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In today’s work force, encouraging employee engagement can be a struggle, especially considering the economic troubles. However, developing a connection between company executives and employees can improve engagement, says Jason Carney, director of human resources at WorkSmart Systems Inc., a professional employer organization in Indianapolis. As many employees are not seeing the kind of pay raises that may have happened before the recession, it’s increasingly important to find other ways to foster engagement, and developing those key relationships is a huge step in the right direction.

“Any time you have the ‘us versus them’ mentality, no amount of pay or benefits will keep someone engaged and looking forward to coming to their jobs every day,” Carney says. “The more you can portray your senior executives as humans with the same issues and struggles and who are open to the ideas of everyone else, the more engaged your folks will be. Anything that can make someone get out of bed and want to go to work besides pay and benefits is huge.”

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