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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1: Why You Need a Service Anniversary Program
Chapter 2: Using Recognition to Reward Star Performers
Chapter 3: Using Rewards and Recognition to Reinforce Workplace Safety
Chapter 4: 10 Best Practices for Service Awards, Safety and Incentive Programs
It’s safe to say that the leaders of most organizations would likely describe an ideal member of their team as someone who is dedicated, loyal, and has a wealth of experience in their field and with their company. An employee who has put 5, 10, 15 years or more into their job has not just committed themselves to the organization— they’ve sacrificed a significant portion of their life for it. That’s worth recognizing!
But while this kind of employee recognition is often acknowledged as a key to building a strong company culture, there is evidence to suggest that many organizations are not practicing it.
A Harvard Business Review survey found that 82% of employees in America feel as if they don’t receive the recognition for their contributions that they deserve. That same survey also found that 40% of those polled would be inspired to give more effort to their work if they were recognized for their contributions frequently.
One way that organizations avoid winding up on the wrong end of a survey like this is to recognize employee contributions through a service anniversary program. Celebrating service anniversaries are a simple, yet effective way to let your employees know they are a valued part of the team. In turn, this can lead to better productivity, an even stronger sense of loyalty, and less turnover.
If you’re the leader of an organization and are looking for ways to strengthen company culture, improve retention rates, and attract top talent, read on to learn why a service anniversary program may be your answer.
The Power of Employee Service Awards
The acknowledgment of milestones is a tradition that extends far beyond the working world. Within a company, however, there are things that make a milestone a little different than a birthday or a wedding anniversary. While those sorts of milestones are celebrations of life and love, service anniversaries are intended to recognize hard work, commitment, and sacrifice.
Giving year after year of your time and energy to one organization can be rewarding, but it’s not always fun. Below are some of the benefits of letting your employees know that their contributions are appreciated.
Increase Employee Engagement
An engaged workforce is the key to a successful organization. When you acknowledge that an employee is an important part of the team through a service anniversary program, they feel as if they are part of the team. This can inspire them to become more engaged, more involved, and more productive.
Increase Employee Happiness
Happiness is the main goal, right? Recognizing service anniversaries is a simple way to bring some positivity to the workplace and to help your team members feel better about their environment. When members of your organization celebrate one another, you foster camaraderie and friendship, while increasing employee happiness, which will ultimately benefit the company as a whole.
Build a Strong Company Culture
Traditions are a integral part of any culture, and celebrating anniversaries is a tradition with deep roots. With employee service awards, shared celebration rituals can help you build the exact organizational culture you want.
You can do this with a bigger and more formal event, like an annual awards banquet, or with a smaller, more casual occurrence, like taking a moment for acknowledgement during the regular workday.
Failing to recognize the contributions of your workforce can result in poor retention rates, especially with the younger generations. According to Forbes, 2 out of every 3 employees would quit their job if they felt unappreciated. That number is even higher with the millennial generation, with 3 out of every 4 saying that a lack of acknowledgment is grounds for seeking employment elsewhere.
The answer to this problem is simple: recognize your employees!
Attract Top Talent
If you’re looking to acquire the best talent, you need to offer more than a paycheck. Top prospects are going to look at things like employee engagement, company culture, and service anniversary programs when making career decisions. Employee service awards are a simple way to add to your company’s allure.
No, Paychecks are Not a Recognition Program
This line of thinking is all too common in the working world and it’s not going to cut it anymore. The paycheck that your team members earn is the bare minimum for their hard work and commitment to your organization.
If you want your employees to remain engaged and committed — and for your company to thrive — you’re going to have to offer more to your workforce than a simple paycheck.
Automated vs. Manual Service Recognition Programs
Technology now has the power to make the recognition of service anniversaries a lot easier and more effective. With an automated service anniversary program, you can streamline your employee recognition so that it’s simple to do, yet still personalized and meaningful for your employees.
An automated recognition program allows you to create custom-branded and personalized employee service awards, send out messages at a set date and time, and receive instant feedback that can help you to further fine-tune your employee recognition practices.
You may feel reluctant to move away from a more traditional method of recognizing service anniversaries, but automated service recognition programs offer everything a manual workflow can (and much more).
