So much of our world today is changing at a dizzying pace. In the field of Employee Engagement, current techniques and programs are quickly being superseded by more effective approaches. This will be the first of a two part essay on this subject, the second to be published next week. Here I will look at the interplay between what employees want and what technology can offer. In next week’s installment I will introduce a new innovative approach to Employee Engagement that is producing impressive results.
For starters, workplace statistics are indicating employees no longer just want a paycheck at the end of the day, they need fulfillment. As technology continues to revolutionize how society operates, it is also changing today’s workplace to meet the ever increasing needs of new generations of employees, service providers and stakeholders.
"Employee engagement is more than productivity - it's about purpose. Now, more than ever before, employees want a workplace where they feel happy, engaged, and connected to something bigger than themselves." -Corey Harnish
It’s more than just the Bottom Line
Let me guess, you’re probably like the rest of us - you think of employee engagement in terms of the bottom line. How to increase productivity? What can be done to minimize absenteeism? How to reduce turnover? Yet, surprisingly enough, although these are crucial outcomes they are necessary but not sufficient objectives.
As you continue reading further you’ll learn what really matters; what works when it comes to employee engagement, and what your employees actually want and need.
Welcome to the Workplace in the Era of Millennial & Gen Z Engagement
Year after year the meaning of employee engagement shifts due primarily to the constant influx of Millennials and Gen Z’ers into the workplace. These socially conscious jobseekers are looking for career paths where they have the chance to give back, make a difference and provide purpose beyond making profits. In fact, according to Cone Communications, 83% of Gen Z ‘ers in the US actually consider a company’s social purpose when deciding where to work.
So, what does this mean for employee engagement? For these new generations of job seekers it’s far more than just contributing towards a company’s bottom line, especially in view of their belief that they can get a paycheck almost anywhere.
Employee engagement is about evolving a company’s workplace and culture so that its employees, service providers, and stakeholders feel more connected and dedicated to their own, as well as their employer’s goals and values. In other words, a workplace culture that aligns with both personal as well as corporate value sets can far more easily attract talent, drive engagement and impact happiness and satisfaction, all while positively impacting job performance and company productivity. It’s a simple fact that happier employees work harder and far more effectively.
The Mass Inevitable Adoption of Workplace Wellness
Not so long ago it was rare to hear the words ‘workplace’ and ‘wellness’ in the same sentence. Times have changed however. According to The Rand Corporation, over 80% of companies in the US (with 50+ employees) offer some sort of corporate wellness program, and here’s why: a whopping 83% of U.S. employees suffer from work-related stress resulting in a loss of $300 billion per year. As Daniel Freedman (corporate wellness platform and BurnAlong’s CEO) notes, “Corporate wellness is moving from a nice perk to a must-have; from a fun, team-building wellness event here-and-there to a 24/7 opportunity.” And the numbers support him. The Workplace Wellness Market size is expected to reach $74 billion by 2026, and in terms of increased value, registering a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of 6.1% from 2019 to 2026.
What does all of this mean for companies today?
It’s about purpose.
Nurturing an employee sensitive culture in the modern workplace entails that an organization demonstrate a genuine empathy towards its employees, service providers, and stakeholders. This, as well as fostering closer social connections - and yes, even creating space for a little fun and the opportunity to promote creativity. O.C. Tanner’s workplace wellbeing statistics suggests that employees are 52% less likely to feel stressed when their employer takes care of their emotional and social well-being; and as we all know, stress can severely inhibit productivity and creativity. What’s more, Harvard Business School found that in American-based companies, every dollar spent on wellness programs results in a savings of $3.27 on medical expenses as well as $2.73 on employee absenteeism.@
What’s more, from fitness and health programs to culture building apps and work-at-home arrangements, workplace wellness is rapidly integrating the latest digital components into the employee experience, as I’ll discuss more fully in the next article.
Now, more than ever before, employees want a workplace where they feel happy.
As we all know, the world around us is changing fast, and Millennials and Gen Z’ers are constantly on the lookout for the next opportunity that better aligns with their tastes and beliefs; and this within the context of how technology and social media is reshaping the workplace and our lives. The internet is constantly redefining best practices as to how we can better approach productivity and engagement. Standing above this shifting welter of change, the only thing that remains constant is our need for, and the benefits offered by community. After all, at the end of the day, companies will always be a group of people working towards a common individual and collective goal. And this is exactly why culture is so important, for without it, there would be nothing as potent to unite us.
If you want to learn more about innovative gamified tools and techniques to improve your organization’s employee, service provider and stakeholder engagement, or if you just have a burning question to ask, we’d love to hear from you! To learn more about this space and what might best align with your organization’s focus, needs and plans for the future, feel free to reach out to Corey by accessing his email at harnish.corey@gmail.
Author Corey Harnish | Social Impact Entertainment Specialist | Gamification Consultant for Employee & Community Engagement | FunFunding Partnerships & Business Development
Edited in Collaboration with Ric Lipman | Consumer & ProSocial Behavioral Researcher | Director of Research ProSocial Global