What Will Employee Engagement Look Like in 2016?

January 12, 2016 7:00 am Published by

We at TINYpulse are always interested in finding more ways to improve happiness and engagement at work. So here at the beginning of 2016, we’re interested in the trends, challenges, and opportunities that will shape the workplace in the coming year.

Our research — including our recently released 2015 Employee Engagement Report — has given us plenty of eye-opening insight into the factors affecting the workforce. That, plus our observations of the major themes and developments of the past year, helped us determine 16 predictions for employee engagement in 2016.

Check out a few of them below:

Engagement will remain a #1 concern

Without a doubt, the conversation about employee engagement will not get quieter. In 2015, Bersin by Deloitte found that 87% of organizations consider culture and engagement as one of their top challenges. Moreover, 50% call the problem “very important.” This isn’t a one-time solution kind of problem, so expect this trend to carry on throughout 2016. It will continue to top companies’ lists of priorities since employee engagement is the core of so many vital components of workplace success.

The major theme will be personal accountability

The findings of our 2015 Employee Engagement report show that employees are owning their personal accountability in their workplace experience. Fulfilling their potential looms large in their minds, and they want their employers to provide the tools and teams that will help them do that. Companies will find more success in engagement strategies that involve employee initiative and make them an active part of the process.

Coworkers will play a vital role

Another major theme in our 2015 Employee Engagement report is the way that peers can make or break the workplace experience. This is in line with our findings from previous years: 

In other words, the importance of peers for workplace happiness has been consistently high and will get even higher. If you want your employees to be happy and productive, then make sure to hire the right people who will help them succeed.

Peer-to-peer recognition will grow

The percentage of employees giving peer recognition has been growing over the past couple years, and in 2016 it will become a dominant form of employee appreciation. The trend has been in place for some time:

  • Our 2013 Employee Engagement Report showed that, when offered a simple tool to do so, 36% of all workers will provide peer recognition on an ongoing basis
  • Our 2014 Employee Engagement Report showed that, when offered a simple tool to do so, 44% of all workers will provide peer recognition on an ongoing basis

Managers shouldn’t be the only ones recognizing great accomplishments in the workplace. Employees want appreciation from their colleagues as well, so support them in making one another feel valued. Give them an easy tool for peer recognition like the MBA Inventory.

Watch out for a new hidden turnover risk

The job market recovery and declining unemployment rate will uncover a new attrition risk: the “middle of the pack” employees who are neither strongly engaged nor terribly disengaged. When it was an employers’ market, this wasn’t really an issue because workers didn’t have many options to tempt them. As more opportunities open up, however, these low-commitment employees will easily drift away. To avoid scrambling for replacements, companies must get ahead of the trend and save those whose engagement can be saved — and let go of those who can’t.

Minimum wage increases will be a win for companies

Higher required salaries might seem like a drain on company resources, but the investment will pay off. Employees who aren’t plagued by financial stress — and possibly the additional stress caused by needing to work extra jobs in order to make ends meet — will become more engaged and productive.

Millennials will start dominating workplace culture

Millennials became the largest generation in the workforce this past year, and their new position as the majority will shape company culture. This means that workplace values will shift to those prioritized by this generation, from collaboration and social responsibility to flexibility and work-life integration.

Want to find out what else we predict for employee engagement in 2016? Download our 2015 Employee Engagement Report to read all 16 predictions.

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January 12, 2016 7:00 am

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