Employee engagement. This term is bandied around so much that it’s almost lost its meaning. But right now, when so many people are leaving their jobs that it’s being called “The Great Resignation,” employee engagement couldn’t be more critical.
In March 2021, Microsoft published its Work Trend Index report that surveyed 31,000 workers around the globe. The study found that 41% of the global workforce are considering handing in their resignation and quitting their jobs. 54% of the total number of people surveyed stated that they are overworked, and 39% are exhausted.
41% is a huge number. That’s almost half of the current global workforce. Companies of all sizes are waking up to the fact that we’re not going “back to normal,” post-pandemic. Your employees have spent fifteen months working remotely and adjusting to continuous change, which has given them a lot of time to think about what they want from their careers. And now, in a remote-first working world where employees can work from virtually anywhere and for a broader range of companies, it’s a lot easier for them to jump ship if they’re not satisfied.
The employment landscape has changed, but not all is lost. Strong employee engagement is the key to retention, but you’ll have to go beyond the surface-level tactics to get the best results. Fortunately for you, this is exactly what we do at Insights Work so we will pass on some of our experience.
What Employee Engagement Should Look Like in 2021
To date, when companies think about engagement, they think of pulse surveys and office events. These tactics may help employees feel more engaged in the short-term, but the effects aren’t lasting. The same goes for enticing perks like four-day workweeks and unlimited vacation.
For example, while some reports have shown that four-day workweeks help employees feel less stressed and have better work-life balance, other people have found the practice more stressful and had to work longer hours to fit everything into four days.
If you want your employees to be genuinely engaged in their work and your company, you need to go beyond the basics and understand what they want out of their job and overall careers. And that starts by learning more about them.
According to a recent report, these were job seekers’ top 10 work values in 2020:
- Good work-life balance
- Job security
- Financial compensation
- Finanical stability of employer
- Good relationship with superior
- Appreciation for your work
- Good relationship with colleagues
- Company values
- Flexible schedules and workplaces
- Interesting job content
While lists like these are a good place to start, they fall short because they don’t tell you what your employees want specifically.
Why do people stay, and why are your top performers successful? It’s not just because of compensation and bonuses. It’s because they feel valued and are passionate and good at what they do. But what exactly makes your top performers feel valued? What are they passionate about, and what skills, experiences, and personality traits make them so successful?
Fortunately, we have a ton of experience with that. We use our software to get the exact answers to these questions. For example, let’s say you find out that an employee is disengaged because they have poor work-life balance. You could address it head-on by allowing them to try out a more flexible schedule. Maybe another employee is disengaged because they’re not excited about their work. Moving them into a new role or department could be a potential fix.
Effective employee engagement isn’t always about the fun, fluffy stuff. If your employee feels like they’re not in the right place, it’s not because they’re missing company happy hours. It’s because, deep down, they feel like something isn’t right.
In the past, employees were more likely to stick it out in a role that wasn’t a good fit for a number of reasons. According to research by Randstad US, 54% of employees feel pressure to stay – even when they don’t like their jobs – because they’re the primary provider for their families. 71% of workers stay because it’s easier than starting something new. 78% stay for the benefits and 56% of workers are not looking for a new job because they’d have to start with less paid time off.
But now, companies are getting a wake-up call. Employees want more from their employers and they’re willing to dive back into the job market to get it. They’re also realizing that they have more options available to them and leaving might not be as scary as they once thought.
As an employer, this mindset shift might be challenging to face, but you’re not powerless. You can reduce churn and keep your best talent by learning more about your workforce, diagnosing their issues, and giving them what they want. And this process doesn’t need to be time-consuming or complicated. At Insights Work, we’re here to help. You can get access to all this valuable data in no time and use it to build a Great Resignation-proof workforce