By keeping up to date with employee engagement trends, the HR team in your organization can develop effective strategies to improve engagement levels. It will ultimately lead to a more productive, engaged and satisfied workforce. This article covers the eight most important employee engagement trends that HR should be aware of heading into 2024.
The most important employee engagement trends to be aware of in 2024 are:
Trend 1: people sustainability
Do you have a sustainable working environment at your workplace? Having a sustainable working environment has become a must have for any organization to attract the most talented employees.
Today, a green company has sustainable processes and policies for re-using everything from paper and plastic to office supplies, so as not to unnecessarily impact the already fragile environment. You need a sustainability policy when it comes to your employees. Having people sustainability means that the leaders and the organization accept the premise that employees are only there on loan from their family, leisure time, society, etc.
Therefore, if HR wants to stay on top of the employee engagement trend, start ensuring people of sustainability in your organization. It requires an effort from the organization and from the management, and creating a sustainable working environment is a mutual responsibility that makes employees feel seen and heard and that efforts are made to understand them, and also function outside work.
Read this article to learn more about ensuring sustainability among your employees.
Trend 2: reshuffling in the organization
HR should be aware that employee transitions between teams, jobs, and companies will continue to rise.
Many people have left their jobs in search for more fulfilling roles with greater flexibility. High job vacancies mean that pay, benefits and flexibility are becoming differentiating factors for employers. The reshuffle causes loss of talent in the organization and at the same time it gives HR recruitment issues. Therefore the question is what can the organizations do to retain the talent or attract new employees? When employees are satisfied, engaged and motivated in their current job, they are less likely to look for other job offerings.
Employees want - or some will say demand - an improved balance between their work life and private life. Therefore, organizations giving their employees a high extent of flexibility have become more attractive to employees than ever before.
trend 3: skills replace jobs
Another employee engagement trend we are seeing is that skills are replacing jobs.
A growing number of organizations are beginning to imagine work outside of the job, turning workforce management on its head by increasingly basing work and workforce decisions on skills – not formal job definitions, titles, or degrees.
Companies are moving towards more skills-based organizations.
To face this growing trend, HR can ask themselves: Do we focus enough on upskilling and reskilling our employees? Do we invest enough in helping people learn new skills to keep up with changes like ex. digital transformation?
Organizations do themselves a favor to always remember the importance of letting the employees educate themselves and keep learning new skills to do their job. It will keep your employees and thereby the organization up-to-date and growing.
trend 4: hybrid working
We are moving towards a hybrid working environment. Or more precisely: We HAVE moved towards a hybrid working environment. But many organizations are still struggling to create the best setup, making sure to combine effectiveness and employees wants and needs. Therefore, the hybrid working environment is still one of the biggest HR trends of 2024.
The hybrid working environment also comes with concerns. HR must be aware that this recent shift to remote and hybrid work has created a “visibility” concern for many employees. Proximity bias describes how people in positions of power tend to treat employees who are physically closer to them more favorably and stems from the antiquated assumption that those who work remotely are less productive than those who work from the office.
It is important for HR and the top management to be aware of this concern, and to create a working environment and culture with a best practice for hybrid work. Because this set up is here to stay, and the employees get attracted to organizations that excel at this. In 2023 and the coming years, more and more organizations will embrace hybrid work and learn how to master this set up.
trend 5: mental wellbeing
Employees go to work as whole human beings – this includes private matters and circumstances that may be out of your control as an organization.
Mental wellbeing has become a bigger focus for organizations in the recent decades. But today it is more important than ever. Burnout and stress are at an all-time high. This is closely related to the first trend about creating a people sustainable workplace. According to McKinsey Health Institute, our work has a huge impact on our wellbeing outside work.
The right work-life balance has a direct correlation to our general life satisfaction. Today employees are far more likely to switch jobs if they don’t experience a great work-life balance in their current work situation. Therefore, HR and organizations must be highly aware to ensure that the working environment supports the employees’ mental wellbeing.
On of the greatest factors in securing high mental well-being for your employees is to make sure that your managers have the right level of education and knowledge about how to lead and secure a sustainable work life.
