Recognise This! – Is another “initiative” the way to go to help employees overcome lingering recession fears and re-engage in the workplace?

The press in the UK has been buzzing these last couple of weeks with news of the reinvigoration of the Employee Engagement Task Force initially launched after the publication of the Engaging for Success report, more commonly known as the MacLeod Employee Engagement Report, issued in 2009.

The goal of the task force seems to be to offer practical opportunities, guidance and methods for increasing employee engagement, including a forum for the sharing of best practices.

Timing couldn’t be better as another survey of 4,400 UK companies found 45% of employees are keeping their heads down to avoid layoff in an environment in which 1 in 4 companies are ignoring the need to engage top performers. Why does this matter? Shouldn’t companies be happy employees are “buckling down?” Not in this case. Risk averse employees are also producing less and innovating less out of a desire to “just get the job done and don’t rock the boat.”

Overcoming this fear holdover from the recession
is a key goal of employee engagement initiatives to be addressed by the task force, though Les Allen made an excellent observation about this in his Business Performance blog:

    “The Government will need to be mindful that raising levels of employee motivation and engagement is not simply a matter of pushing out another multi-million dollar initiative or two. Employee enthusiasm must be built into the fabric of an organisation. Employee engagement can’t be just another “bolt on” or flavor of the month.”

Helping employees build that enthusiasm requires giving them a reason to be enthusiastic. How do you that? By recognising employees frequently and on-the-spot for achievements and demonstrations of your company values that contributed to those achievements. Doing so links them more closely with their colleagues and your firm, encouraging them to repeat those success-driving behaviours.

Do you think this task force is the way to go? If you were a part of it, what would you recommend or contribute?