Leading Change in 2023: An Opportunity to Rethink Employee Engagement

Leading Change in 2023: An Opportunity to Rethink Employee Engagement

How has employee engagement changed in the post-pandemic workplace?   

The world of work is now very different than it was just a few years ago. The arrival of new business models, the reliance on technology, new regulatory policies, and the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted and transformed the workplace.   

To top it all, employees and job candidates have changing priorities. Many feel empowered to have specific demands on their employer and can easily move to another company if these demands are not met. 

Changes in Employee Engagement

The Global Trends in the Employee Engagement Survey of 2022 reveal that among 80 percent of employees who have been employed for six months or less. The percentage of employees who remain engaged at work dwindles to 64 percent for those who have been staying in a company for 2 to 5 years.   

Yes, employee engagement tends to drop significantly over the years. I mean, have you not heard anything about the Great Resignation?  

A study from Harvard Business Review estimates that 55 percent of people employed in August 2021 plan to look for a new job in the next 12 months. This pattern has put employers, hiring managers, and staffing firms on the edge as they now need to be more proactive and aggressive in attracting and retaining top talent. 

Read more: Candidate and Employee Expectations: How Have They Changed?

Four Factors Affecting Employee Engagement

1. Recognition and Compensation  

More and more employees are finding it necessary for their employers to recognize their hard work. With the added flexibility at work made possible by the Covid-19 pandemic, many employees feel that their employers may not appropriately acknowledge their hard work. The Global Trends survey revealed that 59 percent of employees perceive a sense of recognition from their employers.   

On the other hand, salary is predictably always the main priority for employees who participated in the survey. Fifty-two percent feel that they are paid fairly compared to other companies. However, the survey revealed that this percentage has also dwindled compared to recent years.   

In 2019, 67 percent felt that they were receiving the appropriate salary, while 73 percent felt that, in time, they would get the recognition they deserved in their organizations. Looking at the 2019 numbers and comparing them with the 2021 numbers, as discussed above, you will see that employees’ satisfaction with their salaries and the recognition they get from work has considerably taken a nosedive.   

2. Career Growth  

Now more than ever, employees and job candidates seek clear opportunities to grow their careers. Staffing firms are getting more interview questions from job seekers about specific career paths they could take in a prospective company and the possibility of climbing up the corporate ladder in the foreseeable future.   

In 2019, 71 percent of employees reported clear opportunities to grow within the company. In 2022, the figure has gone down to just 54 percent.   

Employees who have not been swept away by the tsunami of the Great Resignation remain closely concerned and curious about what their company can offer them in terms of career growth. Thus, an unclear career path is a significant factor in an employee deciding to leave the company and rejoin the job market.   

3. Employer Support to Get the Work Done  

Most employees are concerned about how much support they can get from their organizations to get the work done.   

Various factors come to play when it comes to employer support, such as transparent processes and procedures, an organizational structure that lends ample support to employees with a clear delineation of tasks, and the organization’s technology infrastructure.   

The survey revealed that all three factors are equally vital for employee engagement, scoring 58-59 percent collectively.   

Easy access, clarity of roles, and an efficient technological stack tell if employees decide to stick it out with a company or move on.   

4. Hiring and Retention of Top Talent  

Staffing and retention of talent are also top drivers of employee engagement. Sadly, the latest appears to point out that even reputable companies find it challenging to attract and retain top talent.   

In 2019, 77 percent of companies reported that they could attract the needed talent. However, in 2021, this has been reduced to 69 percent.   

Regarding having the appropriate number of staff to perform a specific task, only 50 percent of employees feel that their company needs more team members to perform daily operations and still retain best practices or achieve quality output.   

In talent retention, 75 percent of top organizations feel that they can retain their best people in 2019. In 2021, this number already dropped to 65 percent.

Keeping Employees Engaged Circa 2022

Amidst all these challenges, how can companies keep their employees engaged so as not to let them get swept away by the Great Resignation? Moreover, how can staffing firms contribute to employee engagement in a rapidly changing labor market?   

Here are some helpful tips:  

1. Recognize Your Employees Regularly and Recognize Them Generously.   

Raising your employees’ salaries often will keep them engaged in the utopic labor market. Alas, this is easier said than done.   

However, one thing you can be so generous about is recognizing your employees.   

Showing employees how much they are valued by recognizing their hard work is an excellent way to engage them. Celebrate their successes with monetary rewards, plaques, paid days off, unique gifts, a big party, or whatever suits your company budget best. The important thing is to make them feel appreciated.   