Create an Effective Company Culture
Inspirus can help you to celebrate employee milestones and create a culture of recognition within your organization. Learn more!
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The top performers on your sales team are an invaluable part of your organization. They don’t just excel at their job — they set an example to the rest of the team, while representing company values to your customers and the competition.
These high-quality sales pros are employees that any organization would want, which is why you need to recognize their efforts and acknowledge their value. If you don’t, another company just might.
But what’s the best way to show your star sales performers how much they mean to your organization? Many companies have some form of sales recognition program, but which ones are the most effective and why?
We’ll share the answers to these questions and more in this quick and easy guide to using recognition to reward (and retain) star sales performers.
The Advantages of Sales Team Recognition
Everyone appreciates having their hard work acknowledged, and your sales team is no exception. Giving them recognition for their efforts will provide them with a well-deserved boost in morale — but it will give your whole organization a boost, as well.
The following are some of the biggest advantages of an effective sales recognition program.
Inspiring Friendly Competition
Most sales reps have a competitive streak. That’s often why they found their way into sales in the first place. Establishing a sales incentive program can help to bring that competitive streak out of them in a way that will help your organization to achieve its goals. Friendly competition among your sales team members will almost always lead to elevated performance.
Added Incentive to Perform
If your recognition program involves awards, rewards, or monetary incentives, then you can garner some extrinsic motivation in your sales team, which means that they’ll be all the more driven to perform at a high level.
Not all sales reps need to vie for a prize in order to excel, but some do, and you may be surprised at the boost in performance that certain incentives can inspire.
Bringing Some Fun to the Job
The job of a sales rep can be a rollercoaster, and there will be times when your team is struggling, no matter how great they are at what they do. Giving them some well-deserved recognition can be the thing that helps to stay emotionally invested when the market is sagging and they’re fighting tooth and nail for every sale.
Attract Top Talent
There’s an incredible salesperson out there right now who isn’t getting the recognition they deserve from the organization that they currently serve. By creating a strong sales incentive program, you’ll send out a beacon to underappreciated sales reps. Let them know that when they come to work for your company, they will be noticed, valued and rewarded.
What Makes a Great Sales Recognition Program?
It’s easy to create a program that is intended to acknowledge top performers, but in order for your program to be as effective as possible, you need to ensure that you’re recognizing the right people for the right things.
Meaningful sales team recognition should not be overly easy to achieve. It should also come with a genuine moment in the limelight for the high-performing team member, not just a passing mention in a memo.
Some types of achievements that you might recognize include:
- Recognizing star performers, like the top performer for the month/year, individual with the highest number of sales or product sales, or sales rep with the biggest sales increase
- Rewarding collaborative teams, like those who deliver the highest number of sales in a given area
- Acknowledging achievements, like reaching or beating a set sales goal
- Celebrating firsts, like acquiring a new account
- Commemorating progressive wins at each step of the sales process
- Highlighting above and beyond
- Champion innovators
These are the kinds of clear goals that you can set for your sales team(s) so that they have something to strive for. But what exactly does a high-achieving sales rep get for their efforts? Read on for some ideas.
How to Recognize Your Star Sales Performers
People are motivated by different things, so you’re going to want to tailor your sales recognition program to your specific organization. With that in mind, the following incentive ideas should inspire just about anybody to perform at their best.
Make an Announcement
Sometimes, the simplest approach is the best. Almost anyone will appreciate some company-wide acknowledgement, whether it’s announced in a meeting, posted on a wall, or shared in a newsletter. Taking the time to point out your top performer to give them the credit they deserve can be an incredible boost for the individual and your organization.
Shout-outs are great, but you can really make things official by providing your top performer with a personalized award that recognizes their accomplishments in a tangible way. Having a trophy or plaque to place on their office wall or desk will help your best sales reps to remember that they are appreciated by your organization.
Paid Time Off
Few incentives are more valuable to your sales team than paid time to do whatever they want. Offering your top performers a certain amount of personal days each year to recognize their accomplishments is one of the best ways to motivate them to go above and beyond, performing at their very best.
Rewards of All Kinds
You can offer your sales reps a wide array of prizes for performing well, and those prizes can be tailored specifically to the individuals that make up your team. They can be small things, like gift cards for coffee or lunch, or they can be larger rewards like an all-expense-paid vacation.
