The first batch of Millennials entered the formal job market in the mid-2000’s and had outnumbered Gen X in the workplace by 2016.
Since then, they have transformed how we work, have challenged traditional workplace attitudes and inspired both excitement and resentment from previous generations.
This generation is undergoing a dramatic shift. They’re starting to mature into credible and higher-ranking professionals, thus wielding more influence in the work environment.
The big question is: How drastically has the workplace changed and what employee engagement trends have emerged in 2018, so far?
These are the 5 employee engagement trends that have become prominent this year and will potentially be stretching out for decades to come:
1.The rise of continuous feedback
The first of our employee engagement trends should come as no surprise.
Millennials live in an instant world. They don’t write a letter and wait two weeks to get a response...they post a pic on Instagram which immediately ignites a flurry of those much needed ‘likes’.
In the workplace, they are expecting the same. They want to do valuable work and receive instant feedback from you, even if it’s negative.
This actually works largely in your favour because if the feedback is not as positive, they will work to improve it and if it’s positive, they will take steps to remedy it with a view to receiving even better feedback the next time around.
A lack of feedback may cause them to become disheartened and therefore disengaged. Millennials are likely to work harder when they receive regular, constant feedback.
With the trend of regular feedback, it will come as no surprise that in 2018 the standard, annual performance review is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.
The new norm is feedback that is frequent and timely. Timely because a scattershot approach simply won't work...it has to be the right feedback at the right time!
Conduct regular check-ins with your team members to align expectations, review priorities, comment on recent work done and reach agreement on the way forward.
Advances in tech in 2018 have given us the ability to glean real-time data about employee performance, making the work of giving timeous and relevant feedback that much easier for you...
Imagine being able to access all employee details at a click of a button.
This is the future of work.
Sooner or later, more and more companies are going to abandon the whole idea of annual appraisals and use real-time assessment tools to conduct employee reviews and surveys to provide holistic feedback.
When you build programs that solicit, collect and distribute feedback at critical moments, you put yourself in the position to impact real change within your organisation.
So, taking the time to provide feedback to employees is a simple way of increasing morale and productivity.
2. Personalised rewards and gifts
These days organisations are using corporate gifting as a form of appreciation for the positive work done by employees.
But, there is more to employee rewards than just handing out generic gifts.
Personalised corporate gifts are far more valuable. They show that you care about your employees and know enough about them to understand what they like.
Personalised gifting also helps to strengthen the relationship with your employees.
When employees receive gifts from their company, not only are they motivated, often their motivation levels are boosted.
Organisations are increasingly embracing different ways of recognising employee performance. This has helped many companies increase their work output, as well as better, improve sales and customer interactions.
3. Flat organograms
The way of work is changing. Managers are taking on the role of mentors and coaches, rather than just bosses.
Companies are beginning to move away from top-down management and are embracing flat structures.
Millennials are a generation concerned about the impact their work has on people (society) and the planet).
Flat structures give them the ability to efficiently determine the impact of their contributions. This enables them to quickly correct the level of their activities to match the level of impact they want to make.
They need recognition, especially from their peers and not necessarily through the top-down management system where only the manager can give recognition.
Managers have taken note of this employee engagement trend.
They are beginning to realise that when power is distributed equally among their employees, their organisation becomes more effective and efficient.
4. Actively balance the work and personal life of employees
The year 2018 is proving that the 9 to 5 routine is dying.
Millennials have revealed that they enjoy a job that creates an appropriate work-life balance.
For a generation that wants to make every minute count, flexible working hours contribute significantly to their levels of engagement.
The 45-minute to work, 45-minute home commute sounds insignificant but calculated over a long period is enough to have any Millennial clicking on the “jobs” tab on LinkedIn.
But fortunately, a number of top companies are buying into this idea.
They understand that certain jobs don’t need to be done in the office and as such, there is no need to report to work every day nor stay in the office within “prescribed” working hours.
Many companies are continuously working to ensure their valued employees achieve this delicate balance.
And why not? Research has shown work-life balance is one of the factors employees value more than monetary compensation.
Flexible working hours also result in less sick days and reduce employee burnout.
Millennials are looking for careers that offer flexible working hours in order to maintain family and other life responsibilities.
Though it may sound counter-productive, in order to get the most out of your Millennial workforce, you need to allow a certain amount of control over their own time.
5. Employee experience
The deal baby boomers signed up for is no longer valid.
What was this deal?
The deal was that if you go to school, get good grades, go to college, then get even better grades, there would be a company to hire you.
The company would pay you lots of money, give you medical aid benefits, job security and a pension.
This deal was hard to resist and for almost a century it worked.
But in the face of competition and technology, this deal has now fallen apart.
Retrenchments levels are high.
The economy is at a low.
Career growth is slow.
This has resulted in today’s Millennial employees placing more importance on their job experiences and careers, rather than on a pay cheque at the end of the month.
As far as employee engagement trends go, larger companies are beginning to realise that in comparison to the high cost of employee turnover, the investment in the employee experience is much more important than top-down company structures and salaries.
They are beginning to realise they benefit more from having happier and more engaged employees.
Investing in the employee experience will pay far greater dividends than casual Fridays and the occasional birthday cake in the pause area.
These are the 5 employee engagement trends that have become prominent in 2018. Let us know of any other employee engagement trends you've encountered.