March 28, 2016


Key employee engagement trends in 2016

It perhaps is not too much of an overstatement to suggest that modern companies are now more transparent in their practices and decisions than at anytime in history. In the era of easily accessible online information databases – Glassdoor, for instance – a company’s payrolls, acquisitions and internal behavior regularly play out in view of the public. A byproduct of this newfound openness is the increased attention given to questions of employee engagement.

According to a 2015 Bersin report by Deloitte titled “Culture and engagement: the naked organization,” heightened corporate transparency has made key issues out of workforce mobility, company culture, talent retention and, of course, employee engagement. Eighty-seven percent of organizations responding to Deloitte’s survey reported that culture and engagement were among their most important challenges. Is it any surprise that these issues have only grown in importance over the last year?

If anything, employee engagement and culture are even greater priorities in 2016 than they were in 2015. Companies that aim to stay relevant and competitive must be aware of the trends that will dictate the future of engagement this year and beyond. CIO, citing a TINYpulse data review of more than 400,000 employees around the world, put together a list of 16 trends that would reshape the IT field this year. We’ll take a closer look at a few of the trends that will impact all industries moving forward.

Engagement continues to be a top priority
Last year’s Deloitte survey showed that 50 percent of responding organizations believed culture and engagement to be “very important.” It’s not going to lose any of its potency in 2016. In fact, it looks to remain one of, if not the highest priority for many companies. Part of the reason for this is that there is no end-all, be-all solution to employee engagement. It’s an evolving, continuing process that demands constant attention and creative solutions. Failure to update engagement efforts results in companies losing hold of one of the most vital areas of workplace achievement.

Onboarding needs a revolution – and video is the answer
Many businesses have let their onboarding process remain in developmental limbo for years, if not decades. That won’t fly anymore. Onboarding programs need to become fluid and forward-looking if companies are going to grow. It’s essential that employees hit the ground running from day one, confident in their role within the company. Throw out your stacks of paperwork and sluggish slideshow presentations – you need video. To truly engage and instruct new workers, you need to utilize video as your primary tool. Visual learning encourages the embrace of new ideas and connections with old ones, allowing employees to retain information much more effectively than other outdated methods. Use videos to lay out a plan of development and capture your workers’ attention.

Millennials will change the way businesses operate
Last year, Pew Research Center announced that millennials had finally surpassed Generation X to become the largest generation in the American workforce. This doesn’t just mean employers have more young talent to work with. It means that millennials will be a major force of change in company culture. Workplace practices are already adapting to the work-life balance and social connectivity favored by millennials, and the shift will only grow more dramatic with time. Many businesses will move away from top-down structures to embrace collaborative management models, bringing some fresh energy – not to mention accountability – to the corporate world.

Transparency is even more important now
With the influx of millennials into the labor force, there will be a significant evolution of transparency. It’s already going on nationwide. Millennial employees value trust and open communication between all levels of management, which means continuous feedback isn’t just accepted, it’s actually desired. Transparency will push beyond anonymous feedback surveys into conversational exchanges between employees and executives. Through video conferences and broadcasted face-to-faces hosted by enterprise content delivery networks, millennials will increase the frequency and efficacy of transparent feedback. Employees want to see who is critiquing them or offering advice. Video facilitates that process, making it faster and more honest.