Readers Speak * Trends in Employee Engagement, Recognition and Attitudes

As regular readers of the Globoblog know, I’ve been posting a weekly poll on the blog home page (upper left corner) for nearly a year now. While the weekly results have been sometimes interesting, sometimes perplexing and often confirmatory of what industry research shows, I thought I’d take a look at to see if any themes have developed since last August. Here are the trends I see through these highly unscientific poll results:

The recession is causing people to focus on doing a good job in their own roles while helping each other and thanking their colleagues for what they do. However, managers have not really changed their approach since the economic downturn took hold, and communication and recognition is particularly lacking, happening ad-hoc and with little ultimate understanding. Interestingly, readers reported the attitude in their office was tied between mean/rude and sweet last August, but by October (when the downturn was becoming pronounced) attitudes were becomingly significantly more negative. And by April, employees knew they were no longer a priority.

While managers think they are recognizing their staff, employees disagree, which makes sense as the majority report recognition in their organizations is ad-hoc and dependent on the manager. The vast majority also agree the worst recognition they could get is no recognition at all, although trinkets and trash are considered worthless (though the thought is appreciated). Most also agree they want to be recognized for their efforts, skills and talents in a way that is meaningful to them and can be shared with friends and family. I’m particularly pleased to see recognition programs in place are reinforcing company objectives and values, but disappointed that recognition still seems to be strongly tied to the annual performance review.

While poll respondents overwhelmingly agree manager appreciation of efforts is the most important contributor to engagement at work, there is a nearly equal split between highly engaged, somewhat engaged and disengaged employees and the same split between how employees feel engagement has changed since the downturn. However, the recession has not impacted the importance of engagement efforts – half say engagement is important while half disagree, which remained the same from October to May.

I’m looking forward to comparing these results in a few months with post-upturn polls. Want to have your voice heard? Be sure to take the weekly polls.

2 comment(s):

At July 03, 2009 10:57 AM, Ann Bares said...


Great post and very interesting data - will look forward to hearing how it develops going forward!

We at the Compensation Cafe have chosen this post to highlight in our weekly Friday Special at the Cafe...


At July 06, 2009 8:03 AM, Derek Irvine said...

Ann, thanks for the highlight!