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2016 Employee Engagement Trends

Oct 14, 2015

Written by: John O'Brien
(View Author Bio)

The workplace is changing and employee engagement strategies are changing along with it. Anyone involved in employee engagement knows that conventional wisdom has been turned on its head by a newly plugged-in and charged-up generation of workers.

TREND: Focus on happiness

Organizations have been trying to “sell” employees on engagement but what employees really want is happiness, pure and simple. Instead of declaring undying loyalty or planning long-term career intentions, employees want to enjoy their work, find meaning in it, be recognized when they do well and feel a sense of achievement.

What can you do?

  • Acknowledge contributions and effort. Go beyond the cookie-cutter recognition program and create unique recognition tailored to employees’ passions.
  • Recognize service. Don’t wait for the traditional five-year anniversary. Celebrate milestones early and often, including at one month and one year.
  • Enhance your culture. Work should be somewhere employees want to be, not have to be. Don’t be afraid to give them opportunities to thrive.

TREND: Ask more from managers

Of course it’s true that the standard practice is to acknowledge contributions made across every level of the organization. But still, there’s an added zing when an immediate supervisor or manager notices—and recognizes—excellent work. Managers might need some help in spotting and rewarding desired behaviors but the effort will pay off in the long run.

What can you do?

  • Train them. Let managers know why recognition is important and the value it plays in reinforcing key behaviors.
  • Empower them. Research shows that when managers have recognition budgets to use at their discretion, employee tenure increases.
  • Communicate, then measure, then do it all again. Spread the word and keep checking back to make sure goals are being met.

TREND: Make work meaningful

In a market that’s increasingly shifting in job-seekers’ favor, employees are looking for more than “just a job” and are seeking work that’s personally meaningful. If employees aren’t using their skills and being challenged, they’ll move on. Hiring managers might be seeking someone to complete specific tasks immediately but they must also make sure even entry-level jobs provide opportunities to learn, contribute and grow.

What can you do?

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John O'Brien

Vice President
Employee Performance Group

As Vice President of BI WORLDWIDE’s Employee Performance Group, John O’Brien’s primary focus is to develop employee engagement strategies and solutions that change the behaviors of employees to align with customers’ business objectives. An expert in Employee Recognition Strategy, he educates HR professionals around the world on how to best engage their employees through employee engagement strategies, solutions and best practices.