Whatever the rewards you offer may be, make sure that they are something that the individuals on your team will respond to. You can even ask them what kinds of rewards would make them excited to reach new achievements.
Interested in using recognition to reward your star sales performers? Learn how Inspirus increased top-line revenue by $3.65 million.
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Having a workplace safety program is essential for any business, company, or corporation. A safe work environment is good for everyone — it protects employees, employers, and visitors, plus it maintains the daily workflow.
However, safety is often disregarded over time. If a person performs the same task(s) every day, it’s natural for them to grow comfortable and feel secure. If one of your workers has performed a certain task or job the same way hundreds of times without being injured or causing an accident, they may think nothing could possibly go wrong. Unfortunately, if a job is done improperly or unsafely, it can — and typically does — go wrong. The worst results are injuries, damage to the workplace or work equipment, and worst of all, death.
To create a safer working environment, your business should consider implementing a safety recognition program.
What is a Safety Recognition Program?
A safety recognition program is a workplace safety program designed to use motivational methods that encourage safe behavior and discourage unsafe behavior and safety infractions. The goal of this kind of program is to minimize preventable accidents and create a safer, more positive work environment.
A safety recognition program achieves this goal by rewarding the safe behaviors and actions of each employee, while penalizing unsafe behaviors and actions. A successfully implemented safety recognition program can change a company’s culture, making it a place where safety and safe behavior is encouraged not only by employers, but by the employees themselves.
The Features of Safety Incentive Programs
For a safety recognition program — also known as a safety incentive program — to work effectively, the program should be:
The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) was created to ensure safety in workplaces (ergo, for workers) across the United States. In doing so, OSHA enforces a number of rules and regulations. Any program with safety incentives must abide by OSHA regulations. For example, employees who are part of a safety recognition program should not fear the loss of incentives when workplace injuries occur. This would be a violation of OSHA regulations.
A safety incentives program should inspire a positive attitude change toward safety for employees and other members of staff. Making the program fun will foster a constructive atmosphere and inspire employees to have a positive attitude about safety and safe behavior.
To work properly, a program with safety incentives must be understandable. It should be clear, concise, and easy for employees to grasp quickly. This is not the kind of situation where you want people to learn as they go — everything should be laid out and understood before implementation.
The incentives for safety and safe behavior must be rewarding. Obviously, employees should be motivated to achieve the incentives. One of the best ways to ensure your incentives are desirable is to simply ask your employees what they want and what will motivate them.
Hard to Resist
Peer pressure is often frowned upon for a number of reasons. However, when used in a healthy way, peer pressure can be a great benefit for workplace safety programs. This benefit can be achieved through group incentives.
Group incentives are just as they sound: incentives for groups. If an entire group does well, there is a reward for all of them — as opposed to just one reward for one compliant employee. Creating an all-in-this-together atmosphere can go a long way in changing workplace team culture and a staff’s general attitude toward safety.
Conducive to Behavioral Change
Again, the goal of safety incentives in a safety recognition program is to encourage a change in behavior. The program aims to develop safer employee behavior through positive reinforcement. Safety incentives must be used to encourage that development. Using positive reinforcement to increase the safety of employee actions and behaviors will in turn create positive behavioral change.
Easy to Administer
Without proper execution, any great idea, plan, or program will fail. Whatever program your company chooses, it must be committed to and administered properly. Program administration will be a daily task, so make the program easy to manage! Without daily administration, the program will not be as effective in creating the safe environment you and your employees need.
Flexible and Dynamic
Lastly, a workplace safety program has to be flexible and dynamic. It’s easy for people to be enthusiastic about new ideas and programs. However, once they get used to something, humans grow bored and lose their enthusiasm. To keep morale high and employees engaged, a safety recognition program must be flexible and changeable.