For a greater understanding of what is needed throughout your organization, an in-depth employee engagement survey is recommended to allow the employees to speak up and shed light on specific areas to focus on.
trend 6: collaboration bridges across the organization
Since the beginning of COVID-19, there has been a huge focus on how organizations will adapt and arrange the workplace going forward – especially with focus on collaboration in teams and how managers navigate and optimize this set-up. Some employees would like more facetime at the office – others want to work with full flexibility. The question is: how do we optimize collaboration in a hybrid setting and how do managers contribute to this set up in order to avoid bridges?
There are several reasons why this trend is important to be aware of in the coming year:
- Encourages innovation: By bringing together people with diverse backgrounds, skills and perspectives, cross-collaboration can spark new ideas and solutions to problems. It can help break down silos and foster a culture of creativity and innovation.
- Fosters better communication: working across departments can help improve communication and understanding between teams. When different teams collaborate, they can share knowledge, skills and information that can help improve processes and outcomes.
- Increases efficiency: Cross-collaboration can help eliminate duplication of effort and reduce waste. By working together, teams can streamline processes and achieve their goals more efficiently.
- Improves employee engagement: When employees feel like they are part of a bigger picture and their work is contributing to a larger goal, they are more engaged and motivated. Cross-collaboration can help create a sense of shared purpose and a more positive work environment. Engage your employees with these 8 main drivers.
Organizations with clear communication lines and where the immediate managers are able to translate the overall goal and strategy to the lowest operational levels are better at cross collaboration than units where goals and strategy are blurred. When optimizing cross collaboration or hybrid working, there is no room for leaders not being fully aligned with the senior management and top management. These non-loyal leaders are often solid representatives of attitudes and behaviors that ensure a silo mindset in their organization.
trend 7: companies lean on middle managers
As organizations have become more complex and diverse, middle managers are more essential in ensuring that different teams work together effectively.
To test yourself on this trend, you can ask yourself: Do leaders in my organization have the skills to work and lead cross-functionally instead of obstructing cross-organizational collaboration?
It is critical that organizations invest in developing the skills of their middle managers to ensure that they can effectively facilitate cross-functional collaboration. This can include providing training and development programs, mentoring, and coaching, and ensuring that middle managers have the resources and support they need to be effective leaders within the organization. By doing so, organizations can leverage the expertise and talents of all team members and drive better outcomes for the organization.
The following are examples of current challenges that are often crucial to face for leaders today:
- Human leadership
- Translating senior management communication about strategy and direction to daily work life
- Hybrid working and securing culture and avoiding proximity bias.
- Limiting turnover and securing continuous learning and support employees to achieve their career aspirations.
- Reduce collaborative overload and avoid burnouts and stress
- Onboarding new generations (Gen Z)
In 2023 and beyond, this is an important area to keep developing for organizations to make sure that they are not underperforming on having skilled middle managers compared to other organizations.
trend 8: diversity, equity and inclusion
Working with diversity, equity and inclusion is a complex matter. But the benefits for humans and organizations are undisputable. DE&I is a necessity. Because without DE&I, you create teams of people who think too similarly and end up not making the best decisions in the organization.
In too many organizations, it is still a challenge to work actively towards greater diversity, equity and inclusion. We often see that bias in recruitment prevents organizations from having greater diversity - bias is and remains an obstacle to diversity and more bias-conscious recruitment is therefore an important step to take. But more diverse recruitment isn’t enough on its own. It must be supplemented by continuous training of curiosity on the perspectives and attitudes of others, so that our fixed assumptions are challenged, and our decision-making basis is improved.
In the same way that the sustainability area has become an expected matter to employees, a diversity, equity and inclusion agenda has also become a must-have for organizations. Employees are to a greater extent expecting boards and organizations to focus on continual development of this area.
watch our on demand webinar about DE&I
Watch our on demand webinar about how to work with diversity, equity and inclusion and get:
- The basics of what DE&I is and why matters.
- How data can help to set DE&I targets and priorities.
- How to get started with DE&I without overcomplicating it.
- What a year 1 DE&I roadmap could look like.
- How IKEA is creating pride and impact, taking diversity beyond gender balance end enabling inclusive leadership.