As 2019 kicks off with historically low unemployment rates (less than 4 percent nationwide, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), employers are struggling to fill open positions and retain employees. One of the biggest factors in keeping employees is keeping them engaged, and as hiring trends and employment rates continue to rise, employee engagement becomes even more critical for employers who want their teams to remain intact. According to U.S. News & World Report, national recruiting firm Collegial Services surveyed thousands of hiring managers and job seekers regarding employee engagement trends, and found the most important of these trends for 2019.
Employers hoping to hire successful candidates and keep their existing teams active and engaged at work should consider implementing some of the following strategies this year.
Entry-level employees are particularly concerned with finding opportunities to learn a diverse array of practical skills, and rotational programs provide those opportunities. These programs let employees try out multiple job functions in their positions, which appeals both to relatively new workers and experienced employees who want to diversify their skill sets. They also help employers stay on top of relatively mundane but critical tasks that might bore or burden their more experienced staffers.
Siemens, for example, offers rotational internships and new grad programs to its hires. Smaller companies can emulate this strategy on a more modest scale to attract applicants and keep current employees engaged.
Even entry-level job seekers are already thinking about how their careers might advance going forward, meaning they prefer employers who offer a wide range of development and learning opportunities to help equip them for the future. Human Resources Today suggests that employers leverage this trend by approaching professional development as an investment in their workers, providing them with continued learning so they can continue giving back to their company with new and improved skills.
As Kristina Martic of TalentLyft told Human Resources Today, “Young and ambitious professionals view personal career development as extremely important. Money and higher wages might help companies attract talent. However, it won’t help them keep the talent.”
U.S. News & World Report pointed to Yelp as a model example: The company offers after-hours management training to its top producers, which may qualify program participants for management roles within Yelp. Such programs attract job-seekers, and may also work to retain current employees.
Work-Life Balance Programs
Employee burnout is perhaps the polar opposite of employee engagement, and it often stems from poor work-life balance. When companies offer opportunities for their employees to prioritize their personal lives and more efficiently balance them out with their careers, it helps to keep workers fresh, engaged and energized on a longer-term basis. Employers who permit work-from-home-friendly cultures or who offer their employees flexible Friday schedules demonstrate a commitment to their workers’ mental health as well as their professional success. Renewable energy company GroundWork, for example, lets its employees take a holiday on the summer solstice.
Wellness programs also work to help employees achieve a healthy work-life balance. Some companies might offer free fitness classes or gym memberships, or host team-oriented competitions focused on physical or mental wellness. These efforts help teams build camaraderie and stay engaged at work.
Intentionally Inclusive Environments
The recruiting, hiring and advancement processes in any company should prioritize diversity, which has been shown to help employees feel more engaged and psychologically safe, according to Human Resources Today. To create inclusive workplaces, teams can work to implement bias-reducing hiring practices, offer generous parental leave programs, ensure equitable pay and hold conscious bias training sessions.
“A culture of inclusiveness is rooted in trust and respect, but it is much more than that,” Gallup COO and Executive Vice President Jane Miller told Human Resources Today. “It’s making sure that employees know that their contributions and opinions are noticed. It’s leaders and managers embracing individuality and diversity, celebrating each person’s unique strengths and accepting their weaknesses.”