2016 saw a lot of change with employee engagement, as more and more companies realize the importance of investing in culture and professional development. However, with change comes a lot of tricky navigation on the road to success.
With access to anonymous survey responses from employees at over 1,000 organizations worldwide, TINYpulse was in a unique position to review what factors that are driving employee engagement. After analyzing tens of thousands anonymous responses, we were able to deduce five predictions for employee engagement in 2017:
01. Peers are more important than ever for the workplace
A collaborative research between TINYpulse and Microsoft uncovered the concept of Network Centrality — those employees with the largest connection at their organization are the highest performers. Using this method, managers can spot which employees hold leadership potential by looking at their Klout.
And although our past Employee Engagement Reports revealed a rise in the influence of peers, 2016 proved otherwise:
- In 2014, our research showed that peers are the number one reason people go the extra mile
- In 2015, peers are the number one thing they love about their job
- However, in 2016, employees reported not feeling very connected to their coworkers
Encourage peer-to-peer recognition in the workplace to help employees build bridges amongst one another. Not only will this help drive a culture of appreciation, it’ll help build network centrality so managers can distinguish which employees are the high-performers.
02. An improved job market means higher turnover risk
During the last quarter of 2016, the job market experienced an almost 5% decline in unemployment. With more and more people being taken off the job market, employers must be proactive in their hunt for top talent by seeking candidates out rather than having candidates come to them.
This method of recruitment means companies must also build stronger employee retention strategies that include career development, a thriving work culture, and work-life balance into the mix in order to hold onto their own talent. After all, our research found that 25% of employees are willing to leave for a 10% raise. So it’s not taking much to entice employees to greener pastures.
03. Middle managers will become the heroes of the workplace
We’ve discovered an incredible phenomenon in the workplace that shows just how powerful a middle manager. These non-HR and non-C-level leaders are taking ownership of their own team by driving the charge for engagement and performance management. And the employees approve of this: 53% of workers would prefer that their direct manager handles employee engagement.
It’s clear that managers need to be given the autonomy to implement employee engagement strategies, and they also need to be given the tools to bring those strategies to life.
04. There will be a push for more continuous feedback
Last year, 69% of employees didn’t believe they were meeting their full potential at work. Organizations that understand the importance of investing in professional development will move towards frequent 1:1 meetings where managers offer ongoing coaching and feedback. Our research has shown that continuous feedback plays a critical role in defining an employee’s work experience. Employees who receive continuous feedback believe:
- Management is 14% more transparent
- Their organization is 11% better at taking action on their feedback
- They feel 11% more valued at work
- Their work environment is 12% better
- They’re 9% more likely to refer someone to work at their organization
By fostering transparency and opening up a communication loop, both managers and employees are no longer kept in the dark about employee sentiment and progress towards goals. And the result? A win-win situation where companies have happier employees who are meeting their full potential and those employees bringing in other exceptional talent to the company.
05. Companies will start to implement leadership development programs
In 2016, the Insured Retirement Institute predicted that through 2030, Baby Boomers will retire at a startling rate of 10,000 per day. This opens up a myriad of leadership positions that Baby Boomers once held. However, according to Deloitte Human Capital Trends:
- 56% of executives report their companies are not ready to meet leadership needs
- A mere 7% report their companies have accelerated leadership programs for millennials
Organizations need to start filling their leadership pipeline by identifying which millennials have the potential to fill in those management positions in order to avoid any shaky transitions as Baby Boomers hand off the baton to millennials in this leadership relay. More so, employees who have access to professional development are 10% more likely to stay with their company.
Now that you've read through the five official workplace predictions, here are some from the team:
01. A new way to maintain work culture
Gone are the days when an organization’s culture was driven from the top-down. More and more companies are moving towards a shared culture, where both management and employees are at the helm, driving hand in hand towards a positive work environment.
Consider this: 82% of respondents in the Deloitte Human Capital Trends believe that culture is a potential competitive advantage. So building a work environment where employees feel empowered and valued for their opinions is another key to solving the retention puzzle.
02. Growing presence of flexible schedules and telecommuting
Today’s digitally mobile world has created a blurred line between work and life. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. Technology such as email, enterprise chat platforms, and video conferencing, allow people to work from wherever and whenever, rather than the traditional 9-5 schedule. Pro tip: managers need to set clear expectations around accountability with their employee to keep everyone on the same page.
03. Pulsing feedback is going mobile
Last year, we saw a rise in pulsing feedback, where companies are moving towards monthly, weekly, and even daily evaluations of employee sentiment and performance. Organizations are recognizing that mobile technology has now become the preferred source of communication for employees. Even though only 9% of companies are fully ready for the shift to mobile, according to Deloitte Human Capital Trends, 72% believe this is an important priority, and 32% rank it as very important. This digital change is coming fast and successful companies will be the first to adopt the new technology.
04. There will be a stronger push for work-life balance
With the barrier between work and life breaking down, it’s difficult for employees to fully disconnect from the working world. Establish guidelines with employees by letting them know that they’re not expected to check their email on the weekend or after work hours. It’s easy for employees to become work martyrs to impress supervisors and managers, but doing so is also an easy street to burnout and turnover.
05. Performance reviews will finally get an overhaul that companies can’t avoid
No one can ignore the inefficiencies of the traditional performance review process. It’s clearer than ever that this outdated system proves no real benefit for the organization. This is the year that organizations will adopt a review process that’s more simplified, objective, and collaborative between managers and employees.
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