According to Bersin by Deloitte, “ … employee engagement had become the top issue on the minds of business leaders, directing us to an entirely new model of management.”

Employee engagement is a hot topic in the business world, and is changing the way brands view and treat individuals in their workforce. While research surrounding the topic is abundant and varied, the general consensus among experts is that it will become a powerful force (some even say competitive differentiator) for businesses seeking success with their customer experience programmes. To give more insight into this flourishing area of focus, we’ve compiled 6 predictions that brands should pay attention to: 

1) Employee engagement will remain a core focus

Employee engagement will remain a critical focus for brands for now and into the future, but according to a Bersin by Deloitte survey, it will be a challenging area to tackle. In particular, the poll found that “87% of organizations said they believed that culture and engagement were among their top challenges, while 50% believed the problem was ‘very important’ [1].

The rise of company ranking sites and awards for the best places to work has also increased the visibility of companies who succeed or fail at employee engagement, making it more essential than ever for brands to invest in programmes and VoE technology. That is, if they want to become top players on ranking sites and attract talent while encouraging a culture where employees are the core reason for bottom line gains, then they need to implement the time, strategies and technology to do so.

2) Employees will look for growth and career opportunities

In recent years, ranking sites like CareerBliss have seen a shift towards employees valuing professional development more in the work place. United Healthcare, who topped the site’s list this year, ranked highly for “growth opportunities” in addition to “support you get”, “the way you work”, and “the person you work for” [2]. One reason for this shift can be attributed to greater visibility of employee performance whether through customer experience technology or company recognition programmes, both of which encourage accolades and opportunities for growth for high performing workers.

3) The hiring process will become more intuitive, intensive and tech savvy

You’d be hard pressed these days to find a stellar work candidate without an “all star” LinkedIn account. Recruiting top talent now involves more than posting a lack lustre job description on your website. It takes hours of social media and job site research for candidates, carefully written job descriptions and interview questions, in addition to clear vision of what your company can offer the employee. The top brands who excel at engaging employees frequently have compelling and clear company visions, in addition to intensive interviewing and hiring processes. These are all attributes that will save them time and money in the long run because the “right fit” who stays and succeeds will bring more dividends than the quick hire who struggles and leaves.

4) Millennials will change the status quo

Millennials have proven to be one of the most unpredictable and powerful forces in today’s business world. The largest generation in the US workforce as of 2015 [3], they need to become a core focus for companies both as consumers and employees – especially now that baby boomers are beginning their leap into retirement.

Highly influenced by the transparency, speed and choice that technology affords them, this generation has core values vastly different from their predecessors. According to a 2015 article by Entrepreneur, “… they’re even more apt than older colleagues to choose a company that values honest feedback over one that gives top perks. 84% of Millennials said an open communication policy was more important than perks when choosing a job vs. 77% of boomers (aged 51-69)” [4].

5) The focus on people analytics will increase

“There is a major shift taking place in the market for people analytics. After years of talking about the opportunity to apply data to people decisions, companies are now stepping up and making the investment. And more exciting than that, the serious math and data people are flocking to HR,” states Josh Bersin, founder and principal at Bersin by Deloitte. His statement isn’t surprising considering that analytics in general, whether in business, sports and personal life, have exploded over the past decade with the rise of “Big Data”.

For example, Google has PhDs, technologists and exconsultants in their People Analytics department, which functions as part of their HR, or, as they call it, People Operations. With a goal of having the right numbers and statistics to back up important HR hires and decisions, “… the combined power of the group is having the business people make sure we’re solving the right problems, the stats folks ensure there’s rigor in how we do it and the technologists who make the solutions scalable and transparent,” states Prasad Setty, Vice President of People Analytics & Compensation at Google, in an interview with The Atlantic [5].

Likewise, Bersin, in his article, discusses how companies are seeing the value in their investments. In his research with Deloitte, his teams discovered that brands who “were way ahead of the curve … were looking at people related data in a very strategic way, and they were making far better decisions about who to hire, who to promote, how much to pay people, and much more” [6].

6) Technology for measuring metrics and employee engagement will improve

According to Bersin and his research, there will also be a “new breed of pulse tools, feedback apps, and anonymous social networking tools,” for employees to use in the future. These tools will help both employers and employees better understand the root causes for problems at work, and, ideally, help instigate long-term solutions that benefit employees, the customer and the brand [7].

The future of employee engagement holds some exciting changes and opportunities for businesses ready to invest in the time and technologies that support it. Not sure where to begin with employee engagement for your brand? Read our blog, “7 Steps for Creating Happy & Engaged Employees”.

 

[1] Deloitte, ‘Culture and engagement The naked organization,” February 2015.
[2] “50 Happiest Companies in America for 2016.” www.careerBliss.com Dec 03, 2015.
[3] Sparshott, Jeffrey. “Millennials Become the Biggest Generation in the U.S. Workforce.” www.wsj.com May 11, 2015.
[4] “Survey Says: Honesty at the Office Is the Biggest Perk of All.” www.entrepreneur.com March 24, 2015.
[5] Derose, Chris. “How Google Uses Data to Build Worker.” www.theatlantic.com Oct 7, 2013.
[6] Bersin, Josh. “The Geeks Arrive In HR: People Analytics Is Here.” www.forbes.com Feb 2015.
[7] Bersin, Josh. “The Geeks Arrive In HR: People Analytics Is Here.” www.forbes.com Feb 2015.