Behaviors to Recognize and Reward
Here are a few behaviors you can reward and recognize employee for:
- General safety practices
- Safe forklift operation and maintenance
- Correct materials handling
- Organization and cleanliness
- Proper wear and cleaning of personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Participation in OSHA training
- Preventative ideas and solutions
- Achieving 'mile'stone goals
- Modifying driving behavior
- Improving their safety scorecard
- Dedication to safety results
- Policy adherence to avoid tickets
- Mentoring newer drivers
- Completion of training
Why Your Business Needs a Safety Recognition Program
An effective workplace safety program is beneficial for many reasons. The first is that it’s cost-effective. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace injuries and illnesses have a major impact on an employer's bottom line. It’s estimated that employers pay almost $1 billion per week for direct workers' compensation costs alone. Combine that with indirect costs such as lost time, and total costs can add up quickly.
Investing in a safety incentive program can remove or reduce high costs like these. Even with the cost of lost production time and the (potential) additional cost of training time, investing in safety recognition programs still saves employers money.
A safety incentive program changes the culture of a work environment, for the better. It creates a more pleasant workplace where employee satisfaction flourishes and loyalty deepens. The positive culture it creates retains employees, and boosts their productivity, which often leads to an increase in profitability as well.
Schedule a demo today to learn how we can help save your company money with a safety incentive program in just a few weeks.
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Most companies formally recognize tenure in some way. Odds are good that your organization is among them. But chances are also good that, like most companies, yours is not realizing the full potential of its service awards program.
By implementing these top 10 best practices shared by great service awards programs, you can establish a solid foundation on which to build a more comprehensive enterprise recognition strategy.
The benefits of taking an enterprise approach to creating a culture of recognition are numerous, with the top three being:
- driving employee engagement
- improving performance
- bolstering retention
Drawing on published research and decades of experience and client service in rewards and recognition, Inspirus has found that the first step toward creating a great place to work is to implement best practices that effectively recognize length of service. Here are our top 10, read on to get more detail about each.
- Ensure timely recognition and notification of Service Award Anniversary dates
- Involve the most meaningful leader in the recognition experience
- Present the award with flair to make the moment memorable
- Provide a choice: a reward valued by one may not be valued by another
- Deliver a user-friendly process for gift selection
- Equip managers with the right tools
- Reflect your corporate brand and image
- Incorporate a personal touch
- Truly celebrate the major milestones
- Integrate rewards with a broader recognition strategy
It doesn’t matter that your organization may already have a service awards program. Nearly nine out of every 10 companies have some form of recognition program, and 72 percent of those include length-of-service recognition. 69 percent have both formal and informal recognition programs in place, but formal is still the most common approach — 23 percent only have formal programs. 49 percent of organizations understand a formal recognition program requires a strategy to be effective, with the vast majority (97 percent) aligning it with organizational goals. However, more than one-third feel their programs have definite room for improvement. 1
The lack of formal strategy may stem from a lack of understanding about what recognition programs are, and how service awards programs, in particular, fit into the larger picture of a recognition culture. Failure to understand incentives and recognition plans are the most common reason they are often misunderstood or criticized.2
The ineffective use of recognition programs is one of the most common reasons for skepticism about their value — which often leads to a lack of buy-in among employees and management.3
Recognition experts agree that if you present a service award but fail to acknowledge the employee’s accomplishments during his or her years of service and neglect to tie it to the company’s mission and goals, then you devalue the recognition moment and the service award. You also miss valuable opportunities to engage employees and enhance your employer brand.
What is a Service Awards Program, Really?
It may sound overly simplistic, but it’s important to understand the language used to define and explain a best-practice recognition program.
WorldatWork and Recognition Professionals International, two global associations focused on compensation, benefits and work-life and rewards programs offer these definitions:
- Recognition: Acknowledging or giving special attention to employee actions, efforts, behavior, or performance; offered “after the fact.”
- Award: An item given to an individual or team in recognition of a specific accomplishment (usually non-cash) as a form of recognition; length-of-service recognition is the most common employee recognition award.
It’s important to note that “awards” are different from rewards and incentives. A reward is an item given to an individual or team for meeting a predetermined goal. An incentive is any form of variable payment (monetary or non-monetary) tied to performance.
Awards, rewards and incentives each have their own important role in a total rewards or total recognition program.
The Value in Employee Recognition and Service Awards
Perhaps the greatest value from a great service awards program is its ability to kick-start a culture of recognition.
Service awards programs — programs that recognize milestones in an employee’s career — are a foundational component, a steppingstone for moving toward a broader recognition culture. Awards programs are, in fact, the only thing that many companies have, so it’s crucial to make the most of them.
