Companies Falling Behind on Employee Engagement Strategies

June 23, 2011 ( - According to the SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Tracker Survey, nearly all HR leaders surveyed (99%) anticipate employee engagement being a key challenge they will face.

While 86% of companies track employee engagement scores, 71% of them do so via employee exit interviews – only learning about engagement issues at the time employees voluntarily leave the company. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents relate employee engagement to employee retention rates.  

In addition, only 37% of HR leaders said they tie employee recognition programs to corporate values and less than half (43%) recognize employees based on performance related to the organization’s financial goals – missing the opportunity to drive performance and manage culture through a strategic recognition investment, according to a press release.  

The survey also found: 

  • 54% of HR leaders do not think managers and supervisors at their company effectively acknowledge and appreciate employees; 
  • 69% believe employees are not satisfied with the level of recognition they receive at work; 
  • 44% of respondents do not think their employees are rewarded according to job performance; and 
  • 42% state multi-source (manager, senior leader, peer) ongoing feedback is the most accurate appraisal of employee performance; yet, 61% believe annual performance reviews are an accurate appraisal of employees’ work. 


Eighty-seven percent of companies do not currently track the ROI of their recognition program, and 68% said they find it difficult to measure the effectiveness of their recognition program. Nearly one-third (32%) of CEOs invest no time (and may not even be aware of) employee recognition programs.   

The press release said 49% of responding companies track their programs by unit/department – making it hard for senior management to get a full view of recognition efforts and effectiveness companywide. The top challenges in measuring ROI cited by respondents were, “Our metrics of success keep changing, making it impossible to consistently report on ROI” (32%), “The recognition program cannot be linked with our talent management or performance management systems, giving us no insight into how recognition affects key metrics such as performance improvement or retention” (32%), and “The recognition program is not designed to deliver improvement in metrics that our executive leadership (CEO/CFO/COO/CHRO, etc.) finds valuable” (22%).   

Differing generations among employees is the top workforce management challenge, with 85% calling it “very important” or “important,” followed by multiple cultures (84%); harnessing social networking technologies (72%); and global diversity (62%). Other HR challenges in the next three to five years cited by respondents include culture management (96%), employee recruitment (96%), and employee retention (95%).  

More information on the survey is at