A New Year, a New Path for Companies in 2023

The past few years have brought us tremendous changes in the workplace, sending us to a time when Zoom calls and hybrid work schedules are an everyday routine.

These recent changes are here to stay, which puts companies in a strategic position to rethink their engagement and recognition strategies.

Looking ahead to 2023, these employee recognition and engagement trends, we predict, will continue to gain ground. This makes it more important than ever for companies to stay ahead of them.

Employee Retention

As “The Great Resignation” continues to linger, companies are finding it increasingly more difficult to attract and retain top talent. “Quiet quitting” has existed for some time, but not until recently was the term coined so succinctly. Showing employees how much they are valued, recognizing their hard work, creating new challenges, and celebrating successes will help to create a foundation for a highly sought-after workplace where people want to stay.

Flexible, Remote & Hybrid Work

Flexible, remote, and hybrid schedules have changed the work dynamic over the past few years. Nowadays, we know these dynamics are here to stay, as companies continue to adapt their return-to-office plans to fit the changing conditions. Offering flexible, hybrid and fully remote work schedule options has not only widened the talent pool for employers but is also a critical initiative for retaining top talent.

Concerns Over Productivity

Making employees feel connected and valued in the new hybrid work environment presents new challenges. And not just for employees, but for leaders as well. According to Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index, “85% of leaders say the shift to hybrid work has made it challenging to have confidence that employees are being productive.” This highlights the value of keeping an open line of communication, providing honest feedback regularly, and celebrating individual and team successes. It’s also an opportunity for companies to leverage their employee recognition and incentive programs, which can help to align the workforce and boost morale.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Sustainability

It’s more important than ever to employees that their companies are doing their part in contributing to the greater good of the people and our planet. Though much progress has been made in recent years, companies still have a long way to go. Identifying DEI initiatives and exploring ongoing training methods are two ways employers can create inclusive work environments beyond hiring diverse talent.

Employee Wellness & Wellbeing

Mental health has sprung to the forefront of conversation in recent years and continues to be a priority for both companies and employees. Mental health professionals agree that healthy behavior begets productivity and reduces burnout. On a personal level, when companies highlight the importance of wellness and wellbeing, it shows their employees they are committed to supporting them on a personal level. This includes assistance with work-life integration, offering resources for mental health, subsidizing fitness memberships, expressing gratitude, and numerous other initiatives. In 2023, it will be imperative for companies to have programs in place to create a healthier work environment.

The Path Forward

The workplace evolution we have witnessed throughout the early 2020s has taken root and is poised to continue in 2023. This is a valuable time for companies to rethink their employee recognition and engagement strategies to keep their people feeling valued, supported, and inspired at work through changing times.

In economic terms, the multiplier effect refers to the proportional increase or decrease in final income that results from an injection or withdrawal of capital. In terms of Safety Reward Programs, the multiplier effect might refer to the ROI² (Return on Incentive Investment). A properly structured program significantly impacts overall employee engagement and safety culture, where employees are attuned to safety-related issues, inspired to display “Above & Beyond” safe behaviors, willing to be safety ambassadors, and encouraged to promote learning and support continuous improvement. Such best-in-class programs are designed to promote group objectives and reward individual behavior, engaging, motivating, and rewarding the people behind your success.

Fortunately, there are thousands of companies in high-risk industries that have excellent safety programming, training, and coaching in place. Many include safety in their list of core values and have invested heavily in EHS (Environment, Health, and Safety) technology, training, telematics, and personnel. However, too many miss the opportunity to incentivize and recognize individual safety contributions, behaviors, and performance.

Programs featuring tangible and experiential awards as the reward currency can have a multiplying effect that pays dividends. Benefits include a more highly engaged workforce, fewer accidents and incidents, reduced claims and losses, lower turnover and absenteeism, better communication, increased productivity, visibility to leading and lagging indicators, incremental coaching and training opportunities, and improved profitability.

So, what’s the rub? Are engagement programs focused on employee safety, health, and wellness expensive to implement? Do they only make sense for companies with thousands of safety-sensitive workers? The answer to both questions is no. Properly structured programs can be cost-effective and right-sized for companies with as few as 100 safety-sensitive workers up to those with 10,000 or more. The ROI² of these programs can be expressed as a ratio (in this case, 4:1), with quantitative results showing a savings of $4.00 for every $1.00 invested and qualitative results revealing higher employee morale, which serves as a catalyst for productivity. Safety Reward Programs help to mitigate risk, elevate employee engagement, and improve overall safety culture. They also present an excellent opportunity for companies to simply say thank you to their employees for being safe, committed, and engaged.

People have an inherent need to know that their efforts do not go unnoticed. Safety Reward Programs provide the stimulus and energy that encourage employees to perform at their best and achieve new heights.

Brian Galonek


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