Employee engagement is still number one on the minds of human resource professionals. According to Cascade HR’s The 2019 HR Landscape Report employee engagement has topped the list for the second year in a row, with 40 percent of the 400+ respondents stating this will be their main challenge in the coming year. This is a good reminder why continual listening, monitoring and immediate interaction are the best ways to counter disengagement — but at the same time, paying attention to what’s working well for other organizations is critical to success.
In this first part of the year, let’s take the time to see what challenges HR is facing, along with current trends, and predictions we can make for employee engagement in 2019.
HR still challenged to manage employee engagement
Now that 2019 is here, human resources is already working to overcome some of the challenges surrounding employee engagement. No longer is it just a matter of casually measuring it. Understand, this is helpful data to monitor, but it is more important to understand the underlying factors that drive employee engagement.
Most organizations are being affected in part by the changing structure of the workforce, which is quickly shifting to non-traditional methods. Telecommuting has become a regular part of millions of jobs, and there are increasing numbers of companies hiring employees from overseas and freelancers. How can employers keep these employees engaged in the corporate mission, let alone measure it? Technology that allows for two-way communication can help facilitate relationships between remote workers and managers. Employee engagement mobile-friendly platforms can encourage remote employees and freelancers to check in regularly.
Consider that there are employees at all different levels of their careers, therefore they will have varying experiences that can influence engagement. Top performance employees may appear to be highly engaged when really they are just hoping to look good to the leadership team in order to gain a promotion. Then they wonder if they’ve settled for too little and end up moving on to another firm. Employees who are relatively new to the company may be rising stars, but if they are not given reasonable goals in the organization that mesh well with their personal and professional goals, disengagement may be on the horizon.
There are also organizational factors that influence employee engagement. There seems to be a divide between those HR teams who view employee engagement as part of their corporate make-up and those that treat it as a once or twice a year report. How serious employee engagement is taken by HR and leadership can impact the bottom line of the business. If it’s critical to the success of the organization, nothing should stand in the way of continual monitoring and improving things so that more employees stay connected to the company. It is not hard to spot companies that care about employee engagement — they demonstrate this in their corporate brand, their hire and retention rates, and their ability to be innovative.
What’s trending in employee engagement management?
Employee engagement is being used in many interesting and new ways. HR is using the suggestions of employees to make improvements in their daily experience. At the same time, they are being proactive (instead of reactive) and this is a position of control. HR and leaders alike are celebrating the ideas submitted and improvements alongside employees, giving credit where it’s due.
The data that employee engagement surveys provides also gives management an opportunity to improve their own performance. When employees have a safe space to share their ideas and suggestions (good or bad) it can be viewed as a coaching moment for their immediate supervisor.
Employees may be less willing to complete lengthy and tedious annual engagement surveys, so an on-demand, daily reminder approach will be easier to manage. Mobile device use is likely to replace all desktops, therefore having access to employee engagement data and the ability to post updates on a mobile app are critical.
What does the future bring for employee engagement?
As mentioned earlier, mobile technology is enabling HR to stay on top of employee engagement, even when a growing portion of the workforce is expected to be remote. Several studies indicate that by the year 2020, half of the US and UK workforce will be remote. On top of this, there will be many more individuals starting businesses, so that employers will need to be able to attract those with an entrepreneurial spirit to share their talents and engage with their brands.
Employee engagement is not just a buzzword or a passing phase. We predict that in the immediate future, managing and monitoring employee engagement will be a daily activity for HR and even for supervisors. Why? Employee engagement directly affects every other aspect of the organization, in the areas that matter the most. Poor employee engagement is a symptom of a bigger problem, so it’s worth staying on top of, no matter the challenges.
Thymometrics is the new breed of employee feedback technology. Through real time, always-on surveys and feedback solutions, we provide revolutionary yet simple tools to empower employees whilst providing managers with deep and useable insights to improve business culture, staff well-being, productivity and profitability.
Photo by Garidy Sanders on Unsplash.