Employee engagement is critical to retention. Don’t believe us? The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median period people stay in their jobs is just over four years. And for those age 25 to 34 it’s even less (2.8 years). Broaden this to all millennials, and you’ve got a group that’s even more on the move – a scary prospect given they make up roughly a third of today’s U.S. workforce. So what’s a company to do? Read on for 5 employee engagement predictions – and they’re just the tip of the iceberg.
1. Employee Engagement Deniers, Seek Help Now
The biggest prediction for employee engagement in 2018? Adoption is not an option; it’s a necessity. If you don’t have already have an employee engagement strategy, get one. Even Fortune 500s compete with the gig economy, which trades the traditional work perks of a guaranteed salary and benefits for freedom, flexibility and creativity. Make sure your engagement strategy reflects those desires.
Not only must you have a strategy, you have to be ready to deploy it in as many ways as possible and as early as possible. Passing the drug test shouldn’t be the top onboard “win” for your new hire. Look into attractive benefits plans, flexible work hours or locations, gamification software, or learning opportunities that you can present during the interview process. And remember: today’s employee knows far more about you than you know about them when they walk in the door.
2. Your Employee is Your Customer
Forbes writer Denise Lee Yohn has dubbed 2018 The Year of Employee Experience (EX). This concept transcends traditional employee engagement (better HR, perks and swag, employee as customer, integrated communications) and encompasses “everything the employee experiences throughout his or her connection to the organization.” Consider who your employee is outside your building. Yohn cites compelling research that EX grows corporate stature and profits. We’re not saying to ignore the basics, but nobody buys the house for the foundation. And don’t be surprised if you start seeing “CEXO” – Chief Employee Experience Officer – creep into the C-suite.
3. Make Work Less Work
Before we get to the sexy stuff (integrated platforms!), let’s talk about some employee engagement basics: how people get their daily work done. In a 2016 Oracle Global Engagement study, only 44% of employees felt their companies used the latest technology to support their work. Are you making things easier or harder for your employees? And are you looking beyond the ubiquitous Microsoft Office suite (please)?
Today’s tools (e.g., Slack, Basecamp, Quickbase) feel more collaborative because they are. It’s not about a single person getting their work done, anymore. It’s about teams getting better work done together. But don’t forget to plan for change management. The best tech tools are worthless if they’re not adopted. It’s critical for you to answer “What’s in it for me?” for each employee. Desire is a powerful CPU.
4. Integrate, Analyze, Improve, Repeat
Whether you’re just now designing your employee engagement platform or fine-tuning it, you’ve got to think holistically and create an experience that supports your employees’ entire career path – unless you want it to be with another company.
From platforms that manage basic employee reward and retention programs to more sophisticated offerings that integrate social media, gamification, and even budget targets, technology-based employee engagement is on the rise. For example, Achievers offers a robust employee recognition and engagement platform with a full suite of tools to keep HR continuously informed and employees engaged. The more components included in your solution, the richer the data. It’s like having your own personal dashboard of what motivates your workforce.
Stephen Hunt with SAP Human Capital Management Research writes: “We will see exponential growth in the use of artificial intelligence, chatbots, intelligent services, machine learning, mobile solutions, and social platforms to make work more enjoyable, simple, and engaging.” Critical to these platforms is user-friendliness, mobility, and real-time feedback (think Pulse surveys, not the antiquated annual breed). And speaking of employee engagement, you might want to involve your employees and company brand in your platform’s design if you want it to succeed.
5. Wellness Tech Will Rival Work Tech
Collaboration tools: check. Integrated platforms: check. Health tech? Absolutely.
Even in wellness, tech is playing a bigger role in employee engagement. FastCompany reports that BP, Bank of America, IBM, Target, and other big names are putting wearables in their employees’ hands (and on their wrists). In 2016, FitBit launched Group Health, putting its product at the forefront of corporate wellness programs that are increasingly integrating downloadable fitness data into their health incentive tracking dashboards. In 2018, more and more companies will be helping employees get their 10,000 steps – understanding that an active body outside the cube promotes a more active mind inside it.
These are just a few of the ways great companies are thinking about employee engagement in 2018. Remember: you don’t have to be Google and your office park doesn’t have to be a self-sufficient compound to offer an awesome employee engagement experience.
To learn more about where employee engagement is heading, check out this infographic highlighting results from Achievers’ “New Year, New Job?” 2018 survey.
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About the Author
Laura Beerman is a writer for TechnologyAdvice. Her insights have appeared in RevCycleIntelligence, Becker’s, InformationWeek and other outlets. She has spoken nationally on population health, long-term care, and been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal for her accountable care predictions. She resides in Nashville with her Canadian husband and American kittens. You can find her on LinkedIn.