The Great Resignation’s Achilles Heel: Employee Engagement

The lack of Employee Engagement is the basic issue you should tackle when trying to battle The Great Resignation in your organization. Read why!

February 4, 2022 By Martin Angjelkoski Share on Twitter! Share on Facebook! Share on LinkedIn!
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Work is evolving. New demands of younger generations leave some employers baffled or confused. Value-driven topics like environmental care and sustainability, previously considered after-work activities, now aim towards the top of the ladder of benefits employees care about.

But, instead of focusing on the narrative of young people having different expectations than the older generations, it’s important to note the nature of work has changed. The stage changed, and it’s up to employers to adapt to the new rules if they want to stay in business.

An example of an often-used phrase to describe the changes to the workforce is that employees want their work to be meaningful. The same phrase can be read differently. Employees know their work is meaningful and want it to be recognized by employers as well. They want to be appreciated, they expect feedback on their work and they want to have good relationships with their peers and leaders. Wanting to be appreciated and craving meaningful feedback is by no means a bad thing, but for employers used to employees keeping quiet, it’s a change.

The olden days may seem like it was easier. Not a lot of people even knew what the term meant, let alone what it means to have a disengaged workforce. But the work, or the life surrounding it was different as well. Different cost-of-living, work hours, global connectedness, as well as the speed at which everything is changing today made many question the values surrounding work they grew up on. Job stability is no longer considered a given, and an on-time paycheck is no longer a benefit worth staying at the same employer for a lifetime.

Losing track and focus of the changes in the workforce is what ultimately led us to The Great Resignation. Jobs turned digital overnight, companies implemented work-from-home policies, and managers quickly lost track of their team’s engagement. Work-from-home policies also eliminated job location as a crucial criteria for new hires. Now, only skill sets matter, and that opened a lot of doors for employees feeling disengaged, unappreciated, and tired of their old jobs. For HR departments, it means retaining employees is quickly becoming one of the biggest challenges they faced for a long time.

If it seems like The Great Resignation, higher employee turnover and lower engagement are HR issues that might be here to stay, it’s because they are. HR, being as agile as it is, is quickly adapting and innovating, so solutions are on the way.

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What’s changing?

We see digitalization in the workplace – lots of it. Digitalization was proven to help and has helped the brave early adopters keep their employees engaged and ultimately – around.

People need to connect and regularly work together if they are going to feel like part of a whole team. However, it can be challenging to keep everyone on the same page, as today’s employees are working in diverse environments, with more remote and distance opportunities available. One key finding in research by Good&Co is that 65% of workers maintain a close relationship with at least one coworker. Additionally, having a best friend at work radically decreases the chance of looking for a new job. Remote work became a radical obstacle in maintaining those relationships, but luckily, a proper tool stack can help.

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To stay connected, communication tools like Slack, file-sharing services like Google Drive, and even project management tools will be of key focus to enhance the team experience. The right tools will keep knowledge and conversation flowing freely, making employees more engaged within the team. During the pandemic, all of the communications and collaboration tools have had vast improvements. To make sure you’re making the best out of remote work, check out this guide: Remote Work: What Employees Expect from Their Employers During COVID-19.

The best employees want to see a future for themselves in the business. They expect to be able to look ahead and see themselves progressing to a better position and gathering more information for their job. A Linkedin research conducted in 2019 showed that 94% of employees would stay with their employer if given help with learning and development. By offering learning opportunities and tools, employers show they are willing to invest in their employees’ development which sometimes means more than any other benefits offered. To make learning even more appealing, gamification strategies like leaderboards, badges, and rewards continue to be used on an even bigger scale.

While on the topic of gamification, employee performance management is evolving. We are seeing more performance tracked through wallboards/leaderboards, as it helps managers in leading their teams to achieve the best possible results while at the same time strengthening connections in the team. Keeping track of which team members are thriving, and which might need a bit of extra help in the workplace is also a benefit of gamification. Especially when given the opportunity for teammates to help and recognize each other.

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Employee recognition platforms, as well as performance tracking tools, encourage positive competition among employees. Through recognition, a sense of belonging and encouragement is also being created, and employees fulfill their needs for appreciation from peers, as was the case for one of JobPts’ clients in the Diversified Energy industry.

Their managers got the chance to recognize and publicly praise employees they don’t regularly see, creating more horizontal engagement and recognition, but still nurturing the vertical, top-down appreciation. The gamification feature this client used was the aforementioned leaderboards. 

Their feedback was that “the top 10 places on the leaderboard were always a conversation topic and always sparked a wave of new recognition across the company”. The client also stated that between 160 and 170 recognitions are given out every day using the rewards and recognition platform, increasing engagement which ultimately caused a reduction of employee turnover in the company.

Most of these tools can easily be implemented into an organization’s gamification strategy, providing employees with encouragement to give each other rewards if they think that they’re doing a good job through points or “karma”.

The dangers of not adapting to the new elements are more than apparent now more than ever, with the world of HR experiencing off-the-charts turnover rates, disengagement, increase in stress levels and decrease in productivity which ultimately all lead to company structures deteriorating.

How To Get To An Engaged Workforce?

Earlier in the article, we discussed how remote working and work-from-home options triggered The Great Resignation. Since that is the new reality, it’s best to own it and nurture it, as it offers more flexibility, freedom, and a better work/life balance. The right digital tools will be crucial to keep employees engaged in a remote environment.

Technology is everywhere in today’s business world. We rely on technology to keep us connected with our team members and use it to serve clients with the best possible customer experiences.  

Companies that learn how to use technology correctly can also access it as a way of engaging their employees and making their teams more productive.

Just remember to measure the outcomes of your efforts. Keeping a close eye on what happens after you implement new strategies will help you to determine which tools are most likely to support your teams, and which cause more confusion.

Pay attention to the feedback that your employees provide, too. They are the best people to explain what they need to be more engaged and productive at work. Take your employees’ suggestions into consideration. In the end, it’s them who you’re doing it for.

There is no one-fits-all solution for employee engagement. Various industries and company cultures have their own strengths they can rely on. Talk to our experts to uncover them and get a program suited for your own unique strengths.

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