2015 has been an exciting year for employee engagement, as more and more companies are getting on board and developing best practices for getting the most out of their workforce. However, engagement remains a tricky issue, and one that can’t be solved within one year. We look forward to 2016 as a year of continued development and innovation.
TINYpulse released a list of 16 predictions for employee engagement in 2016:
In 2015, Bersin by Deloitte found that 87% of organisations consider culture and engagement as one of their top challenges. Moreover, 50% call the problem “very important.” This isn’t a one-time solution kind of problem, so expect this trend to carry on throughout 2016.
It will continue to top companies’ lists of priorities since employee engagement is the core of so many vital components of workplace success.
The findings of our 2015 Employee Engagement report show that employees are owning their personal accountability in their workplace experience. Fulfilling their potential looms large in their minds. Companies will find more success in engagement strategies that involve employee initiative and make them an active part of the process.
With personal accountability looming large in employees’ minds, professional development will be a major concern. Organisations understand this need: Bersin by Deloitte’s report found that learning and development issues jumped up the list of talent challenges. Opportunities for growth will be vital — and the lack of them will pop up frequently in exit interviews.
We here at TINYpulse have long argued that onboarding should move beyond the old standby of a stack of paperwork and passively watching presentations — it has to lay out a plan and engage new hires. The importance of professional development only cements this need.
Onboarding will need to become a more active, future-oriented process that allows employees to hit the ground running with a plan for their growth within the company. Without it, employees will flounder.
Another major theme in our 2015 Employee Engagement report is the way that peers can make or break the workplace experience. This is in line with our findings from previous years: In 2013, our data showed that the correlation of happiness with coworker rating was 23% higher than with direct supervisor rating.
And in 2014, employees told us that peers are the number one reason they go the extra mile at work. In other words, the importance of peers for workplace happiness has been consistently high and will get even higher. Hiring the right people will be instrumental in the success of your existing employees.
It’s not just about managing upward anymore. As employees embrace their personal accountability, we’ll see an increase in managing “sideways” too, as they push their peers to be the teammates they need. A potential cause for friction, yes, but with proper guidance from management, this can be a great opportunity for employees to play an active role in keeping themselves engaged and productive.
See: Engaging Millennial Employees with Number One Milennial Company’s Approach
The percentage of employees giving peer recognition has been growing over the past couple years, and in 2016 it will become a dominant form of employee appreciation. The trend has been in place for some time: Our 2013 report showed that, when offered a simple tool to do so, 36% of all workers will provide peer recognition on an ongoing basis. Our 2014 report showed that, when offered a simple tool to do so, 44% of all workers will provide peer recognition on an ongoing basis.
Support your employees in making one another feel valued. They’re a rich resource for workforce appreciation that’s just waiting to be tapped.
The job market recovery and declining unemployment rate will uncover a new attrition risk: the “middle of the pack” employees who are neither strongly engaged nor terribly disengaged. The low commitment level of these workers may not have been an issue when it was an employers’ market and alternate options were scarce.
As more opportunities open up, they’ll easily drift away. To avoid scrambling for replacements, companies must get ahead of the trend and save those whose engagement can be saved — and let go of those who can’t.
Higher required salaries might seem like a drain on company resources, but the investment will pay off. Relieved of financial stress — and possibly the additional stress caused by needing to work extra jobs in order to make ends meet — employees will become more engaged and productive.
Since millennials became the largest generation in the workforce this past year, they will exert majority influence on company culture. This means that workplace values will shift to those prioritised by this generation, from collaboration to social responsibility and work-life integration. 11. The handoff from the old guard will be rocky
As the retirement of baby boomers accelerates, we’ll see the transition to a workforce led by Gen X and millennials. Two out of the three jobs that will open up for college graduates will result from retirements, according to Georgetown’s Center for Education and the Workforce.
A major con: the loss of institutional knowledge as the old guard makes their exit. A major pro: a workforce that’s less tethered to “the way things are” will toss out practices that are based on outdated assumptions.
As baby boomers retire and younger employees fill supervisory roles, the nature of leadership will evolve. Look for management best practices to swing towards more collaborative and less hierarchical. With the workforce embracing personal accountability, this leadership style will have a great wealth of energy to tap into.
Millennials have grown up with information being instantly accessible, so with their voice in the workplace increasing, you’ll hear them pushing more for management transparency. This will be a boon for young and old employees alike, since our data has shown that transparency from leadership has a high correlation with employee happiness.
With the workforce placing more and more importance on both collaboration from leadership and their own personal accountability, look for more feedback processes to become reciprocal. Performance reviews? Forget the one-way road; they’ll become a loop.
Collaboration and transparency can’t happen without feedback. And feedback that comes late is nothing short of useless. Successful organisations will be those who take the pulse of employee issues — monthly, weekly, even daily — instead of waiting to do it once a year. Faster information will mean faster reactions and better outcomes.
With the growth of people analytics, it’s easy to fall into the fallacy that management and engagement should be driven by data. But don’t make the mistake of confusing data with information. Leaders must make the commitment to initiatives that may seem less objective and less efficient — such as 1-on-1 meetings and qualitative feedback — or risk ending up with one-dimensional results.
See also: How to Solve the Employee Engagement Problem