Accountability Drives Employee Engagement


There are many definitions of employee engagement. In a nutshell, employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization.

Why is employee engagement so critical to success? Higher employee engagement:

  • Increases productivity
  • Increases profitability (but up to 21%)
  • Reduces absenteeism (Gallup study shows up to 41% lower)
  • Improves morale
  • Improves customer service

According to FastTrack360, 71% of executives agree that employee engagement is critical to their company’s success. So why are 85% of U.S. employees still not engaged in their workplace?

Possibly because employees are not being appropriately rewarded and recognized. According to Hubspot, 69% of employees would work harder if they were better appreciated.

Cy Wakeman of Reality-Based Leadership, maintains that personal accountability drives engagement. When employees are given clear objectives and are held accountable, they become the architects of their own progress. Higher engagement is achieved by aligning company goals with employee reward and recognition program objectives. Wakeman offers these traits of accountability:

  • Employees are willing; they buy in to the concept and program
  • Resilience. Engaged employees stay even when times are tough
  • Ownership through feedback; involve employees in the process


Wakeman reports that executives are spending an average of 2.5 hours a day trying to engage employees – but could be spending that time (or less) more effectively. Conventional wisdom isn’t working. Wakeman offers these tips for reality-based leaders when structuring recognition programs that hold individuals accountable and increase engagement:


  • Start with the most willing employees rather than those who resist
  • Don’t invite those to the table who don’t want to grow
  • Must include shared accountability (Employees can set their own goals before goals are set for them)
  • Communicate that staying to sabotage and resist is not an option
  • Invite employees to come be part of the change


As many organizations have transitioned to a largely work-from-home workforce, recognition becomes especially important. Communication helps employees to feel connected; recognition programs reinforce their place in the organization, direct their attention to specific objectives and rewards those achievements. Many recognition software programs are available to manage these programs online.


Some tips from those who have changed the way they think about employee recognition and are achieving higher employee engagement:


  • Get buy-in. You’ll need a champion to get the CEO/CFO to look at variable pay to fund the program (potentially 1% of payroll).
  • Rethink recognition: make sure there is equity in reward values
  • Pay the taxes on the rewards you are giving
  • Show gratitude throughout the year
  • Celebratory success. Decide what actions should be recognized and reward them.
  • Give constructive feedback. If peer-to-peer recognition is involved, the Manager should review prior to the reward. “Good job” is not effective; feedback must be specific.
  • Start with the concept that people are good; Trust that employees will do the right thing
  • Plan, but don’t get bogged down in the process. Get started!


Contact us to talk with an Incentive professional that can guide you through the design of an effective employee reward and recognition program that includes accountability and will improve engagement!

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.



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