Employee Engagement: Changing Demands, Changing Requirements

January 5, 2017 Claudio Ayub

The employee engagement space is changing drastically.

The generational differences and growing influence of millennials in the workforce, the diminishing unemployment rate, the economic growth rate – all are contributing to the changing demands of employee engagement.

In response to both workplace and industry changes, employers that want to attract and retain top talent in 2017 will need to rethink their employee engagement strategies and offer employee engagement programs that truly motivate and inspire. 

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Research released last year demonstrated that 6 in 10 employed Americans say they find recognition more motivating than money.  Corporations know that engaging and retaining employees is important and that replacing employees is expensive. Therefore, they're looking for alternatives that are not only more cost effective, but also highly effective in attracting, engaging, and motivating their workforce. 


Companies with higher levels of employee engagement can see turnover rates as low as 65% below industry averages.

Recognition in 2017 won’t be about how much you spend - it's what you do and how you do it. For example, consistent peer-to-peer recognition is proven to create a culture of collaboration and cohesiveness where employees are motivated to see their peers succeed. Add an additional element to your recognition strategy and let employees refer individuals they are excited to work with and already trust. They are your best resource for finding new talent with the necessary skills and personality to fit the job and company culture.

Today’s employee recognition program technology leverages social networks to fill the candidate pipeline. Think about it, if you have 100 employees, each with an average of 150 social media contacts, that translates to around 15,000 possible candidates. You must assess your social referral universe!

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The Perfect Pairing: Employee Recognition and Employee Referrals 

Talented people know talent. People tend to associate themselves with others who have similar qualifications. In addition, people enjoy having their friends at the office, as it creates more of a work-life balance. Letting employees know you welcome referrals gets them thinking about potential candidates more assertively.

Employees also know what your company needs. What better way to fill that need than with qualified candidates? Employee referrals are much more than friendly recommendations. Referrals lead to a stronger culture and better team work, communication, and productivity – all of these being significant elements of your Employee Engagement plan. 

We have combined recognition and referral programs and reported the following results:
•    Increased new hire quality (employees refer quality candidates)
•    Improved new hire performance creating a more engaged employee after hire
•    Higher retention rates when an employee is hired through a referral program
•    Current employees are motivated to help someone they know
•    Recognition is given to employees who refer candidates
•    Employees who refer candidates have feelings of achievement

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Start at the beginning with an ROI plan, and formulate a floor level payoff. Then examine the business needs, which equate to the financial impact, and determine changes in job performance to support the business need. Follow by defining the learning objectives that support job performance changes, to then gain agreement on how participants will rate the program. Remember to embrace return on investment. This is the language c-level executives speak when discussing these types of investments.

10 Keys to Successful Alignment of Employee Referral Programs with your Employee Engagement Strategy

  1. Create evangelists and empower them. How better to engage employees than to have them contribute to growing your organization?
  2. Know what you want to achieve. Develop realistic goals and objectives, in line with the Employee Engagement Strategy.
  3. Support your employment brand. Successful organizations achieve alignment at every level of the organization.
  4. Measure and evaluate your current positions. Not all job openings are created equal.
  5. Define the employee engagement communications plan. Facilitate success by looking at all possible communication vehicles.
  6. Embrace social networks. Social-enabled programming is gaining in both popularity and efficacy.
  7. Think about who will participate. Beyond employees, consider who else might contribute to referrals.
  8. Have some fun! Game mechanics help grow employee engagement and that continues to be true in the referral process.
  9. Engage your partners and allies. Leverage a host of specialized resources and skill sets.
  10. Recognize and reward. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation increase employee engagement levels.

Each of these ten keys are important and require resource, tenacity and conviction to get them right. There are no shortcuts to building and sustaining a world-class employee referral program that is fully integrated with your employee engagement strategy. Employee Referral programs must contain the same elements as any employee engagement program. 

For all the details and a roadmap to success, download our e-book “A Perfect Match: Referral Programs and Employee Engagement” here.

About the Author

Claudio Ayub

VP- Chief Channel Strategist Claudio brings over 20 years of global channel marketing experience to Perks. He is a loyalty marketing expert with broad knowledge in strategy development, market management and channel sales planning, who has developed and executed major go-to-market programs for a variety of vendors, including AMD, Bing, Cisco, Dell, EMC, IBM, Kaspersky, Lenovo, Microsoft, Motorola, Seagate, Symantec, and VMware among others.Claudio is a management strategist with cross-functional expertise in business, finance, sales and marketing, strategic planning, and customer relationship management; an area he has excelled at by executing complex CRM implementations, customizations, and business process re-engineering for CRM applications. He keeps current with changes in technology and is passionate about the business implications of new technology. Claudio is an avid social media user and early adopter of social CRM.

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