Top employee engagement drivers for the workplace in 2017Article added by Marlene Y. Satter on January 11, 2017
Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter

Joined: April 29, 2015

Here are five employee participation and engagement trends that may dominate 2017. (Photo: Getty)

The workplace is changing, and one of those changes is companies’ need to keep employees happy. That’s leading to greater investment in culture and professional development in the New Year.

From an analysis of thousands of responses to a global survey of more than 1,000 organizations, employee engagement provider TINYpulse has identified factors driving employee engagement, and has predicted the top 5 engagement drivers that could dominate the workplace in the coming year.

Related: The state of wellness programs in 2016

Peers are important to employees, and are often the reason they’ll make an extra effort, according to TINYpulse’s 2014 survey; in fact, in the 2015 version, employees said that peers were the top thing they loved about their job.

But in 2016, that was not the case, with employees not feeling very connected to their coworkers. And since a joint research project with Microsoft found that employees with the largest connection at their organization are the highest performers, employers are going to want to find ways to encourage connections among workers to strengthen the office community and improve not just morale but performance.

That will be important since another trend TINYpulse identified is the potential for employees to jump ship in an improved job market. If employees aren’t happy and opportunities to move are out there, they’ll move.

To hold onto good employees, companies will have to build stronger employee retention strategies that include career development, a thriving work culture and work-life balance. Lest they doubt it, the analysis found that 25 percent of employees are willing to leave for a 10 percent raise — “[s]o it’s not taking much to entice employees to greener pastures,” the study said.

Related: Employee retention depends on employee experience

Middle managers are important, too, taking the reins and pushing for employee engagement and performance management. Although for a while the trend was to cut down on middle management, that’s not going to work these days — 53 percent of employees would prefer that their direct managers handle employee engagement. So wise employers will provide those managers with the autonomy to act and the tools to get results.

Employees also want feedback, and they want it more often than they get it. Last year, 69 percent of employees didn’t believe they were meeting their full potential at work. TINYpulse suggests that employers would be wise to institute one-on-one meetings between managers and employees, with ongoing coaching and feedback.

Why is this important? Employees who receive continuous feedback believe that management is 14 percent more transparent; that their organization is 11 percent better at taking action on their feedback; that they feel 11 percent more valued at work; that their work environment is 12 percent better; and that they’re 9 percent more likely to refer someone to work at their organization.

Finally, companies need to implement leadership programs. With the wave of retiring boomers already underway, leadership positions are opening up and need to be filled. According to the Insured Retirement Institute, 10,000 a day will be retiring through 2030, but according to Deloitte Human Capital Trends, 56 percent of executives say their companies are not ready to meet leadership needs, and a scant 7 percent say their companies have accelerated leadership programs for millennials.

Not only is it essential to have employees in the pipeline for those leadership positions, but employees who have access to professional development are 10 percent more likely to stay with their company.

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