2016 Employee Engagement Trends: What’s In, What’s Out

2016 Employee Engagement Trends: What’s In, What’s OutHow are you doing with your engagement resolutions this year? We’re almost halfway done with 2016, which is a good time to check in on our employee engagement trend predictions and see how things are coming along. At the end of last year, we hoped the annual review would become a relic and that recognition would be key to retention, among other predictions. So what’s changed since then, and what new trends are on the horizon? Here’s what we’ve found.

Engagement is Up

According to three big employee engagement surveys, engagement is on the rise. The latest surveys from the Society for Human Resources Management, Aon Hewitt and Gallup have all found that engagement is on the rise. A better understanding of engagement, its drivers and how to use technology to improve it seem to have had a strong effect on engagement numbers in the first half of the year.

Engagement tools that are easy to understand and use are vital to improving engagement. Giving employees technology that doesn’t work, is frustrating or doesn’t generate useful data will only cause problems, so ensure your engagement platforms measure what you want measured, and generate the insights you need to manage engagement more effectively.

Recognition Is Easy — And It Works

A survey commissioned for the recognition organization OGO found that more than 80 percent of workers don’t think their supervisors recognize their contributions enough. Interestingly, 40 percent of people said they would put forth more effort if they were recognized more often.

This is the the heart of engagement: Doing a little to create a lot of motivation. It doesn’t cost anything to be transparent about business goals and how employees’ work fits into those goals, or to recognize a job well done — not just when the job is done, but at key intervals along the way. So what are you waiting for? Look for ways to tell people you see the hard work they do — and that you appreciate it. Those efforts will come back to you and your bottom line.

The Annual Review is Fading

It’s not dead — there will always be a place for annual assessments. But when it comes to performance management and engagement, the workplace moves too quickly for a once-a-year check-in. A recent report finds that while people generally like the annual review, they understand that the process is outdated and should be changed.

Partly, the current range of opinions is generational: Baby boomers tend to be most comfortable with annual reviews. After all, that’s what they grew up with. But as the generations trend younger, interest in the annual review drops. Millennials love incremental feedback as they work on projects, and are happier with smaller, more frequent reviews of their performance.

Look for ways to incorporate pulse surveys and quarterly mini-reviews to connect with employees, give them useful feedback they can use now, and keep them informed about their progress on goals and projects. Doing so will help you reach the engagement goals you set for your organization back at the beginning of the year.

Don’t Fear the Data

The amount of data available for HR departments to analyze is enormous. There’s so much data that many HR leaders feel overwhelmed when it comes to managing and digging into it. According to a recent KPMG report, investment in HR management systems is growing exponentially. That growth is resulting in increasingly larger and more complicated data sets that HR is expected to store, analyze and make useful.

The solution? Stay focused on your business outcomes. What data points are connected to the goals you want to reach? What information gives you insight into how to manage talent? Start small and look for ways to influence your business outcomes.

Download the employee engagement road map


Talmetrix is re-inventing how talent-focused organizations and their employees work together to fuel a culture of high performance. Contact us to learn more about our innovative solutions.

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