Already, so much has been said and discussed about employee engagement and focusing on it has also helped improve employee experience and productivity levels in recent years. But if it is so, then why is this topic trending again amidst the HR fraternity?
Well, the pandemic has not only affected many businesses and their operations, but also affected employee mindsets, emotions, needs, and expectations. As a result, employee engagement practices that you had been religiously following before 2020 may no longer be relevant or practical in 2022.
New employee engagement trends emerge once in a while, and that’s expected. However, the pandemic has caused such drastic changes that Human Resource experts across the industry are struggling to embrace the change quickly and act accordingly.
So, what will employee engagement look like in 2022? What practices will be retained and what will be the ‘new normal’? Read on to know more.
Employee engagement is the emotional commitment employees have towards their work and the people there. Experts also call this a positive behavioral state towards the organization to support its growth.
Whatever the definition is, it is a simple understanding that the more positively engaged a person is in the workplace, the better it is for the employee and for the organization.
While it was a challenge keeping employees engaged at the workplace even before, the last few years have been a real struggle, with employees sitting in remote corners of the world and trying to handle personal and professional demands.
In 2022, a hybrid work culture is going to continue or perhaps catch on more. Employees may work from the office for a while, return to working from home later, and keep doing this on and off. Hence, employee engagement practices will need to be fluid enough to change with time.
Sustainable employee engagement practices enhance and promote the overall wellbeing of the employee. This includes social, physical, and emotional wellbeing. These practices need to provide employees with a sense of purpose that encourages them to grow personally and professionally.
Here are some of the sustainable employee engagement practices for 2022 that are likely to work.
Even a decade back, employee wellbeing was something that employers did not consider to be their responsibility. The last few years have changed that. When an employee is mentally, physically, and socially not fully fit, it affects their interaction at work and brings down productivity levels.
Moreover, COVID-19 has affected employees in many ways, and HR departments of top organizations have already started realizing the need for focusing on employee wellbeing.
Going forward, this is going to be something that all organizations will prioritize as a part of their employee engagement practices.
Emotional Intelligence is now more important than anything else. Experts agree that being empathetic opens up healthier communication channels, allows critical feedback to flow through the organization, and improves relationships. All these, with time, can significantly improve employee engagement rates.
If you want an empathetic workplace, leaders need to start following it first. If the leaders are empathetic, employees will take cues and change for the better too. As a successful leader, you need to focus equally on your EQ and IQ to succeed.
Rewards and benefits are essential to improve employee engagement. In 2022 though, offering good rewards and benefits is not going to be enough. It will rather help if you offered tailor-made and flexible rewards and benefits.
Most Indian workplaces have employees across different age bandwidths, and this is one of the employee engagement trends that will grow well into the future.
Gen Z professionals will enjoy paid fitness memberships, free cappuccinos, and a napping room as benefits. On the other hand, Gen X employees may absolutely love paid vacations and free meals.
Making sure your rewards and benefits are designed to include the needs of all kinds of employees is one strategy that you should work on.
You can probably invest in a Benefits and Rewards app or tool where the employee can pick tangible benefits of their choice.
We have a whole post on how to recognize a multigenerational workforce that can guide you. Check that out if you are interested.
Most of the current employee engagement trends have been designed based on certain assumptions. A few of these assumptions are mentioned below.
Though almost all organizations have employee engagement activities and strategies, they don’t do a great job of monitoring the success of these activities. In many places, employee engagement stops with a few team activities, team lunches, a team outing, essential rewards and benefits, and an employee engagement survey form given out once a year.
Organizations that have been doing a great job with their engagement activities are having to unlearn and relearn now, after the pandemic.
2022 and the years after will require organizations to rethink their employee engagement strategies and include vital components like employee wellbeing, flexibility, diversity and inclusion, being emotionally available, and better work-life harmony.
Employers will need to find strategic ways to keep remote employees engaged, satisfied, and interested.
‘CORE HUMAN NEEDS’ is something all organizations need to understand and meet, to genuinely improve employee engagement levels. Below is a list of five core human needs that all employees have.
It takes immense trust in the organization and the leadership to make an employee feel fulfilled in terms of the above needs. However, it is not impossible.
When all your employee engagement activities are directed towards meeting these needs, they will work.
An essential thing that your organization should do to keep up with the changing employee engagement trends is to invest in technology to improve employee experience. It can be the latest tools that help your employees work better or the digitization of your Rewards and Recognition processes, or even tools that make the physical workspace more comfortable. Such tools are the future, and they will help improve engagement levels this year, and in the ones to come.
All in all, employee engagement is not a set of pre-decided strategies that you can religiously follow year on year. The success of these strategies depends on many factors, and one strategy that worked last year may not be effective this year.
Especially, after the pandemic, there is going to be a drastic shift in the way people think and act. Which is why, you need to know and follow the right employee engagement trends.
Remember that engaged employees are more productive and satisfied. And engaging employees is a long-term process, but the outcomes will be well worth the effort. Given this emerging trend, now is the time to start thinking about how you will improve employee engagement in the future. Use the pointers in the article and talk to your employees to understand how their needs have changed.