Read more: Building a Culture of Recognition in the Workplace

 

2. Be Transparent with Career Growth Opportunities.   

One of the main tasks of HR is to identify clear career growth opportunities for employees in the company. A recent survey from Gartner revealed that only 1 out of 4 employees feel that their company has a clear direction for them regarding career growth. This is why 3 out of every four employees are easily attracted to external roles.   

In the hiring process, it is pertinent to set a career trajectory. This begins by communicating role benefits and requirements as transparently as possible. However, since the world of work is rapidly changing, skillsets become obsolete in just a short time. It is wise to invest in upskilling and reskilling your employees to make them more suitable for their current role’s present and future demands.   

Upskilling and reskilling your employees also make them better qualified for any upward movement in the future.   

 

3. Make Your Policies and Practices Measurable.   

As mentioned earlier, your company processes, clarity of roles, responsibilities, and your organization’s tech stack are all essential resources that determine employee engagement. This is why it is vital to review your processes regularly and to review if your practices are considered best practices insofar as your employees are concerned.   

This means you should talk and communicate with your employees more often than you should. Get their constant feedback by asking them to participate in surveys that will give you unique insights into what practices work for your company and what processes should be out of the window.   

Maximize your managers and supervisors to get as much feedback from employees as possible. Have regular town halls to resolve potential bottlenecks and mitigate concerns.   

 

4. Get Help in Hiring Top Talent When You Can.   

Thirty-six percent of hiring managers feel ill-equipped to provide their organization with the talent needed to fill critical positions and roles within the company. What’s even more challenging is that 50 percent of hiring managers feel that the competition to hire top talent will be more challenging in the next 6-12 months.   

When operations begin to suffer due to a lack of top talent for crucial positions in your company, it is high time to consider getting the services of a staffing firm such as the Fox Search Group.   

Read more: 2022 a Booming Year: No Shortage of Opportunities in the Tech Industry

 

The Fox Search Group is a reputable staffing firm that provides your company with the needed talent. Established by a woman and known for its commitment to diversity and inclusion, the Fox Search Group will proactively connect you with the talent you need. Give us a call so we can have our team of expert recruiters and their efficient hiring methods find you employment that matches your needs.   

All That Glitters Is Not Gold: A Closer Look at Today’s Job Titles

All That Glitters Is Not Gold: A Closer Look at Today’s Job Titles

Job titles are normally a source of pride for any employee. Once you post role openings on job boards and online job ads, the first thing that a job seeker typically looks at is job titles. Especially when an individual already has prior job experience, job titles are a big consideration. 

Job titles in your company are not only associated with your organizational chart. Jobseekers frequently match the job descriptions with the job titles, and along with these job titles come a myriad of expectations. Usually, the expectation is that the higher the job title, the heftier the salary is, and so are the benefits.

Misleading Job Titles 

The pandemic disrupted the global economy in so many significant ways. When it comes to hiring talent, especially in tech and other critical positions, the impact of the pandemic is nothing short of major. As companies competed for top talent in the COVID-19 economy, many organizations resorted to job title inflation. 

Job title inflation happens when a bigger job title is bestowed to a position that does not accurately describe the work being executed. Sometimes, there is no commensurate pay to the inflated title. Many companies began using this to improve the optics of a particular position to potential candidates, thus attracting top talent into the company. 

A study published by Forbes magazine revealed that there are two available jobs for every individual in search of one. This only means that hiring in this day and age has become cutthroat. 

This led some hiring managers and executives to look for a way to appease employees as well as job applicants without spending too much money. They started offering lofty-sounding job titles to appease both employee and candidate egos, which may come with or without a salary increase. Companies have also used this technique to soften the blow of not giving a significant raise to staff or a lucrative compensation package to job candidates.   

To mitigate the effects of the great resignation in the US, title inflation, once only common among startups and small companies, was also adopted by medium-sized and large companies. 

An inflated job title means that your employee is performing a role that is much larger in scope than what the current job actually requires. This has devastating consequences for the employee, the company, and the industry.

Inflated Job Titles: The Dangers of Faster Promotions and Condensed Careers 

According to HR and workforce management expert James J Clark, faster promotions and condensed careers are not cost-effective and may strain your company’s hiring and labor expenses. This is because various compensation and benefits packages are derived from level eligibility, such as incentive schemes and career growth opportunities.   

Therefore, if your employee is misclassified, your company inaccurately awards them benefits that they would not be eligible to receive. This will pose a big question of how your company will maintain equity across positions and fairness among employees. 

