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By Razor Suleman

New year. New you.

New problems? No thanks.

Well, that fresh attitude may have sufficed for the dawn of 2012. But now that we’re a little bit deeper into the year, it’s time to shake off that idealistic approach to this year’s workplace.

Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment. For HR professionals, the reality is that the industry’s ever-evolving and fast-paced nature is bound to bring on challenges “bigger and badder” than the year before. And turning a blind eye isn’t going to work to anyone’s advantage if you want to retain your top talent.

A pat on the back won’t suffice

So, when it comes to 2012, it’s important to recognize what obstacles sit top of mind in HR and the most effective means of overcoming these hurdles. The performance equation between employee engagement scores and business results are directly correlated.

Naturally, the C-Suite and HR professionals alike want an engaged workforce because it means: a) that the employees are happy; and, b) the business is succeeding. The best form of motivation? Recognition. Employee recognition identifies positive behaviors and inspires repetition, which in turn, increases business results.

In 2012 though, a pat on the back just won’t suffice. HR professionals must identify and recognize the major recognition trends in order to execute a seamless engagement strategy. There are many recognition trends taking precedent in the workplace, but here are the top three that everyone in HR needs to know this year:

1. Social recognition

Thought you exhausted the term “social” in 2011? Well, in 2012, “social” will become your second nature.

As technology continues to enable (and monopolize) our lives, social media too is evolving, providing more forums and outlets to solicit immediate feedback. We saw the spark of social recognition last year. This year, be prepared to see this trend take off.

Gone are the days when feedback was an annual, one-on-one conversation between managers and employees. Today, employees not only want feedback more regularly; they need ongoing recognition to be motivated to drive results.

What’s more? It’s not enough for them to know how they’re doing at work. The employees of 2012 want to be able to share meaningful moments and recognitions at work with their social networks, hence, social recognition.

2. Mobile

Believe it or not, computers are not only a trend of the past, but they’ve also been replaced. In 2012, everything is mobile-enabled, and if it’s not, it’s kaput.

More and more, you will see your employees depending on their mobile and tablet devices to work, communicate, and socialize (virtually, of course). As is the same for an effective recognition strategy. It is essential that recognition be mobile-enabled so that employees have access to the feedback they need to drive results.

Mobile recognition leverages a company’s ability to create a collective culture, as it transcends global barriers.

3. Gamification

A motivated workforce is a successful workforce; that’s why the smart employers in 2012 are making an investment in their employees to ensure they are happy, challenged, and stimulated at work on a day-to-day basis. The Gamification strategy has proven to be a particularly successful trend when it comes to recognizing and rewarding sales teams or departments with specific metric goals, identifying top performers and reinforcing positive behavior.

Implement a Gamification strategy that inspires individual performance without compromising a team dynamic. Incorporate gaming into the workplace is a recognition trend that will foster individual results while targeting team collaboration.

Reprinted with permission of TLNT.com

Razor Suleman is founder and chief evangelist of Achievers (formerly I Love Rewards), a company that helps organizations reward and recognize brilliant employee performance. Contact him at razor@achievers.com.

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