Employee engagement is crucial to effective team management. Here are 10 employee engagement trends to keep your employees satisfied, happy, and committed to your business.
Employee engagement refers to how much employees are motivated by, involved in, and committed to their jobs and the company they work for. Engaged employees are passionate about their jobs and are willing to go above and beyond to contribute to company success. However, a recent poll by Gallup shows that employee engagement is on a downward trend—with only around a third of US employees feeling engaged at work.
Keeping employees engaged helps improve their performance and enhance their well-being, reduce turnover, and build a positive company culture that can attract new talent. But with employee priorities changing in the current landscape, building and improving employee engagement is trickier than ever.
In this article, we look at 10 of the latest trends in employee engagement so you can create the best engagement strategy for your company.
10 Employee Engagement Trends for 2023
A people-first work culture is one where every employee feels heard and valued.
Conducting employee opinion surveys and regular check-ins allows you to gather feedback and measure employee engagement. You can use the insights gained from these tools to help drive cultural change and improve employee experience.
The most important thing is to not just collect feedback, but also act on it. Surveys may uncover small issues that can be fixed immediately for a quick win. Larger ones may require a more comprehensive plan. Sharing this plan with employees, and your progress in implementing it, ensures they feel heard and demonstrates commitment to meaningful changes.
Another key aspect of a people-first culture is employee recognition. A recent study showed that employees who believed that their managers were skilled at recognizing them were 40% more engaged than others.
You can tailor recognition and reward programs to align with employees’ working set-up and priorities, as well as your budget. For example, an employee-of-the-month bulletin board may not work if your team doesn’t have a common workplace. Consider, instead, a company-wide virtual chat that involves everyone. Social recognition is a great way to inspire employees to work better, and boost team morale.
Our advice: Use an HR and People Management app like Connecteam to foster a people-first culture. It has built-in survey tools and recognition and rewards features so you can put your employees first no matter where they are.
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Flexibility and work-life balance
Flexible and remote working is a big trend that has emerged over the last few years and is here to stay. They’ve become a top priority because they improve employees’ work-life balance.
During COVID-19 lockdowns, employees from across the world were forced to work from home for an extended period. This gave them more time for personal commitments such as spending time with their families, focusing on their health, and taking up hobbies for better mental well-being.
In addition to better work-life balance, 43% of respondents on a Gartner survey also claimed that flexible working made them more productive.
Flexible working doesn’t just mean working from home some (or most) of the time—it also applies to employees who need to be physically present for work. For instance, flexible working options can include allowing workers to choose their own job sites, offering flexibility in shift schedules, or giving them time off in lieu when they’ve gone beyond their contracted hours.
With greater control over their time, employees are happier, more energetic, perform better, and stay loyal to their company.
Employee health and well-being
Greater emphasis on employee wellness, including both physical and mental health, is also high on the list of engagement trends. On the Microsoft 2022 Work Trade Index, 53% of employees said that they were more likely to prioritize their health and well-being over work now than before the pandemic. There’s a lot that companies can do in this space beyond flexible and remote working.
Depending on your budget, you can offer health insurance, discounts on gym memberships, group training sessions, charity runs, and more. You can also provide medical screening and workstation checks so employees know you care for their health and safety at work.
From a mental health perspective, you can provide workers with access to meditation apps and subsidized therapy sessions, or include mental health days in your time off policy. Moreover, it’s important to monitor how much your team is working. Overworking should be addressed before your employees burn out and become unproductive or leave the company entirely.
Finally, supervisors need to be trained in dealing with employee issues sensitively and leading through change. Empathy goes a long way in making employees feel looked after.
Fostering a company culture of community and connection
The pandemic saw a rising rate of loneliness among employees. Although this was largely due to in-office employees working from home and being separated from their teams, it highlighted the importance of maintaining a culture of community and connection for all companies—no matter how or where their employees work.
This is the need of the hour, and employers need to figure out how to achieve this virtually.
Good communication tools are a great way to solve this problem. Work chats let employees connect instantly with managers and each other. One-to-one, group, and company-wide messaging can help employees feel part of a community. Further, providing employees with a social intranet to post updates, send wishes, and thank colleagues is a great way to strengthen team spirit.
Another way to strengthen employee bonds is through company events and holiday parties. You can host these in person or virtually, depending on budget and feasibility. This is a great way of bringing workers together and boosting engagement levels.
Purpose-driven, challenging work that aligns with employees’ values
Now more than ever, people want to work with purpose—whatever that may be—and for a company that aligns with their values. In a Gallup report, 67% of millennials claimed they were more engaged at work when the mission of their company made them feel their job was important.
