The Top 10 Employee Engagement Trends We See for 2017

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In 2017, taking a people-centric approach will be the best strategy to attract, engage and retain employees. We’re facing a skilled labour shortage – the highest level since the 2008 recession.1 As the year ramps up, the competition for top talent will only increase. Organizations that take a people-centric approach are the ones that will draw, engage and hold onto that talent.

Here are the top 10 trends in employee engagement that we see for 2017, and it’s no surprise that most of them have a people-centric theme:

1. The Rise of the Voice of the Employee (VoE)
Customer engagement and the voice of the customer (VoC) have long been the focus of successful organizations. But companies are coming to recognize that, to truly meet the needs of their customers, they must first build and nurture employee satisfaction by listening to their employees.

2. The Need for Personal Skills Development
In addition to job skills development, employees are asking for help with personal leadership and effectiveness development. Augmenting traditional training with behaviour change and personal awareness training will help employees in their own personal development goals and bring about increased employee engagement and satisfaction.

3. The Importance of Trust in the Workplace
93% of employees say that trusting their direct manager is important to their job satisfaction.2 Surprisingly, trusting their company leadership is less important. Front-line managers can have the greatest impact on employee engagement and satisfaction, so it’s important to invest in leadership training programs at their level, and not just at the senior management level.

4. Delivering Feedback Regularly vs. the Annual Review
Those formal, annual performance reviews are increasingly being replaced by ongoing feedback. Especially for Millennials, who grew up with constant information flow and instant social media responses, waiting a year to receive performance feedback is becoming less viable.

5. Peer Recognition and Feedback is Taking on a Greater Role
Organizations are using social platforms to enable peer-to-peer recognition. The result is increased employee engagement, which is spurring higher customer satisfaction. In fact, 41% of companies that employ peer-to-peer recognition strategies have seen positive increases in customer satisfaction.3

6. Providing the Right Tools for the Job – An Influencer of Employee Retention
In a recent survey, 92% of employees agreed that having the right technology for the job positively affected their satisfaction levels. But what’s surprising is that nearly 1/3 said they would resign if their technology became too outdated.2 Technology not only affects productivity, it also has a great influence on employee retention.

7. Work-Life Balance – The Lines Begin to Blur
Work-life balance is the #1 consideration for job happiness around the globe.4 As the average working day becomes ever more fluid and flexible, the lines between work hours and off hours begin to blur dramatically. Managers need to take a proactive role in helping employees find and achieve that all-important work-life balance.

8. Focusing on Capabilities Builds a Positive, Productive Culture
67% of employees worldwide, who strongly agree their manager focuses on their strengths, say they are engaged in the workplace.5 Companies that foster a culture that encourages employees to utilize their full capabilities see higher productivity – and an increase in profitability of up to 29%!6

9. Culture Defines the Employee and Customer Experience
If a company has a positive culture, it’s something customers can feel when they walk through the door, and current and prospective employees can feel it too. When employees feel inspired by their work culture, they will overperform and even innovate. Some would say that culture now beats strategy in delivering the best business outcomes.

10. Millennials Rule!
In 2015, Millennials became the largest generation in the US labour force.7 As more and more Millennials enter the job market, organizations seeking to engage employees have no choice but to tailor strategies to their needs.

Millennials are 76% more likely to report high levels of satisfaction in a creative, inclusive working culture.8 They want to work for companies with strong values, and they are leading an overall movement for increased flexibility in work schedules.

Work flexibility poses a new challenge for management: developing a people-centric work environment that’s based on trust and personal accountability. But it will be worth it. Organizations that get on board will be rewarded by increased employee engagement and satisfaction, and a culture that fosters customer loyalty, as well.

To dig deeper into employee engagement trends, read our complete whitepaper, "10 Employee Engagement Trends to Watch in 2017."


 
Sources:
1- Harvey Nash/Kpmg CIO Survey Executive Summary, 2016. http://www.hnkpmgciosurvey.com/executive-summary/
2. Ultimate Software, New National Study Uncovers Notable Shift in Factors Influencing Employee Job Satisfaction, Engagement, 2016 http://www.ultimatesoftware.com/PR/Press-Release/New-National-Study-Uncovers-Notable-Shift-in-Factors-Influencing-Employee-Job-Satisfaction-Engagement
2. Ultimate Software, New National Study Uncovers Notable Shift in Factors Influencing Employee Job Satisfaction, Engagement, 2016 http://www.ultimatesoftware.com/PR/Press-Release/New-National-Study-Uncovers-Notable-Shift-in-Factors-Influencing-Employee-Job-Satisfaction-Engagement
2. Ultimate Software, New National Study Uncovers Notable Shift in Factors Influencing Employee Job Satisfaction, Engagement, 2016 http://www.ultimatesoftware.com/PR/Press-Release/New-National-Study-Uncovers-Notable-Shift-in-Factors-Influencing-Employee-Job-Satisfaction-Engagement
4. Indeed, The Indeed Job Happiness Index, 2016. http://blog.indeed.com/hiring-lab/indeed-job-happiness-index-2016/
5. Gallup, Why Aren't All Organizations Strengths-Based? 2016. http://www.gallup.com/opinion/gallup/196595/why-aren-organizations-strengths-based.aspx
7. Pew Research, Millennials surpass Gen Xers as the largest generation in U.S. labor force, 2015. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/11/millennials-surpass-gen-xers-as-the-largest-generation-in-u-s-labor-force/

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