The bottom line is that a strong understanding of engagement will be essential for growth and success in the future. With that in mind, let’s look at 7 key employee engagement trends that should be on your radar for 2020.
1. Cultures of Recognition
Saying thank you is an easy thing to do, so easy that we often underestimate its power. In our 2018 Trendicators Report on employees’ perceptions of recognition at work, 89% of survey respondents said they believed performance-based recognition increases engagement. Companies that prioritize engagement also experience 31% lower voluntary turnover than those without a recognition culture. Recognition doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be transparent, genuine and intentional. The most effective programs are those that flow out of the culture rather than coming from the C-suite as a top-down initiative.
2. Engagement Surveys
Employee engagement surveys have evolved since the days of the annual review. Rather than focusing strictly on employee satisfaction or business metrics, today’s surveys aim to evaluate experiences. They cover all aspects of the employee’s interactions with the company to assess what employees are looking for in their work and what motivates them. Employers can use this information to design better workflows and promote buy-in.
3. Professional Development
Younger workers are looking for more than just a paycheck. They also want an employer that will invest in them. In his book 1,001 Ways to Engage Employees: Help People Do Better What They Do Best, recognition expert Bob Nelson conducted a regression analysis of three million employee surveys and found that career development is the second most important contributor to engagement on the job. Employees want to know they are valued and taking an interest in their career growth is one of the best ways managers can show they care.
4. Employee Experience Platforms
Well-designed career experiences have the power to create holistic work experiences that support employees through the employment lifecycle. With the technology to support these initiatives, companies will be able to achieve more consistent results and stronger engagement among employees. That’s where employee experience platforms (EXP) will make the difference. According to Josh Bersin, an effective EXP should incorporate intelligent, workflow-based solutions that are sensitive to the employee’s context and accessible from any device. They should also track employee interactions, build and manage employee journeys, manage performance analytics and include automated services such as virtual agents, chat and conversational interfaces.
5. Meaningful Work
Today’s workers, especially the younger generations, want to do work that matters. According to SHRM, employees increasingly seek out organizations that take social and environmental responsibility seriously. These workers tend to view the employer/employee relationship as a partnership, and they want to find meaning and purpose in the work that they do every day. To engage with these employees, organizations will need more than a mission statement. They will need to communicate effectively how the work of the individual matters by helping employees set goals, grow professionally and connect their personal contributions to those of their colleagues, teams and the company as a whole.
6. Effective Management of Alternative Workforce
The alternative workforce – i.e., gig workers, contract workers and freelancers – has become firmly entrenched in organizational culture. As their role in the talent market continues to expand, companies will need to find effective ways to engage and manage them. For example, recognition programs should include alternative workers, and organizations should consider flexible ways to use alternative workers strategically for greatest impact.
Technology has permanently changed the HR landscape, and with those changes come many opportunities for learning more about the people in your workforce. But having the data isn’t enough. Organizations must also draw actionable insights from that data so they can create better, more engaging work experiences. Opportunities for the future will include implementing new technologies and tools to increase work efficiency and enrich work through social collaboration and automation.
As you look ahead to 2020, take time to analyze what your organization already does well and where improvements need to be made. Look for gaps in your engagement strategy and determine where your next steps should be.
Employee engagement requires ongoing growth and investment in your workforce. With the right tools in place, you can identify disengaged employees early and take action to address potential engagement and retention risks.