When Job Titles Become Disastrous in the Senior Levels 

Inflated job titles in a company are more disastrous at the executive level than at any other level in the organization. 

Suppose that a company provides a much bigger title to a role to attract talent, knowing full well that the title does not match the duties and responsibilities of the same in the external market. When the employee leaves and applies for your company, you are then easily deceived or misled that a candidate is qualified to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the role – not realizing that your job candidate’s declared position in the resume is just an inflated one. 

As a hiring manager, you may end up hiring a candidate with virtually no experience handling the role, significantly lacking in skills required for the new position. Sadly, there is a strong possibility of a completely unqualified individual taking on a job and beating an otherwise qualified candidate who did not use an inflated job title to land the role. This may also be defeating for an employee who may find a hard time landing a new job for the same role after holding an inflated job title in a previous company. 

Even more worrying is that data shows that inflated job titles are slowly becoming the norm in many companies, regardless of size. A recent study from Bloomberg revealed that the number of senior jobs available for jobseekers rose by 57 percent, pointing to the reality that title inflations happen mainly in the director and managerial levels of the organization. Senior contributors are offered lead or manager titles, while managers are offered Associate Director titles. 

Job Titles Disillusionment and Equity in Your Company 

The statement “Job titles are cheap as they actually do not cost anything” may be accurate or inaccurate depending on which side of the fence you are on. 

A study from Rasmussen University revealed that inflated job titles are also a bane for many job candidates. This may confuse and disappoint highly qualified applicants if the role turns out to have duties and responsibilities that are more suitable for a lower position. With expectations unmet, job candidates and you, as hiring managers, merely end up wasting precious time, effort, and resources. 

When your company practices title inflation, you also open your organization to the dangers of implosion. Keep in mind that the basis for any promotion is a meritocracy. Employees must be given a senior job title because they fully deserve it based on your eligibility criteria. 

In some instances, pay bands also rise alongside a higher job title. While this may be good for prospective employees in your company, it can be disastrous for employees already in your company as they might feel taken for granted. 

A study co-authored by Harvard Business School Associate Professor Tsedal Neeley revealed that employees and new hires given senior job titles faster than they can actually perform the duties and responsibilities connected with the title tend to create chaos within the organization, especially with tenured employees. This breeds insecurity and a prevailing sense of doubt within the organization. 

In the larger scheme of things, this can result in guilt, distraction, and instability among your employees. When employees are disappointed or frustrated, their feelings and disposition take away the vision and purpose of the work itself, which is counterproductive and harmful in the long run.   

Promoting A Fair Job Title Starts with You  

As hiring managers and business owners, you are ultimately responsible for keeping job titles and promotions in check. Instead of finding yourself appeasing your employees or offering bloated job titles to new hires to keep the hiring process up to speed, your company has to be clear and transparent with employees and job candidates. 

Maintain a healthy organizational structure, assign titles to employees by merit, and if the need arises, work with partners who can excellently screen your job candidates to give you the best candidate to fill a particular role in the company. 

After all, what are job titles when in reality, every role in your organization is critical to your company’s success? 

KEEP JOB TITLES’ INFLATION IN CHECK WITH FOX SEARCH GROUP. 

If your company is overwhelmed with the challenges of hiring talent in the era of the Great Resignation, consider partnering with Fox Search Group. Get candidates for your company’s most critical vacancies from the Fox Search Group’s pool of personally vetted candidates. No need to resort to job title inflation or any related tactics. Partner with Fox Search Group for your hiring needs and get the job done in just half the time. Contact us today. 

Engagement at Work: Staying Connected at a Time of Normalized Disconnection

Engagement at Work: Staying Connected at a Time of Normalized Disconnection

The pandemic has undeniably caused a shift in how companies do business, with most changing their work arrangements for their employees. However, these varied work arrangements come with the challenge of ensuring that employees remain connected across the globe. 

With the expansion of remote work locations, indifference and disconnect from employees may arise. In a Gallup research, about 75 percent of US employees feel not cared for by their employers. Thus, for employees to stay connected, engagement efforts would be critical. 

1. Securing Benefits, Improving Comfort 

Employee engagement increases workplace productivity, much like customer engagement determines a product’s profitability. Improving employee engagement involves implementing policies that will ensure safety and comfort for your employees. 

Since change is the only thing that remains constant, many workers are now seeking out organizations that value flexibility and youthful energy. Surveys suggest that many young employees will not hesitate to leave a company that will not honor a work-life balance.   