Awards at Milestones and Retention Points
A savvy service awards program will look beyond the typical anniversary dates. They will:
- Recognize “mini-milestones” in the first year. For organizations with high turnover, recognizing mini-milestones (every 90 days, for example) can deliver a superior onboarding experience and support early engagement of the workforce.
- Achievement milestones. Don’t forget to recognize successes specific to company goals: award employees for one-time achievements such as product launches, miles driven, or sales goals achieved.
- Recognize the “in-between years.” With today’s workforce, every year is a milestone. Recognizing service annually is an opportunity to stop and say “thank you.” Recognizing the “in-between years” doesn’t have to be expensive — a simple thanks, an e-card or handwritten note lets employees know that you care and that they are valued.
Celebrating a 10-year anniversary creates a unique opportunity to commemorate accomplishments and performance over a span of time. Creating the right experience at important milestone anniversaries can ultimately contribute to employees feeling good about themselves and good about the company — leading to higher levels of engagement with tenured staff.
This point is crucial because of the proven impact employee engagement and motivation have on performance. Companies that are in the top quartile for employee engagement also report earnings-per-share growth that is more than four times their competitors.4
The Solution: Ten Things That Great Service Awards Programs Have in Common
Employee engagement has reached an all-time highest level (34 percent) since Gallup began measuring in 2001. Employee recognition is cited as a dominant reason behind increased engagement.5 Numerous studies highlighting success factors in engagement share several common themes that are independent of the cost of recognition programs.
Here are our 10 best practices for a great service award program:
1. Ensure timely recognition and notification of Service Award Anniversary dates
- Good: Quarterly recognition presentation
- Best: Monthly recognition presentation
It’s always best to make a rewards presentation on or near the actual anniversary date or the event being recognized. Managers responsible for planning and timing service awards presentations should think of them as they would life events celebrated outside the company. Wedding anniversaries and birthdays are typically celebrated on the actual day itself — or very close to it. Why wouldn’t you also celebrate an employee’s anniversary in a timely manner? With service recognition, avoid letting it slip into the next quarter or business cycle.
2. Involve the most meaningful leader in the recognition experience
- Good: Senior leadership
- Best: Manager
Studies have proven that the most meaningful recognition comes from one’s direct manager. It makes sense. Managers are most closely connected with employees on a day-to-day basis and have intimate knowledge of employee skill sets, competencies and deliverables. In short, managers know their employees best and can personalize the presentation most effectively.
Another advantage of having the direct manager or supervisor give the award is that the presenter can set future expectations and goals for the individual and the company — tying the presentation back to the organization’s mission and business goals.
That doesn’t mean senior management shouldn’t be involved in the presentation. They should be present. But the direct presentation should come from a manager or supervisor.
3. Present the award with flair to make the moment memorable
- Good: A stock, scripted presentation for senior leaders given in a group setting
- Best: A personalized presentation by the employee’s manager given in an individual setting
An effective presentation highlights individual accomplishments and says something about that person’s qualities — all while reinforcing your organization’s culture, mission, goals and objectives.
Managers or senior leaders responsible for recognition should be trained to understand the appropriate timing, message, delivery and follow-up of recognition for different members of their multigenerational workforce.
While practicality may dictate that service anniversaries are recognized in a group setting (e.g., a quarterly or annual event where everyone receives service recognition) it is a best practice that employee service anniversaries be recognized in an individual setting as well, such as a lunch, one-on-one or in a team meeting.
4. Provide a choice: a reward valued by one may not be valued by another
- Good: Company swag, watches, common lifestyle items for home and outdoor
- Best: A wide selection of brand name and luxury gifts
Employees want choice, value and brands they trust. For service recognition, many employees also value items that reflect the corporate image in some way. Best practice programs find a way to incorporate all these elements:
- Choice. Employees want options that include a wide range of items.
- Value. Provide gifts that reflect how the organization values its employees. Service recognition awards are often socialized among peers, family and friends.
- Trusted Brands. In today’s consumer-driven world, employees gravitate toward known brands for everything from electronics to housewares.
- Corporate Image. Provide award options that reflect the corporate image and incorporate a branded and personalized item, such as a luggage tag that includes the years of service and commemorates important milestones.