The same goes for Gen Z, 71% of whom said they’d even take a pay cut to do more meaningful work. You need to hammer home what your company’s values are to attract and retain talent that relates to them.
Further, try to understand what “purpose” means for your employees and help them achieve it at work, even if it’s not part of their day-to-day work. For example, organize volunteering offsites or encourage employees to mentor junior colleagues. A McKinsey report suggested that when employees feel their purpose aligns with that of their organization, they’re more engaged, loyal, and willing to recommend the company to others.
Lastly, employees want work that challenges them. To keep an engaged workforce, check in with your team regularly to ensure that they’re stimulated enough. If they’re bored at work, consider providing training that will upskill or cross-skill them or offer them horizontal growth.
Career growth and professional development
Supporting employees in achieving their long-term career goals is essential to keeping employees engaged. The 2022 LinkedIn Global Talent Trends Report found that employees place high value on professional development and believe it’s the most effective way of improving company culture.
You can provide employees with regular training sessions, either in-person or by providing digital learning tools like custom training courses. Alternatively, you can offer your workers a training budget that they can use on approved courses of their choice. Employees are more engaged when they’re allowed to grow beyond what’s required for their current roles.
In addition to this, mentorship and buddy programs are effective ways to enhance employees’ growth and career development journeys. It’s also important to recognize when your workers are ready to be promoted or need a new role to stay engaged. Ultimately, employees feel supported and you benefit from a skilled and high-performing workforce.
Our tip: Use an advanced learning and development software, such as Connecteam’s employee training software, to ensure your staff’s continuous growth and development.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
The last few years have seen an increased focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion both in and outside of work. Next-generation employees care deeply about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and don’t want to be associated with any discrimination around race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or other factors.
Employers are expected to adopt good practices as early as the hiring process where candidates should be assessed only for their merit. Further, employees want to be promoted and paid fairly so it’s important to be mindful and transparent about this where you can.
It’s also helpful to provide unconscious bias training at all levels of the organization so employees can participate in building and maintaining an inclusive working environment. Conversely, your company should take strict action against any employee, manager, or customer who acts against your DEI policy.
Finally, establishing employee resource groups where workers can plan and run diversity events is a great way to strengthen the spirit of inclusion in the company. Moreover, things like disability-friendly work sites and being respectful of holidays across all cultures can make employees feel valued and safe.
Relevant benefits for millennials and Gen Z employees
Millennials and Gen Z employees make up the majority of the global workforce today, so it’s essential to understand what benefits matter to them. In addition to flexibility, mental health, and DEI, Millennials and Gen Z workers value their freedom. You can consider perks such as generous PTO (paid time off), travel vouchers, and more.
Physical well-being is also top of mind for these generations. Companies that provide health insurance have a huge competitive advantage in the US market. If that’s unaffordable for you, consider small-ticket items such as mental health days or paid volunteer days.
Another notable concern for the next generation is the rising cost of real estate and living. Offering a benefit in this space, such as rent subsidies, is a smart and unique way of keeping employees loyal to the company.
Mobile access to everything employees need
A recent Forbes article suggested that the merging of talent management and technology is top of mind for HR leaders. This makes sense given that the current generation of workers is more tech-savvy and accesses everything from their mobile phones.
Mobile work management apps such as Connecteam can help increase the engagement level of employees. With Connecteam, you can store and manage data securely, create online surveys, assign custom training courses, access an in-app chat, and more. Sign up for a free trial to test Connecteam’s employee engagement tools before upgrading to one of the affordable paid plans.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Artificial intelligence (AI) in HR refers to the use of computer systems to perform tasks that usually require human intelligence, such as scheduling interviews or sending clock in and clock out reminders. Machine learning (ML) is when computers automatically learn and improve from experience—for example, chat-bots getting better with each employee ticket they help resolve.
AI and ML provide insights into what support employees need and how engagement initiatives are working. For instance, these tools could tell you which posts on your company’s social feed are getting the most likes, comments, and reactions so you know what’s keeping your team engaged. They can also help identify areas of concern, such as if an HR ticket is raised repeatedly for a recurring issue.
Engaging employees is a top priority for good human resource management, and rightfully so. Disengaged employees are less productive, more likely to leave, and can damage your reputation with customers and even prospective talent.
However, with employee priorities shifting quickly, engagement tactics that worked in the past may not be as effective today. In this article, we covered the latest trends in employee engagement to help you create an effective plan for your company.
In addition to understanding the overall employee engagement trends of 2023, you need to know what makes your workers tick so you can customize your strategy. Employee surveys, regular communication, relevant benefits, and AI and ML are great ways to do this.
Adopting these insights will help you stay ahead of the curve, retain employees, and gain an upper hand in the war for talent.