Fifty-six percent of human resources professionals say their organizations performed better this year than in 2010, which is 37 points higher than the previous poll from January 2011, according to a survey by ORC International, a global market research firm. 

The survey also finds that 83 percent of respondents are considering raises by the end of the year, an increase from 66 percent in January. Another 74 percent of respondents are planning to give bonuses at the same or greater level than last year when only half expected this in January.

ORC International says the survey results suggest negative feelings regarding the economy have largely subsided this year. Staff retention, recruitment, pay raises and bonuses are all indicators of growth and optimism. Still, while these may be promising, employee engagement levels remain low.

“Overall, it is encouraging that HR professionals are optimistic about the economy and seeing the light at the end of the recessionary tunnel,” says Matt Roddan, research director of ORC International’s Employee Research practice. “However, it is troubling to see engagement levels in the U.S. remain low. Now is a crucial time for organizations to engage with their employees to ensure key talent is retained as the economy recovers. Through our experience in working with organizations on their engagement challenges, when companies continuously measure employee opinion, such as conducting an employee survey, acts as an excellent way to improve engagement levels, strengthen the employer brand and retain key talent.”