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4 Short Articles; 1 Comprehensive Story

I read HR Magazine in short bursts - usually when I am 5+ minutes early for an appointment. It takes a month to read the monthly publication at this rate. In today's world, we rarely sit down and read any publication cover to cover. Personally, I like short articles that summarize larger items. The 4 titles that clearly came together for me were:
  1. Fewer Freezes
  2. Salary Increases, Variable Pay Lower than Expected for 2010
  3. Employee Engagement Gains are Tenuous
  4. Most Companies Unprepared for Succession at the Top

It's really 2 plus 2

The first two stories represented one theme. Hewitt Associates, in the Fewer Freezes story, states that the number of companies freezing salaries in 2010 was down significantly and they anticipate the trend to continue into 2011. The second story states that while pay raises and variable pay awards in 2010 were lower than expected, there is some optimism for 2011. The theme to me - a slowly but steadily improving economy. The second two stories talk about upcoming movement to me. In the first of these two stories, Sibson Consulting defines an engaged employee as someone that "knows what to do and want to do it." WorldatWork. earlier this year, reported that less that half (39%) of US workers said that the recession has helped them appreciate their jobs more. The final story of the four seems to be an ongoing theme - talent management at the top of the company and at the top of company's functional areas is not getting the attention it needs.

A comprehensive story?

There is a clear opportunity for leadership in all functional areas to address this. Sibson Consulting's David Insler states that strong leadership is needed in strengthening employee engagement. "This can be done through clear leadership direction, improved communications, support and feedback to employees, setting a high performance bar and rewarding top performers accordingly." There were no clear recommendations from the final article. If I were to write one, it would be that companies need to address this at some point and that they can chose that point in time. Now would be smart - it can be done proactively. It can also be done when the need arises - when a key person leaves based on the slowly improving economy, the increasing number of executive opportunities, and the failure to address the level of employee engagement. I'm starting to read November's HR Magazine later today!