It’s more and more often the case that employers are prioritizing employee engagement. Very few employers need to be convinced that having satisfied and motivated team members is not only beneficial, but critical to the success of any organization. Though the foundations of maintaining a healthy and happy staff – such as having strong leadership, communication, and training – haven’t changed, emerging trends impact the way employers approach engagement. Read on to learn more about the latest trends in employee engagement.
Prioritizing Mental Health
Anxiety, depression, and other mental ailments are big costs to employers. Annual costs for mental health are increasing nearly twice as fast as all other medical expenses in recent years, according to CNBC and data from Aetna Behavioral Health. Employees suffering from depression, specifically, submit nearly 3x the amount in medical claims as compared to the general population. And so, as these health costs rise, employers are committing to prioritizing better conditions for improved mental health. Some (like Starbucks) are even covering costs for tools like Headspace, that encourage meditation and relaxation. Others promote mental wellness by encouraging employees to take periodic, paid mental health days. Leadership training teaches managers to identify mental-health and substance-abuse issues, so they can be faster to respond with needed support. Employee wellness is expanding beyond physical health to include all facets of employee well-being.
Today’s teams thrive on professional development and career training. In fact, “LinkedIn reported that 44% of people said that personal development and career advancement opportunities were the reason why they chose their current jobs.” Rather than viewing professional development and training as helping your employees out the door and onto better opportunities, carefully consider and design career paths for each position in your company. Then, provide training and development paired with opportunities to take on new responsibilities. You’ll encourage ambition, growth and engagement among your staff.
More Frequent Performance Feedback
In the age of Yelp reviews and immediate feedback, younger generations don’t want to wait a year for their annual review to find out how they’re doing and to provide feedback of their own. Companies are now initiating more frequent check-ins and feedback on performance.
In an effort to increase innovation and collaboration, many employers are deconstructing hierarchy by changing the approach to everything from team meeting agendas to workplace layouts.
This kind of change can increase employee engagement by allowing the team to be more effective and see the direct impact of their efforts.
A Greater Focus on Innovation and Change
Change is happening all around us; and it’s faster than ever before. To remain competitive and relevant, companies must adapt quickly and recognize inherent opportunities. In order for an enterprise to have that agility, its employees must also possess those characteristics. Advances in technology have created an environment of rapid change and process improvement.
It stands to reason that employees should have the ability to challenge and improve existing process and methodology. When employees are given the opportunity to be involved with the company and contribute to change and growth, they will inevitably feel more connected and engaged.
A Greater Culture of Recognition
In a competitive market for top-quality employees, candidates tend to favor those companies that value and recognize great employees. Recognition is becoming increasingly tied to results. Companies that value and recognize behaviors and qualities that contribute to making it a high-performing and successful entity, such as innovation, strategic thinking, and collaboration, are seeing the greatest benefit from their recognition practices.
Recognition coming from the top down is valuable, but lately, companies are also adopting peer-to-peer recognition models. Peer-to-peer recognition programs allows employees to give each other kudos for day-to-day accomplishments and good deeds, enhancing the sense of community and collaboration employees feel.
A Work/Life Blend
Flexibility and adaptability from companies continue to be characteristics that are highly valued by employees. Today’s employees tend to not make a clear distinction between their private and work lives. The time they spend at work is a part of their social life, and time spent at home can include hours of productive work.
Companies that adopt policies and practices that reflect this work/life blend are more likely to have engaged employees. Such policies and perks can include flexible work hours and work from home opportunities. Policies like rigid work schedules and dress codes that are seen as being limiting or restrictive by employees are likely to soon become a thing of the past, as they are no longer how engage employees successfully.
To be sure, the concept of empowering employees as a way of improving their engagement is not a new one by any means. Nevertheless, the movement to give employees greater authority and autonomy will continue to spread among companies everywhere. When staff members feel that they have a part to play in how their work is done, they tend to feel a greater sense of satisfaction with their job. They also are more likely to come up with innovations and ways to improve the company as a whole.
Many companies that want to empower their workforce more are turning towards employee engagement surveys as a means to do so. They can be effective tools to give employees a voice and to be an active part of improving their work environment.
See the Data Behind the Trends
Using Benchmark Reports, you can compare your own employee data and employer practices to those of some of the most competitive organizations in the marketplace. What would you do with that data? Identify the gap between your current station and excellence? Develop a data-driven communication strategy when recruiting talent? Consider throwing your own hat in the ring to compete for such a title?