Your employees will spend most of their waking moments at work. Providing them with leave credits that could be earned through toil work can encourage them to function more systematically, knowing the accessibility of a benefit. From incentives to in-office perks, providing tangible benefits can boost the productivity of your employees. 

Giving incentives has been proven effective in improving employee productivity. Benefits can come in monetary and non-monetary forms. In-office perks need not be costly for management. For example, having music and a literary corner in the office can help your employees revisit their creative sides. 

2. Communicating with Empathy  

Employee engagement is an exercise of empathy. Employees can sense when mutual trust and respect are present in their communications and interactions with them. With businesses depending on employees’ strengthened dedication, employees have increasing expectations from their organizations regarding how they must be treated. Employees are now looking for companies willing to consider them as partners in their business, not robots or AI. 

Additionally, cooperation in addressing company struggles can be further enhanced when you show empathy. A recent study by Catalyst revealed that 76 percent of employees who experienced empathy from their leaders reported feeling engaged. Communicating with empathy can lead to a healthier relationship and renewed appreciation among your organization, leaders, and employees.  

3. Placing Importance on Mental Health 

Achieving work-life balance includes recognizing the mental health needs of your employees across all levels in your organization. Compared to before the pandemic, the risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) increased by 53 percent in June 2022. Employees who experience mental fatigue may experience the inability to focus and become easily irritated, affecting their productivity and willingness to engage. 

You can begin to manage this by promoting open dialogue about mental health. Employees who are struggling with their mental health at work should be able to get psychological first aid from your health and safety officer (HSO) or any other company medical staff. Additionally, you can offer your business medical or health staff certifications or training that will prepare them to handle employee welfare comprehensively. 

4. Recognizing and Addressing Burnout 

Burnout affects overall productivity and performance in a business. Employee indifference toward work quality and productivity can stem from managers giving unrealistic expectations and far too many tasks. As a result, poor management has become one of the major culprits of employee burnout. 

Manager burnout is also real. Managers are the first line of defense when employees suddenly leave. Knowing the intricacies of the work makes them most responsible for finding or being the substitute for an employee who is not meeting their key performance index (KPIs). This can make them have less time with their family or sacrifice their well-being to meet the demand.   

Considering that any employee, from experts to C-levels, can experience burnout, it’s important to have systems to notice signs of burnout before it’s too late. Additionally, with burnout being a blocker to engagement at work, it has to be addressed so that employees will still feel energized to connect and engage in the workplace. As your employees and their managers are not machines or robots, set reasonable KPIs to protect their overall well-being and inspire openness to build bridges within your organization. 

5. Celebrating Diversity 

The traditional mindset on diversity is that it would cause a divide among employees. However, diversity greatly contributes to office cooperation and collaboration. Research shows that diversity, equity, and inclusion improve company culture.  

Visibility matters. Your employees will reciprocate the value you place in allowing them to have the freedom to express their identities without fear of discrimination. You can begin with the company’s employee handbooks. Stipulations on protecting and honoring the varied identities your employees have will motivate them further. Encourage all forms of families, single parent, same-sex, or chosen families, to attend family days. 

6. Inspiring a Deeper Sense of Purpose 

As with many businesses, it is possible to lose sight of what lies beyond the profit margins. The disconnect can sometimes originate from a lost connection to the company’s vision and mission. Many companies may start with a vision to be the most innovative in their industries. 

However, as profits increase and business expands, management may shift focus from its employees further away. Reigniting that connection can start with instilling a deeper sense of the company’s purpose in each employee. 

Go back to why the company exists so that employees will be reminded why they also support your organization. By reminding your staff, the management, and the executives of the motivations behind the company’s establishment, you can rekindle and strengthen your connection with your employees. Ensuring purposeful alignment and decision-making can resonate strongly with your employees, which gives them more reasons to connect, engage, and be one with your vision. 

Engagement Leads to Sustainability 

Profitability is dependent on the continuous proactive participation of your employees. So, welcome employee feedback and productivity, and map out how these contribute to the company overall. Your employees value being heard and knowing that their opinions matter in the grand scheme of the business process. 

Engagement is a mutual decision that takes practice and commitment. Therefore, it is best to build engagement strategies that best fit your company’s work culture to drive sustainability to your business ultimately. 

FOX SEARCH GROUP CAN BE YOUR ENGAGEMENT PARTNER. 

At Fox Search Group, the hiring process does not end with onboarding. Our mission is to cultivate longstanding partnerships. We will listen to your vision and offer the best resource that supports your direction. We are experts at recruiting IT managers and executives from among the best. Connect us today.