businessman chased with carrotHow prepared are you, your company and your talent to drive performance in the face of impending change? This is a question posed in Aon Hewitt’s 2014 Trends in Global Employee Engagement report. The report talks about how macroeconomics, technological acceleration, social change and demographic shifts are currently affecting the global workforce and how, to keep up with a business’s bottom line, employers will have to attract and retain the right talent in the midst of these changes.

And how does the report define the “right” talent? Engaged Employees.

“Engaged employees invest their discretionary effort in the right behaviors to achieve future business results,” the report explains. “Making engagement happen will be the business challenge of the next decade and a focal point of the emerging talent imperative.”

The report also says that attracting and retaining the talent needed for business performance will be challenging enough; therefore, making engagement happen is the ultimate objective.

Global Engagement Levels

According to the data, only 22 percent of the global workforce was highly engaged in 2013, another 39 percent was moderately engaged. In North America, 15 percent of the workforce was actively disengaged in 2013, while at 19 percent, Europe had the highest level of disengaged workers.

And research shows that:

A disengaged employee costs an organization approximately $3,400 for every $10,000 in annual salary.

Disengaged employees cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year due to lost productivity.

It’s pretty clear that keeping workers engaged is beneficial for both the employees and the employer. And to offer a real-life  example of how a business can enhance its employee engagement and incentive schemes to attract and retain top talent , spoke with Jeanne O’Connor, VP of Human Resources, at Billtrust, a billings service provider. Read below to discover how this company keeps its workers motivated through its unique incentives strategy (the following is written by O’Connor):

Work-life Balance

Billtrust provides an Open PTO policy where employees can take the time off they need, when they need it creating a positive work/life balance. We believe in today’s workplace the lines between work and PTO can blur and our main focus, and the culture we have created, is about results not time in the office to achieve them.  It seems counter-intuitive to measure employees on results and then track their time achieving those results. We are building a culture of respect and professionalism where we treat people like adults.

Workplace Activities

We provide many activities and social events during and after work hours to encourage our employees to take time away from their (sometimes demanding) workload that many experience in today’s corporate world.  We do monthly summer BBQs on our patio,  the ice cream truck comes regularly,  and we participate in fitness challenges.  We also have bowling outings, movie nights, a company softball team (who can’t win a game, btw) the Billtrust Olympics every two years, chair massages, popcorn Thursdays, etc. etc. etc.  The list goes on.  All under the premise that we spend a lot of time (8 hours minimum a day) with our co-workers. We better like who we work with and have fun doing it. We believe it is our responsibility to ensure employees are feeling that Billtrust is a great place to work, every day.

Employee Recognition

We recognize our employees for their ‘above and beyond’ achievements by banging a gong in the office. The ringing of the gong signals to everyone that one of their co-workers was nominated and received recognition by a peer or manager for something remarkable they did. In addition to the prestige of the ‘gong’, they receive a formal shout out from our CEO on yammer- a social media communication tool the company uses- and receive Billtrust Bucks to purchase merchandise from our company store.

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