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Posted on 15 June 2021

Six standout changes in employee engagement this year

5 minute read

What are the significant landscape changes in employee engagement that businesses need to consider?

1. Employee expectations are on the rise

71% of employees think that companies need to have a more significant role in their overall welfare, wellbeing and happiness, according to research by MetLife. Three-fifths (61%) also expect their employer to make additional allowances for their personal circumstances due to the pandemic.

The change in working model for many employees has likely had an impact on expectations, too. With many of us working from home, there’s been increasing pressure on employers to enhance the way they communicate and engage with us. Without the support from our managers and peers, many employees are likely to feel siloed, impacting welfare and overall well-being.

Employee wellbeing statistic graphic

2. Recognition and reward are equally as important

We ran a poll on LinkedIn to check in on how people feel about reward and recognition. An almost equal amount of people voted for recognition being their preference, but the majority voted for the combination of reward and recognition being important in the workplace.

This highlights the need for organisations to consider the different types of employees and their personalities. For example, suppose you continue you motivate your people with just financial reward. You may experience short-term benefits, but in the end, they’ll become disinterested and disengaged if recognition isn’t included the mix too.

Recognition or Reward graphic

3. Company performance is directly linked to employee wellbeing

Aon’s 2021 Global Wellbeing Survey found that organisations that improve employee wellbeing performance see increases in customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and company profit, as well as a decrease in employee turnover.

The study saw that minor improvements in employee wellbeing could have a fair impact on the business. For example, a 3% improvement in employee wellbeing led to a 1% increase in customer satisfaction and retention and a 1% decrease in employee turnover. Depending on the size and scale of your customer and employee base, this 1% increase could save the business considerable amounts of money.

Performance Wellbeing graphic

4. Staff don’t plan on sticking around

Another of the key changes in employee engagement is 41% of the global workforce is considering switching jobs within the next year, according to a Microsoft study. In addition, 54% of the global workforce feel overworked, and burnout is “rife”.

Many pinpoint the blurring of work-life boundaries as the reason for the trend, with many unable to switch off or ignore after-hours emails when working from home. In addition, with the likelihood of many organisations adopting a hybrid working model, potential job-seekers have much more flexibility in choice in the roles they could apply for, making looking for a new job much more appealing.

This trend puts much more pressure on organisations to improve their employer value proposition in an attempt to retain their people in order to keep skills and save costs on recruitment and training. You can read more about the benefits of developing a strong employer value proposition in our other article here.

5. The UK has trouble engaging frontline workers

New research from Opinion Matters shows there’s a big difference in the experience of desked employees compared to frontline workers, particularly in the UK. CIOs, HR and Internal Communications respondents in the survey admitted to focusing on employees in the office more than those who don’t sit behind a desk.

The disparity is thought to be down to lack of understanding (45% of respondents said their firm didn’t know how to genuinely improve employee engagement for deskless workers) and the increase in remote working.

This research comes as a reminder of how challenging it can be to find the right tools to engage with frontline workers, mainly due to the restrictions of typical employee engagement tools, which are designed for desked workers. Read how Mercedes-Benz Vans UK use the Rippl platform to engage with their frontline workers in this case study.

Frontline workers engagement graphic

6. People want personalised recognition

70% of employees feel that recognition is most meaningful to them when it’s personalised, according to a 2021 Global Culture study based on 40,000 workers worldwide with companies with more than 500 employees.

What does this mean for the average organisation? It most likely means that sending an automated reward email for a job well-done or a generic ‘thanks’ will not cut the mustard with most employees. But, particularly when working from home, some people now yearn for more personalised and meaningful feedback from their line managers and peers.

Where possible, if co-workers can take time out of their day to write personalised ‘thank-yous’ or add meaningful messages to rewards distributed to employees, the impact is going to be much greater. Your employees will feel more valued, and the business benefit in turn.

Personalised recognition graphic

Want to get ahead of these changes in employee engagement? Chat to us!

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