Employee Engagement in 2020




Employee Engagement in 2020_photo of woman using computer

Human resources is always looking for the next best thing/way to connect with employees.  Doing so goes a long way to ensuring business growth and success.

For some, that translates to a new technology or a new strategy surrounding a technology the workforce is using.  While that’s true, it is but a piece of a much larger puzzle.  The same can be said about the relationship between the employee and employer and any number of strategies that could be mentioned.

In reality, what HR is looking for is an employee engagement strategy that delivers the best results possible.

Employee Engagement in 2020

The hardest part for HR to achieve in defining and implementing an employee engagement strategy is trying to find that emotional “glue” that connects the employee to the company. The problem is it’s a different type of “glue” for every organization and every person in the organization.  What connects one person to the company and motivates that person to do their best may not be the same “glue” for a co-worker. 

Additionally, events happening all over the world have some bearing on the strategy as well.

Employee engagement itself isn’t a “check-box” item HR can simply say it’s done because they’ve completed a series of objections.  It changes constantly and HR has to change with it.

Stats to Know

The strategy isn’t the only thing that’s changing.  So too is the data surrounding employee engagement.  Some of the larger points to consider include:

Employee Engagement Strategies

It’s not enough to know the information and data presented above.  HR has to take action.  Below are a series of strategies to consider when looking to better the employee engagement strategy at any given company.  As with the topic itself, these strategies are not applicable in all organizations or industries.

Employees First

“Clients do not come first.  Employees come first.  If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

No doubt that is a familiar phrase.  It was said by Sir Richard Branson, the owner of the Virgin Group.  It can be a hard pill to swallow for most, but from an employee engagement perspective it is very true. 

Think about it for a moment. 

Every business is focused on making sure their clients are satisfied, not only with the customer service, but the product as well.  That gets increasingly more difficult if your employees aren’t connected to the company and the product.  If the employees aren’t giving their best, what makes the leaders think they are going to do their best in selling the product or be brand ambassadors for the business?  A few years ago, that might have been the case, but as more and more millennials enter the workforce, not to mention Generation Z, that’s changed.  Pay isn’t as important as it once was.

Engaging with employees becomes significantly important here.  That engagement can take the form of employee development that supports growth.  It can also take the form of feedback.  Listening to employees can serve a company well.  Not only does it allow for the discovery of potential problems, but it allows a company the ability to gain insight from employees about how to better the product, business process, or overall communication to name a few. 

Recognition

“Everyone wants to be appreciated, so if you appreciate someone, don’t keep it a secret.”

That was uttered by Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics.  It’s simple, but recognition, especially of an employee by a manager/leader, goes a long way.

This plays into the need of the employee to know the organization is paying attention and investing in them. It also does a lot in the way of motivating employees.  A strong and trusted rewards and recognition program creates one of the reason employees need to succeed.  When employees succeed, so too does the company.

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Work-Life Balance

Every HR professional has experienced a tightening of the budget in their careers.  That usually means HR teams are unable to put funds toward purchasing the latest technology or tools to help better the employee engagement strategy.

But is there a cost-friendly way to go about it?  Yes.

This is where flexibility comes into the mix.  It’s been on the minds of HR professionals for some time, but only within the last few years has it started to become a fully-realized strategy.  Among millennials and Generation Z workers, flexibility is the main driver behind finding the work-life balance so many seek.

The data supports that claim.

75% of workers, according to FlexJob, say they are more productive at home.  There are fewer distractions, less stress as it relates to traveling to and from work, and the avoidance of office politics.

Diversity & Inclusion

At first glance, it may be difficult to see how diversity and inclusion fits in to the larger employee engagement strategy.  Naturally, it feels like more of a recruitment/talent acquisition strategy than an engagement strategy.

While that may have been the case years ago, it’s not now especially as more and more workers are looking to their employer to be more socially conscious.  Take Generation Z for instance.  According to Allegis Group, 82% of Generation Z workers consider an organization’s corporate social responsibility, or CSR, a major factor when deciding where to work.  Furthermore, 66% would take a pay cut to work for a more socially responsible company.  In other words:  if the organization is not embracing diversity and inclusion, it can lead to a disconnect between employees and potential job candidates and the company.

Additionally, a diverse and inclusive workforce has major benefits to an organization.  It allows for employees to bring different ideas and solution to the table.  All of these are informed by their backgrounds and other dimensions of diversity.  This feedback is critical especially when measuring the impact of engagement across the board.

Wellness

Wellness is something that will be huge in the next year and it will become a great engagement tool.

Adults spend a lot of their waking time at work.  It makes sense that if a person is healthy in all aspects their ability to work is far improved and the company benefits.  Health has a direct correlation with employee productivity and performance levels.  In fact, a Global Corporate Challenge study says happier employees are more productive at work.

Mental Health

In addition to wellness, mental health will continue to be a high priority for HR professionals in 2020.  It can have a major impact on the employee engagement strategy within an organization.

Poor mental health causes a loss of 70 million working days every year according to PMLiVE.  Additionally, there are a number of surveys and case studies available showing the negative impact of mental illness on an organization and their continued ability to engage employees.

As companies start and continue to embrace mental health initiatives in the workplace, employees will be increasingly connected to the company and each other.

In Summation

There any number of strategies that have a positive impact on employee engagement within a company.  At the end of the day, the focus is really on making sure the employee feels supported by the organization.  When the employee feels connected and supported, there will be increases in her/his productivity and the company will feel the impact.  But it’s more than just a financial impact.  Companies who embrace employee engagement will see lower turnover rates and will see the creation of more “forever employees”.  No matter how HR looks at it, employee engagement is a win-win for the organization, one that requires a lot of continuous work.  The pay-off is worth it in the end.

 

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Photo courtesy:  Pexels

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