness, as well as the criteria that have the biggest impact on employee perceptions of reward fairness. The report, Reward Fairness: Slippery Slope or Manageable Terrain?, says the top five concerns, in order, are:

  • Career development opportunities
  • Merit increases
  • Base pay amounts
  • Non-financial recognition
  • Employee development/training

Tom McMullen, Hay Group’s North American Reward Practice Leader, notes that career development concerns are also the number one retention issue for employees, according to Hay Group’s employee opinion database. The report also identified the top three criteria that impact reward fairness as:

  • Individual performance
  • Work responsibilities
  • Overall organization performance

When asked what works particularly well in improving the perceptions of reward fairness in organizations, respondents overwhelmingly identified effective reward communications, followed by external benchmarking, reward strategy and design, and non-financial recognition programs.

Read the full report at www.worldatwork.org/waw/adimLink?id=53154


Survey Examines Reward & Recognition Practices

The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) and Incentive Federation recently released more results from their comprehensive survey of 170 recognition and rewards administrators tracking current practices for reward and recognition programs. According to IRF President Melissa Van Dyke (photo), the overall findings of the survey indicate that, independent of the industry involved, respondents generally rely on “classic incentive programs” that are most often aimed at internal employees and people within distribution or sales channels. Incentive Federation Chairman Karen Renk underscored the importance of the survey’s findings, particularly the fact that respondents reported the optimal percent of employee income for awards was between 2% and 5%.

More info at http://theirf.org/.6081800.html

Incentive Travel

Maritz Journeys Offers Customized Travel Experiences

Maritz recently announced the launch of Maritz Journeys, a new division providing personalized, one-of-a-kind travel itineraries geared toward incentive/reward trips and vacation planning for individuals and small groups. Maritz Journeys’ destination specialists are experts at creating life-changing memories using Maritz’s global network of contacts and partners. The difference in Maritz Journeys’ service comes from hand-picked local experts in global offices. By tailoring the experience to the traveler’s interests and specifications – such as length of travel, destination, activities and budget – programs are designed from the bottom up to create a truly rewarding and memorable experience. The travel solutions range from incentive trips and experiential travel to destination celebrations and multi-generational family travel.

For more information, go to www.maritzjourneys.com

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