Where Is Employee Engagement Headed in 2018?

We live in an ever-changing, fast-paced world, so there’s an ongoing need to engage employees in novel ways. Employee engagement is crucial, because when employees are highly engaged, they take fewer sick days, and they tend to remain with the organization. Productivity and customer interactions increase, too, which leads to revenue growth.

Uncertainty in the Workplace

Many countries are presently dealing with change and its unforeseen consequences. In the United States, for example, a certain amount of uncertainty remains regarding changes prompted by the Affordable Care Act. There are also inevitable changes in regulations and international trade, changes related to technological advancement, and shifts in rules regulating the importation of talent from other countries.

All of these changes can have an impact on pay, benefits, and workplace competitiveness. Uncertainty surrounding these and other changes can negatively affect employee engagement.

The Importance of Senior Leaders

The old adage was that employees stayed because of their supervisors. This is changing with the multigenerational workforce. Due to the uncertainties noted above, employees look to senior leadership to see how leaders navigate changes that affect employment.

Workers want confident leaders who can tolerate a certain level of ambiguity Click To Tweet

Workers want confident leaders who can tolerate a certain level of ambiguity. Employees also want transparent communications, which include the “why” behind decisions being made within the company.

Foundation

The foundational aspects of employee engagement include company culture, work/life balance, job security, and chances for advancement. Employees are seeking a culture of fairness, autonomy, empowerment, and support. Employees want better work/life balance, while also having a sense of job security.

Employment Engagement Strategies

Fairness is an element that is invariably important to employees. The idea of fairness correlates with a company’s reward and recognition program, including pay. Companies need to be both transparent and fair with salary ranges, making it clear who earns which rewards, and which accomplishments deserve recognition. As a company’s transparency regarding its rewards and recognition program increases, employee engagement should grow accordingly.

Human resources needs to set up a support system for employees to drive a culture of empowerment Click To Tweet

A second element valued by employees is a culture of empowerment and autonomy. Human resources can foster this culture by allowing for collaborative goal setting and flexibility in how goals are reached. A company might set policies for a flexible work environment by allowing individuals to work remotely, or to set their own hours. This fulfills employees’ desire for work/life balance. Human resources will need to set up a support system for employees. This should include timed check-in sessions, feedback, and a mentor to ensure the employee is achieving their goals.

Opportunities for career advancement are highly important to employees. Human resources can provide leadership development programs in order to bring structure to succession planning. Criteria used to choose individuals for any leadership program should be transparent. Human resources can also tie individual development plans into the metrics that will be used for goal attainment. Goal achievement can be another requirement for career advancement, and can ensure revenue growth.

Keep Employees at the Center

Corporate communications focus on connecting the employee role to the success and mission of the company.

In the past, it was common for companies to put the needs of the organization over the needs of the employee. This model does not work especially well with today’s multigenerational workforce. The workforce is now likely to include a mix of baby boomers, Generation X’ers and millennials, so companies are focusing on the employee experience.

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