The nature of work is changing. Following the ‘Great Resignation' that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, hybrid work has emerged as a significant boost to human resource (HR) functions in many organizations. According to a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) report, 47 million workers quit their jobs in America in 2021 and another 50 million in 2022. The exodus was so significant that associate professor of management Anthony Klotz of the University College of London (UCL) coined the phrase ‘Great Resignation’ that promptly became viral. Two years down the line, the struggle to acquire and retain talent is back and indicates a new era in stress-tested employee engagement.
Streamlining engagement strategies
It wouldn’t be unfair to say that the world witnessed a digital revolution during 2022-2024. Artificial intelligence (AI) is now being increasingly utilized across all verticals. Streamlining processes through automation is no more a choice. It’s a practice that’ll gain more traction in 2024. The process involves integrating engagement initiatives with existing systems such as Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) and various communication channels. It allows seamless execution of employee engagement strategies and relieves HR professionals of unnecessary administrative work.
Communication is perhaps the most important component of any employee engagement activity. Clarity in communication by HR leaders helps workers understand the organization’s mission and gain a clear idea of where they fit into the bigger picture. Clear communication is a basic tenet of employee engagement that creates transparency and builds trust between the owners and employees. It forges a sense of empowerment among workers. Having regular team meetings, sharing updates, and promoting an open-door policy enhance clear communication in the workplace.
A people-first culture should be at the core of employee engagement. According to a 2023 survey by Great Place to Work with more than 1.3 million respondents, having a people-first culture clearly reflects in an employee’s intention to stay in the company (88%), discretionary effort (90%), referrals (91%), and agility (87%). A workplace that doesn’t just hear but also actively listens to and acknowledges its employees will have a thriving work culture. When employees feel recognized as individuals, they are not only happy working for the company but are more attuned to customer needs.
Prioritizing work-life balance
The shift to remote work during the pandemic has set new standards for workplace flexibility. Emphasis on work-life balance has become a key principle to increase employee engagement. Companies in the service sector that don’t require a daily office presence, have already adopted flexible work schedules. A FlexJobs report claims that 75% of employees feel more productive working remotely because of reduced commuting, fewer distractions, and less office politics. The Deloitte 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey also revealed that 52% of millennials consider work-life balance as a major factor to continue working for an organization.
Redefining ‘human’ in HR
Technology is playing a major role in building an engaged workforce in the post-pandemic times. But the essence of humanity in HR is now more crucial than ever. According to an Ernst & Young survey, 87% of employees said that empathy is essential to foster an inclusive environment. This statistic highlights a fundamental truth that even in a burgeoning digital world, people yearn for appreciation, compassion, and recognition. Organizations that want more employee engagement should elevate the human element in HR amid the digital transformation.
Employees are the real assets of any organization. Every new generation of workers brings a new twist to the workforce. A vibrant workplace with happy employees leads to more productivity. That’s only possible when companies attach enough importance to employee engagement.