For most companies (including mine!), your biggest asset and your biggest expense is staffing. Face it, the group that can add the most value to your company, is the one that will cost you the most if they are not engaged.
And these last few years have been more than a challenge from an employee engagement standpoint. With hybrid work, the great resignation and the cost-pressures on increasing salary and benefit packages, employee engagement is close to an all time low.
According to Gallup, employee engagement is on the decline. In 2022, only 32% of full and part-time employees are engaged, with more than 15% actively disengaged. And the ratio of engaged to disengaged employees continues to rise.
That means that those negative employees, the ones that create drama and lower productivity, are increasing in your business. Left unaddressed, this employment issue can make it more difficult to retain top talent.
In this article we will explore 5 critical employee engagement trends for 2023, and what actions today's leaders and employers need to take to retain and motivate their greatest asset.
What’s Driving Low Employee Engagement Numbers?
It’s tough out there. These past few years have had most leaders just trying to keep up with the pace of change, the challenges of the marketplace such as supply chain and cost pressures, and trying to lead in this new hybrid environment.
In these past few years, leadership quality has suffered, understandably, but this impact has trickled down into employee engagement. Without in-person interactions, team members have lost their sense of belonging, career development, and connection with their team’s unique identity. The unfortunate result is that team members feel less than enthusiastic about what they do and where they work.
Add to that, like it or not, leaders need employees far more than employees need them. With The Great Resignation, more than 48 million people voluntarily left their jobs in 2021, and of that one in five are already looking for another opportunity. That tells you the problem for employees is not finding a job, but finding the right job.
Employee engagement trends in 2023 will be about more than offering a job and a nice salary. You need to understand what is driving employee engagement, and integrate the strategies to position your company as the place where employees get what they need to take ownership, commit and connect.
What You Can Expect from Employee Engagement Trends In 2023
Hybrid or Flex Workplace Model
While employees will be more open to coming into the office more regularly, they will continue to prioritize opportunities that offer some level of a hybrid model and more flexibility.
Physical and Mental Wellbeing
With the past few years negatively impacting mental and physical health, employees are looking for employers to support and help them improve and manage their overall health.
Rising inflation will continue to put pressure on salaries. Innovative and creative benefit packages are rising in importance for employees as well.
Onboarding New Employees
With employees controlling the market, the first impression an employer makes is more important than ever. The onboarding process and first 90 days will continue to rise in level of importance for engagement and retention.
With 2023 forecasted to be a challenging economic year, employees are looking for organizations that have a strategic plan for navigating this level of uncertainty. Employees will also be on the lookout for leaders that prioritize educating their team members on both strategy and economic trends.
How Leaders and Employers Should Respond to these Employee Engagement Trends
Curious about how you can get out ini front of these new employee engagement trends? Find out the actions today's leaders and employers need to take?
Rethink How Work Gets Done
Although not every organization has the freedom or the luxury of having a hybrid model, it is time to sit down and review how the work gets done. Look for ways you can offer some flexibility to employees for internal processes. Be open to inviting consultants or coaches to give you objective opinions, explore technology, and commit to being open to reshaping job descriptions.
Support The Whole Employee
Create a task force, appoint a leader, put someone in a position to find the right options to support employees on both a personal and professional level. Employees have been on overload for the past few years – you need to show empathy and provide support. Work with your healthcare company to offer an employee assistance option, explore a local gym for a corporate membership, and create opportunities for community, connection and overall health in your company. Integrate the idea of the healthy employee into your culture.
Focus on Culture
Embrace the idea that it is not simply a job that employees are looking for, as they can find that easily. They want a place and a leader they can believe in, one where they feel like they are doing work that matters, and they are contributing and making a difference. So this coming year is the year of culture. Who are you? What do you stand for? How do you engage employees in that process? Every team member should be able to quickly and articulately share your vision, mission and your values.
If you want to retain employees, attract top talent, and increase productivity and engagement, you need to realize that leaders matter. People do not leave jobs, they leave leaders. The reverse is true too. They do not stay for a job, they stay for a leader. Invest in your front line managers – train them, communicate with them, and help them understand how critically important their role is.
Last but not least hire slow and fire fast. Engagement is directly connected to how seriously you live your culture, how much you invest in your team members and how quickly you reward those contributing and let go of those that are not.
While employee challenges will persist in 2023, the good news is few leaders and employers will give this the attention it truly needs.
If pay attention to these employee engagement trends, elevate employee engagement to a major strategic initiative, and put into place the strategies shared here, you are not only going to win the war on talent, but you just might turn all of this uncertainty to your competitive advantage.