Top 5 Employee Engagement Trends for 2019

Increases in technology and employee management strategies have driven home an important point: employee engagement is important to business success, and yet woefully ignored. Gallup reports only 15 percent of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs. American workers are twice as likely to be engaged, but even so, that leaves 70 percent of employees who are disengaged at work.

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The cost of disengaged employees to US businesses is a staggering $350 billion a year. To put that in perspective, for every unengaged employee on staff your business will lose $2,246 per year. Presuming the national average for disengagement this means a company with 100 employees can expect to lose $157,220 a year.

Disengaged employees take more sick days and are more likely to be late to work. They’re more likely to miss deadlines, complain, and cause customer complaints. Turnover rates are higher when employee engagement is low, morale tends to be low, and engaged employees find it more difficult to work to their full potential.

With that said, there’s tremendous potential to improve your business, reduce turnover, and improve your employee’s lives with employee engagement strategies. Here are five trends we expect to see gain traction in 2019.

Providing Purpose

It’s sometimes overlooked, but employees need to feel what they do matters. A sense of purpose is important–without one, your employers are just putting in their hours for a paycheck, with no sense of their own value.

57 percent of millennials wanted work that’s either enjoyable or makes a difference in society.

Younger employees, especially, want their work to have a purpose. The Atlantic reports 57 percent of millennials wanted work that’s either enjoyable or makes a difference in society. Capitalize on this by ensuring employees understand company values, and how their tasks–no matter how small–affect company success. Recognition is closely related to feelings of purpose; rewarding or recognizing employee efforts reminds them of their value to the company, increasing engagement.

A Focus on Employee Experience

Employee experience refers to everything the employee does or feels on the job. Corporate culture, technology, workspace, and support systems all factor into employee experience. The better the experience, the more engaged the employee. SHRM reports that companies who value and cultivate employee experience have four times the average profits of their nonexperiential peers and see 40 percent less turnover.

The importance of employee experience has led some companies to foster employee experiences as much as customer experiences. The two strategies are intimately related: companies who lead their fields in customer experience have employees who are 60 percent more engaged than staff in companies who put less emphasis on the customer experience.

Improving customer service naturally leads to better employee experiences. The salesperson who has to deal with employees in the warehouse will provide better service if her experience with the back-end process goes smoother. By treating each employee as customers, you ensure a better employee experience from the bottom up, culminating in a great customer experience.

Positive employee experience depends on the strength of company culture, recognition, interdepartmental relationships, learning opportunities, and more. Real time employee engagement polls help HR track these factors and how they impact employees.

Professional Development

Technology is evolving at an ever faster rate. AI, automation, augmented reality, and software advances are all changing the job market, leaving employees concerned their current skills will quickly become obsolete.

Younger employees, in particular, consider professional development important to employee engagement. Deloitte Insights reports training and development rank as the number one job driver for employees under the age of 25, and number two for employees up to age 35.

Adopting professional development into your employee engagement strategies increases your employees sense of shared investment in the company while decreasing turnover rates. Providing opportunities to learn new skills also provides employees with proof of the company values and invests in them.

Performance Management

Traditional performance reviews were a trial for managers and a major stressor for employees–and the data harvested from such reviews was subpar at best. Today, the use of real-time feedback tools has revolutionized data-driven performance management.

The ability to provide feedback quickly is a surprisingly effective employee engagement strategy. Employees value feedback–it helps them perform better and improves their standing in the workplace. Effective performance management helps employees align their personal goals with larger organizational goals, helping both employee and company develop and grow.

Diversity and Inclusion

A commitment to diversity and inclusion encourages trust in an organization. Employees feel psychologically safe knowing their company has a commitment to fairness and equity. The company benefits as well: diverse and inclusive work teams are more engaged, innovative, and creative.

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