Follow These 2024 Workplace Trends to Guide Your Recognition Program 

Jumping back into the new year, I came across a recent report by the Gallup Organization research gurus which identifies the top six trends that companies will be facing in their workplaces.


The findings, noted below, only reinforce the importance of flexibility when designing and administering employee recognition and reward programs to address workplace issues.


For example, when Gallup asked managers what changes their organization made in 2023:


  • 64% said employees were given additional job responsibilities
  • 51% cited the restructuring of teams
  • 42% reported budget cuts


These are changes that are carrying over into 2024, so leaders should consider re-tooling their recognition and reward strategies to better support the changing needs of their workforce and organizational culture.


Let’s look at the following six trends that leaders should be paying attention to within their own organizations, and how recognition plays such an important role.


  1. Global Worker Stress Remains at a Record High

    Employee engagement is rising worldwide. That’s good news. However, worker stress has remained at record high levels since the pandemic.


    In the U.S. and Canada, employee stress is even higher, with 52% of employees reporting they experienced a lot of stress the previous day. This trend holds implications for peoples’ wellbeing at work and home, as well as their productivity and longevity. This is another reason why thoughtful recognition is so important.


  3. Engagement Is Slowly Recovering, With Some Areas for Improvement

    Employee engagement levels in the U.S. started a slow crawl back in 2023 after a post-pandemic slump. But one particularly concerning trend is the decrease in employees who feel connected to their organization’s mission and purpose. This sense of connection inspires employees to go beyond basic job demands and push toward excellence. It also substantially boosts loyalty and retention.


  5. Leaders Are Restoring Trust Yet Have Much Room for Improvement

    Trust in organizational leadership significantly declined since the onset of the pandemic until it started to recover in 2023. Yet, today, only 23% of U.S. employees strongly agree that they trust the leadership of their organization. Undoubtedly, the hardships and disruptions of today’s new world of work have created headwinds for leaders. However, when leaders communicate clearly, lead and support change, and inspire confidence in the future, 95% of employees say they fully trust their leaders.


  7. Managers Are Getting Squeezed

    Changes to the workplace have hit managers especially hard. In 2023, managers were more likely than non-managers to be disengaged, burnt out and job hunting. They were also more likely to feel like their organization doesn’t care about their wellbeing and to say that they’re struggling with work-life balance.


    These manager struggles are bad news for organizations because they trickle down to their teams. Managers serve as crucial connectors for team collaboration and effectiveness, accounting for 70% of the variance in employee engagement.


    Overall, the “manager squeeze” comes from increased responsibilities and navigating numerous organizational changes.


    I believe that managers, as much as everyone else in the organization, deserve a recognition and reward program that recognizes their responsibilities.


  9. Organizations Need a Long-Term Hybrid Work Strategy

    Given that hybrid work has become the norm for remote-capable workers with people settled into these new routines, it’s time for leaders to optimize the hybrid workplace. That means doing things like creating a compelling workplace value proposition, empowering teams to collaborate more effectively, revising performance management systems, and training managers to be great hybrid coaches.


    Recognition programs need to address this new landscape and offer appropriate rewards for achievements withing this environment.


  11. Hybrid Culture Can Be Great — If Done Right


Hybrid work offers the advantages of a more flexible work environment while also posing some unique challenges. In terms of advantages, hybrid workers have higher engagement, better overall wellbeing and lower turnover risk than fully on-site workers who are remote-capable – this is good for business, too.


Leaders and managers need to recognize these benefits and realize that hybrid work has reduced burnout, improved retention and expanded talent pools in their organization


At the same time, organizations that plan to move forward with hybrid for the long term must thoughtfully create and fully commit to a strategy for how they best communicate with, collaborate with, and recognize employees.


A new year brings with it new challenges for businesses, including having the most effective employee recognition and reward program that delivers desired results. Our experienced team at All Star Incentive Marketing can design a program that meets your cultural and operational needs. Contact us to get started.

Brian Galonek


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