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.
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.
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.
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.