Wait, 2022? Over the last 20 months, the coronavirus has accelerated workplace transformation, forever altering the working world. As a new year creeps up on us, take a peek at some of the trends our employee engagement and recognition experts expect to take center stage in the coming year.
Qualitative Employee Listening Will Enable Communities of Engagement
2022 is going to usher in what I’m referring to as the “Qualitative Comeback.” Organizations carry exponentially more data on their employees today than they did just one year ago but the growth of this data is largely all quantitative in nature (it had to be; employees were scarcely in the office to offer qualitative sentiment). Despite having all of this data, organizations are still struggling to accurately predict the key drivers of an employee’s decision to leave their organization—the trend now coined “The Great Resignation” (though if you’re reading this, you likely already knew I was going there). But here’s something we sometimes forget: NOTHING can be more authentic than the direct voice of an employee, and few things create community like shared experiences.
The Qualitative Comeback allows organizations to ask employees hard and purposefully pointed questions and in so doing, leverage that personal feedback to create communities of engagement around shared experiences between employees who may be in the next cube over or halfway around the world. Nothing serves as a truer compass to quantitative analytic insights than a genuine qualitative inquiry.
HR Technology Will Enable More Personalized Experiences
Users of HR technology are not just employees, but consumers. That’s why, for some time now, employees have expected their HR technology experiences to be consumer-grade, and if something wasn’t easy to onboard or use, they wouldn’t use it. As personalization becomes tablestakes in consumer products (customers now expect this technology to know who they are and what they want/need in all their interactions with a brand) it will become a greater focus in employee experience technology as well. By combining data from different sources (profiles, surveys, analytics, etc.) and using AI/ML, these platforms can better understand the unique needs of individual employees (instead of just groups of employees) to serve up the information to nudge them when they need to act, all while meeting them in the flow of their work.
Leverage Human Capital for ESG Goals
Employees are fleeing their jobs and companies at record rates in 2021. Recent surveys found that 26% of workers in the United States are already preparing to look for new employment opportunities and 40% of workers globally are considering leaving their current employers by the end of the year. Employees demand more today of employers than ever—and social and ethical consciousness are two areas of prime opportunity for employers to meet the demands. As a result, organizations will put ESG (environmental, social and governance) principles at the center of their human capital management strategies in 2022. 58% of employees consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work, and employees are three times more likely to stay and 1.4 times more engaged when working at what they consider to be purpose-driven organizations. These stats reinforce why companies will lean in to ESG, build it into their employer value proposition and reinforce behaviors connected to ESG principles as a means to attract and retain talent!
Offer Recognition That Emotionally Connects to Leave a Lasting Memory
As we all continue adapting to a work-from-anywhere environment, and retention is top of mind for both employees and organizations, the need to foster a sense of connection among coworkers, as well as to organizations, will also evolve. I think you'll see more emphasis on maximizing recognition and finding creative ways to celebrate achievements outside of emails and ecards that offer more of an experience. The focus will turn to public and personal moments in which entire teams can contribute, whether they are interacting in person or through technology. The most successful and memorable recognitions will ultimately be those experiences that align with an individual’s sense of purpose, but are also authentic and personalized. But creating those effective experiences is a learned behavior and it’s a skill that will need to be developed across entire workforces and, particularly, among leaders.
Understand the Psychological Needs of Employees
While predictions are fun, listening to feedback directly from the workforce should be vital to your own strategy for engaging your people in 2022. In our latest research project, we wanted to better understand how employee engagement has changed over the course of the pandemic as well as how much the changes matter—or don’t matter—when it comes to retaining talent. Find out what we’ve learned and the top four takeaways (so far!).