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StaffConnect 2019 Predictions: Transforming Employee Engagement

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2019.  Read them in this 11th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Geraldine Osman, Chief Marketing Officer, StaffConnect

2019 Predictions for Transforming Employee Engagement

Employee engagement has created ongoing problems for organizations in diverse industries, from retail to manufacturing and many others. Gallup has labeled the worldwide situation of disengagement as a "crisis"-a recent poll showed only 13 percent of employees globally were engaged. In the U.S., despite Gallup's 2018 figures showing a slight rise in engagement levels with 34 percent of American workers now engaged, that still leaves around two-thirds of employees, with more than half "not engaged" and 13 percent "actively disengaged." Improvement? Yes. Satisfactory for 2019? No.

A lack of engagement among employees not only hurts workers and teams, it's also bad for business. If staff fail to understand the company's mission and become victims of ineffective communication-or if only those based at headquarters have full access to information and resources-attrition will soon follow. When workers suffer from low morale, they won't stay in an organization. Gallup found that at the business unit level, those units with better engagement in their ranks had less turnover and absenteeism.

With this as a backdrop, 2019 is poised to become the year when technology makes significant strides toward solving the employee engagement crisis for companies that harness the power of mobile engagement platforms to improve the employee experience (EX), transforming employee engagement. Here are five top predictions of what's on the horizon to turn low engagement levels around in the New Year:

1.      Employee engagement will continue to be a top business need in 2019. From the C-suite to HR and across all employees both desk-based and distributed, engagement and EX will remain top of mind for business leaders. Deloitte recently ranked EX in the top five most important global trends for leadership teams, hammering home the ongoing importance of creating a positive, differentiated experience for staff members in all locations. This is because engagement is good for employees but also for business. The Workplace Resource Foundation has determined that when people have high levels of engagement, they're nearly 40 percent more likely to achieve higher-than-average productivity levels. Disengaged employees were also found, understandably, to have negative feelings about their work, including dissatisfaction and disconnection. You can't be productive as a company if you have a constantly revolving door of employees, and continually must train new people to get them up to speed.

Productivity can also be damaged when a company's culture creates social divides between management and staff. Managers need a way to effectively address cultural issues that can lead to disengagement, yet traditional methods of gathering staff opinions such as paper-based surveys and polls produce limited results because they fail to provide a visual of performance and experience over time. Frustrated with these limitations, a growing number of organizations will turn to mobile engagement platforms in the coming year, to allow behavioral insights across two-way digital engagement and help reveal workforce engagement across functions and regions.

2.      The number of non-desk employees (NDEs) will continue to grow. The latest 2018 figures from Emergence Capital show that 80 percent of the workforce is now "deskless," comprising 2.7 billion people. These NDEs have increased need for mobile communication and engagement tools for a number of reasons, including:

  • 83 percent of NDEs lack a corporate email address
  • 84 percent receive too little communication to do their jobs well
  • 45 percent have no intranet access at work

As the number of NDEs continues to balloon across many industries in the coming year, companies will increasingly move beyond considering only the communication needs of their in-house staff, and will turn to mobile platforms and technologies to facilitate effective communication throughout the company's entire network. This year, you'll see more emphasis on using mobile engagement platforms to help solve internal communication challenges across far-flung workforces.

3.      A vicious cycle will turn virtuous. The current malaise in employee engagement can be traced back to a series of events that follow one another like dominoes falling. Companies fail to give employees the information and connective experiences they need to feel linked to the organization's mission, to management, and to their peers. People can thus feel undervalued and out of the loop, particularly if they work remotely. As a result of this cultural failure, EX plummets, which in turn hurts the company's brand and the customer experience (CX). Ultimately, at the end of this vicious cycle comes dampened brand reputation, diminished employee/customer loyalty, and lower profitability.

In 2019, this vicious cycle will turn virtuous as more employers take advantage of today's mobile engagement platforms to reverse these trends, resulting in positive EX leading to positive CX, which in turn leads to positive brand reputation, loyalty, and profitability. The latest employee engagement technology creates a seamless path for HR, management, and internal communications to ensure that every staff member, no matter where they are based, can interact, share resources, stay up to date, and engage with their company and colleagues in a meaningful way.

4.      Analytics will become a key tool to unlock engagement. It isn't enough to have strong engagement levels today; it's equally important to be able to effectively measure engagement over time. In 2019, analytics will take center stage, helping to pinpoint areas that need revision and processes that need improvement. Mobile engagement platforms will address this need by allowing employers to easily capture employee feedback and gauge fluctuation in retention and satisfaction levels through gamified surveys and polls. Mobile measurement tools can help employers demystify the gathered data, which they can then put to use in modifying EX as needed to increase engagement, productivity, and performance over time.

5.      Sticky mobile platform solutions ensure long-term success. The problem with past approaches toward boosting engagement was that the solutions were neither simple to use nor easily customized, so they didn't gain traction for long-term adoption. Engagement will be transformed in 2019 through mobile technology that solves these difficulties. Mobile can help to build an emotional, two-way communication forum between employees and managers, facilitating delivery of feedback from staff to management rather than only top down. When workers know that their insights and opinions matter, and that their ideas can gain visibility and traction across the organization including with senior leadership, they'll feel much more inspired to stay with the organization for the long haul, reducing churn and helping to retain top talent.

The future is now, since companies can no longer afford the expensive waste of talent that disengagement creates. At a basic level, organizations must think beyond "people organization" when figuring out how to decrease turnover and boost productivity-to achieve this, they must hone in on creating positive EX across the organization in order to improve engagement. Looking to 2019, the global marketplace has become too competitive to rely on incomplete solutions and guesswork when it comes to data and metrics that inform corporate engagement strategies. Mobile solutions like StaffConnect will lead the way in helping companies reach their entire distributed workforce and provide meaningful touchpoints in EX, creating the type of engagement that leads to the best outcomes-for individuals and organizations alike.

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About the Author

 

Geraldine Osman is a strategic marketing leader, with a strong focus on creating performance driven cultures, building outstanding marketing teams and driving early traction and rapid growth. She has held global leadership positions in both the UK and US and has been responsible for the successful and significant global expansion of both public and startup technology brands.  She is currently the CMO of StaffConnect, a leading provider of mobile employee engagement solutions. Her global vision has successfully expanded the business into all major geographies in the world, opened up new markets and driven increasing market dominance in healthcare, retail and manufacturing sectors. She has also held global marketing leadership positions at Nexsan Technologies (owned by Imation), Connected Data (acquired by Nexsan/Imation), Barracuda Networks (CUDA NYSE), IRIS Software Group, AMCC Global Storage and Networking, and ADAPTEC.

Published Friday, January 11, 2019 7:37 AM by David Marshall
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