2021 has undoubtedly been a challenging year for workplaces around the globe. For the majority of companies, 2021 was a year full of uncertainty and unforeseen challenges, including unprecedented rates of employee turnover, shifts between in-person and remote working conditions, and historically low levels of employee engagement. While the past year has certainly created disruptions in the workplace, it has also proven to be a valuable time for managers and business leaders to reflect on the best ways to increase productivity, create cultures of high performance, and improve employee engagement.
Here are our expert’s predictions of what the top 5 employee engagement trends of 2022 will be:
1. Setting specific goals that foster organizational alignment
Trackable goal-setting is one of the easiest, yet least utilized workplace strategies for increasing employee engagement. When objectives are left undefined and progress is not clearly visible to both team members and their managers, it is difficult for everyone involved to stay on the right track. Not only does this create issues with organizational alignment, but it also creates barriers to achieving maximum productivity.
Goal setting should be a process that cascades down the organization. According to research conducted at London Business School, only one-third of senior managers can name their firm’s top strategic priorities. Moreover, research published in the Harvard Business Review reveals that as low as 16% of frontline employees have a clear understanding of how their work relates to corporate priorities. These startling statistics demonstrate that there is a large disconnect between the work that individual employees are doing and the larger organizational objectives.
Individual goal setting along with a clear system for tracking progress and incorporating ongoing feedback from managers can be a great way to create stronger strategic alignment across teams and organizations, as well as improve overall levels of engagement.
2. Using technology to inspire and empower teams
One of the greatest workplace realizations to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the power of technology to mobilize teams. Not only have workplace technologies helped thousands of companies switch to remote or hybrid styles of working, but they have also helped generate greater coordination, organization, and efficiency amongst in-person teams.
Experts predict that Employee Engagement software is going to be one of the most popular workplace investments of 2022 to improve the employee experience. These software programs are designed to help team members set and track goals, recognize peers, manage tasks and projects, facilitate feedback and recognition, and more. Employee Engagement software solutions also allow company leaders to make informed, data-driven decisions as they relate to employee satisfaction and engagement. Overall, a tech-driven engagement platform allows company leaders to understand what’s working, what needs improvement, and how to help teams and individuals perform to the highest standard possible.
3. Investing in Learning & Development
Prioritizing your employees’ growth and development is a two-fold investment. First, employees are a company’s greatest asset, and investing in quality training is a direct investment in productivity. A study conducted at IBM found that when teams receive regular training tailored to in-demand skills, their productivity increases by at least 10%. As managers and company leaders, it is our responsibility to ensure that we are preparing each of our team members to perform to their greatest potential. Equipping them with the tools and coaching necessary to their development is the first step in doing just that.
Second, investing in employees’ growth and development is a direct investment in retaining top talent. Employees today more than ever expect that their companies will make an honest investment in their personal and professional growth. For a lot of employees, a lack of investment in training and development opportunities can even be a dealbreaker. According to a study conducted at LinkedIn, 94% of employees said they would stay longer at a company that is invested in their career development.
4. Managing employee performance effectively
In a recent SHRM study, 35% of HR professionals rated their company’s Performance Management strategy at a grade of ‘C’ or lower. One of the most common complaints against the traditional review process is that it is untimely and disconnected from every-day performance. For organizations to remain competitive and agile in 2022, they need to re-analyze how they approach performance management.
Although some organizations have already begun to transform how they approach performance management, experts are predicting several more widespread shifts in 2022, such as:
- Replacing the annual performance review with frequent, more informal check-ins.
- Prioritizing on-the-job coaching, in which managers provide feedback at natural opportunities (when projects are finished, milestones are reached, issues arise, etc.)
- Allowing employees to have greater involvement in the management of their own performance through goal-setting conversations, multi-directional feedback, and continuous communication.
5. Taking advantage of people analytics
Most often, abstract measurement alone is not sufficient to significantly improve employee engagement. Company leader and HR managers need to be able to collect and interpret employee data in order to make analytical decisions that will bring about real results when it comes to engagement.
There are many situations in which data collected from people analytics can help leaders make better informed decisions and craft evidence-based action plans. For example, a cohesive people analytics software can help leaders determine the effectiveness of a new onboarding program, measure the ROI on a new training resource, or even identify skill gaps in individuals, teams, and across the organization. The most important thing is that your people analytics processes are directly tied to the business problems that matter most.