When it comes to employee engagement, 2015 looks to be a year of trial and error. Employees are engaged, but they are restless and an improved economy has empowered more of them. Businesses need to engage them earlier and more often; ask what they need to be happier at work, then double up on retention efforts.
First, employers should ask themselves two questions: “Are my employees engaged? If so, is that enough to make them stay?”
Modern Survey’s engagement study identified three key trends among today’s workforce that are worth noting as the newness of this new year wears off:
- Engagement is high.
Good news! The number of “fully engaged” employees (16 percent) is higher than ever. Furthermore, the number of disengaged employees (22 percent) is at its lowest point since Modern Survey began conducting this study in 2007.
The percentage of “fully engaged” employees has climbed since fall 2011. Today, there are twice as many employees in this category, partly due to the decline in unemployment.
It may come as a surprise that Generation Y employees are the most “fully engaged” (19 percent) demographic, despite popular misconceptions. Engagement efforts in 2015 should focus more on Generation X (14 percent) and baby boomers (15 percent).
- Millennials are engaged, but distracted.
Generation Y may be more engaged than their counterparts; however, more than half of all employees considering leaving their current employer are millennials.
The most important identifier for millennials is that many of them have aged during a time of great economic uncertainty. Business opportunities were scarce and many had to make calculated educational and career decisions based on an unstable market.
Today, with the economy still on an upswing of recovery, millennials face more opportunity than before, and many are acting on it. For businesses, this could be detrimental; in order to retain top talent, they must make changes now in order to convince millennials they won’t find something better.
- Even more employees are looking to change jobs.
Stronger markets breed confidence among workers. In fact, the percentage of employees currently hunting for a job has risen 5 percent in the last 18 months, sitting near 28 percent today. Those “fully engaged” employees – the ones you can count on to stay where they are – have risen to an alarming 24 percent in the last year.
Forget what you used to know; companies need to find unconventional ways to keep employees onboard. Here are four unconventional tips for retention:
- Offer classes on various topics that might interest them.
- Create cross-department brainstorming sessions.
- Become more technologically aware.
- Initiate team-building exercises.
What does your 2015 engagement strategy look like?