It can best be summed up by saying that the best awards are the ones that you’d not normally go out and buy for yourself.
5. Deliver a user-friendly process for gift selection
- Good: Multiple options for ordering: Web, intranet, phone or mail
- Best: A unique and memorable experience including customized and personalized website and greetings
With the breadth and depth of service awards offered today, long gone are the days when an HR manager simply kept a stockpile of lapel pins to hand out when the occasion arose. For the optimum user-friendly gift selection process, provide employees with a wide variety of options they can select online or via mail catalogs.
Increasingly, best practice programs are taking it a step further by incorporating a customized and personalized website experience. A personalized greeting upon login, a branded corporate experience delivered via animation, messages from the organization’s leadership, and other creative displays that connect with the company’s mission and vision elevate the experience and make a positive impression.
6. Equip managers with the right tools
- Good: Keeping managers informed of upcoming anniversaries
- Best: Keeping managers informed of upcoming anniversaries, as well as providing best-practice presentation tips, celebration guidelines and sample scripts
This best practice may sound like common sense, but again, it’s crucial to the delivery of consistent service recognition throughout the company.
7. Reflect your corporate brand and image
- Good: Company logo is incorporated throughout the experience
- Best: Company brand, history, mission, vision and values, as well as key imagery, are incorporated throughout the experience
Your company is unique. Your people are unique. Service recognition is a time for reflection and introspection. Organizations that want to set themselves apart and establish themselves as an employer of choice, should use this unique opportunity to reinforce the company brand. The company brand can be incorporated into numerous elements of the service recognition experience, including:
- How the recipient is notified
- Throughout the recognition presentation
- During the gift selection process
- Providing a symbolic add-on gift
8. Incorporate a personal touch
- Good: Service recognition certificate is personalized
- Best: Entire recognition experience is personalized
While good service awards programs will include a personalized service recognition certificate, best practice programs take it further by personalizing the entire recognition experience.
The technology exists today to personalize almost everything — from brochures and certificates to e-cards and gifts. It’s even possible to incorporate a personalized custom website. Employees love to see their names animated when they go to the website to order their award — it’s certainly something they’ll talk about and not easily forget!
9. Truly celebrate the major milestones
- Good: Doing something extra at 30, 40 and 50 years of service
- Best: Doing something extra at 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years of service
Just as some birthdays are celebrated differently, major milestone service anniversaries should also include a “step up” celebration element. Dedicating a decade of service can represent 20 to 25 percent of a person’s entire career — it’s a major milestone event and should be acknowledged accordingly.
10. Integrate rewards with a broader recognition strategy
- Good: The organization has a service recognition program
- Best: Service awards are the foundation for a more comprehensive recognition strategy
A best-practice service awards program is an important first step toward establishing a culture of recognition. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to be a great place to work without a well-designed program in place to appreciate all the hard work, time and effort employees contribute toward making the company great.
Employee engagement is proven to improve job performance and retention. A Gallup study showed businesses with performance management systems that focus on engagement — such as positive workplace relationships, frequent recognition, ongoing performance conversations and opportunities for personal development — get the most out of their employees. And when your employees are engaged and productive, they are 18% more productive and your business 23% more profitable*. A great service awards program will elevate employee engagement within your organization.
10-Point Agenda for a Meaningful Recognition Presentation
- Introduce key upper management. Introduce family members.
- State the purpose of the event and its importance.
- Introduce the recipient.
- Use the recipient's full name, and ask the recipient to join you at the front.
- Paint a verbal picture of the recipient. State his or her special attributes and contributions during their career. Personalize your comments and be specific.
- Thank the recipient for their hard work, dedication, and loyalty, and thank any family members who are present.
- Announce the award and present the award package to the recipient. Shake hands and pose for pictures.
- Invite the recipient to speak briefly.
- Congratulate the recipient on their anniversary and thank them again for their service to the company.
- Close the event.
1 WorldatWork, Trends in Employee Recognition, 2019
2 Human Capital Institute
3 Human Capital Institute
4 Gallup Poll: Employee Engagement on the Rise in the US, 2018
5 Gallup Poll: Employee Engagement on the Rise in the US, 2018
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