Employee engagement has been on the rise over the years. In fact, it is expected that by 2022, up to 85% of companies will have an employee engagement strategy. What does the future hold for HR leaders, managers and employees?
So what are the trends that businesses will face as they continue to be enforced by a need for greater efficiency?
This blog post will answer all these questions and more…
Come along on our journey and we'll explore some of the trends that will shape not only employee engagement, but business culture as we know it going forward.
12 employee engagement trends you must watch for in 2022.
- Humanness over Productivity
The “human” element took the center stage during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the way that it forced many companies to focus on the well-being of their employees over anything else. This shift will favor human-centric organizations and leaders who value collaboration, mental health of employees and personal growth. The idea that we are more than our work and performance, and there is a "human" element to every individual, will gain traction over the next few years.
To have a successful organization in 2022, it will be important to have leaders and employees who are genuinely interested in supporting each other. It’s important, tomorrow's organizations make mental health and real connections a top priority for employees and managers.
- Purpose Alignment Is Essential
According to the "State of Employee Engagement Report" from Qualtrics, 81% of employees say that if they had a better understanding of how their work contributes to the goals of their organization, they would be more motivated. So, as you look to the future, it's critical that you have a strong sense of your company's purpose and mission so that you can communicate it clearly to your employees.
- Future-Focused Culture Is Key
Employees are more likely to stay with a company if they believe it has a positive future. And while culture may not be something you can easily control, there are steps you can take to put yourself in the best position possible for success. For example, encouraging employees to keep learning will help them feel more engaged in their roles. That's because continuing education provides people with a sense of autonomy (which research shows is linked to higher job satisfaction) and growth opportunities (which help people feel more confident and prepared).
- Measure impact not output.
The future of employee engagement is about measuring the impact employees have on the organization rather than the outputs they produce. Your employees should care about making an impact on all stakeholders including customers, shareholders and fellow employees, so if your company could measure what kind of impact each and every one of your employees had on those groups -- how would you do it?
- People will also have multiple careers in a lifetime.
We're in the midst of a revolution that will change the way we work for generations. And it's not only about technology or new management styles — it's about people and their expectations of work, as well as their employers.
A few years ago, Gartner predicted that by 2022, 40% of workers would have a side hustle. With the digital transformation well underway, the workforce is changing. You may have heard of the gig economy, or even have participated in it yourself as a freelancer or contractor. The gig economy is one trend that has been developing for a while now.
- More AI & Automation
Artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to be more prevalent in our lives and in the workplace. Employees across industries and job functions will leverage AI-powered systems to complete tasks such as scheduling and email management.
This shift toward automation will require employees to learn new skills, which may result in increased stress levels among employees who are already facing pressure from their workloads. To help ease this stress, organizations should provide opportunities for employees to learn these new skills, such as time dedicated for training or access to online learning platforms.
- Rise of Gamification in corporate trainings
The trend for gamification will continue to grow in 2022 as companies look for more creative and innovative ways of training their employees. In fact, many businesses are already using virtual reality devices and gaming simulators to enhance their training programs.
Among the benefits of using gamification in corporate training, we find that employees can more easily retain information, they're more likely to apply what they've learned to their jobs and they're more engaged with their work. This is also beneficial from a management perspective, as employee engagement and retention go hand-in-hand with productivity.
- A focus on work-life balance and mental health
Today is the day of work-from-home or hybrid work. And tomorrow looks like it'll be even more so. Covid-19 Pandemic made us understand the importance of work-life balance.
One of the most promising developments of the future will be that employees will be more likely to work fewer hours and still get their work done. This will be driven by flexible working, the rise of more remote-only and hybrid workspaces which gives us more autonomy over where, when and how we do our jobs — and technology which means we're not stuck in front of our desks or in an office for eight hours a day.
Greater focus on mental health support. After a year of unprecedented stress and anxiety driven by individual factors like job loss or isolation to global events such as COVID-19 or racial injustice, tomorrow's organizations will make mental health a top priority for employees and managers.
- Personal recognition and rewards programs will become more personalized
According to a recent study by the Achievers Employee Engagement Institute, modern employees are looking for more than just a paycheck. The study suggests that the next generation of employees will be driven by recognition and rewards at work.
Additionally, today’s rewards programs are “one size fits all,” which is why they fail. Even when employees receive the same reward, they value those gifts differently. One person might love a bonus while another would prefer more time off with their family. In 2022 and beyond, companies will recognize this fact and create more personalized programs that cater to their employees’ individual needs and preferences.
You may like: 9 Tried and tested ways to boost employee morale in 2022
- Employees Are Looking for More Transparency from Their Leaders
A trend we're seeing in 2022 is employees asking their employer to be more transparent. Employees want their leaders and managers to share financial performance, company goals and strategic plans with them. Employees desire information on how the business is faring overall, as well as how their individual teams are performing. They want this information so they can better understand how their work contributes to the success of the business as a whole.
Engaged employees want an authentic connection with their leaders and co-workers. This means that leaders need to be able to provide measurable insights on how employees are helping the organization succeed, while also providing support to help them achieve their own professional goals.
- Employee retention will become a top priority for companies of all sizes.
The widespread resignation as a result of the pandemic, made employee retention to be one of the top challenges for HR managers. And this war for talent out there is only going to get worse.
Companies know that once an employee leaves, it costs them six to nine months of salary to replace them. It also drops productivity dramatically among remaining employees and can cause a loss of customers. To combat this, organizations will have to focus on creating engaging workplaces with high job satisfaction.
- Emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion
The emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) will continue at an even greater velocity. Tomorrow's organizations will be more transparent about DE&I goals and strategies they're using to achieve them. They'll measure success beyond numbers to include cultural fit and belonging. And they'll be held accountable for their progress (or lack thereof) like never before.
Takeaway: A great future is not chiseled out of rock by a strong man with a hammer. It’s built on daily progressions towards the vision, with small incremental steps that add up over timeYou see, behind every great leader or business there are thousands of tiny things that are being done right each and every day, by everyone. If leaders don’t “see” these things and acknowledge them publicly, then people stop doing them and it sets employee engagement back.
As we enter the age of artificial intelligence (AI), human connection will be the most important currency. With a little foresight, you can stay ahead of the employee engagement trends curve and position your organization for success in 2022 and beyond.
Looking for something more than just another team activity? Talk to our experts and unlock the fullest potential of your team with high levels of employee engagement and productivity.