4 Factors Driving Employee Engagement in 2021

Walk into a business where employees and management rarely communicate or express pleasure in teamwork, and you will find a company that might soon face substantial trouble. Without healthy engagement among coworkers and management, employers might lose valuable employees because it is a telltale sign that employees' needs are not being met and perhaps are not even considered.

Employers are beginning to understand that staff dynamics have changed over the past decade and will continue to do so as baby boomers retire in droves and more millennials and generation Z members enter the workforce. Add in everything employers have had to do to motivate coronavirus-demoralized employees in 2020. Naturally, employers everywhere want to find new ways to enhance employee engagement for healthy operations, productivity, and profits.

Why Is Employee Engagement Important?

Employee engagement offers employers insights into the health of their corporate culture. It lets them know if their employees are enthusiastic about their work and interpersonal relationships with coworkers, which is crucial to ensuring employee happiness and longevity with an organization. Most of all, it indicates that the employee wants a future with the company, where they are willing to improve their knowledge and skills to help themselves and the company advance.

Any engaged employee shows up on time each day with a smile and greeting, happy to offer ideas and efforts to improve everyday tasks, and is also excited to work toward achieving the business's overriding goals.

What Has Led to Improvements in Engagement?

Over the past several years, coinciding with millennials' entry into the workforce, employers have increasingly noted that employees want to feel more involved and connected to what they do in their personal and work lives. Today's employees want to invest themselves in their work thoroughly, and healthy pay alone isn't enough. They want to find and introduce meaning into their work, and they also want to feel like they are an integral part of the organization.

Employers who understand the value of committed employees in the 21st century know that it is worth meeting employees where they are. Further, this sense of commitment and responsibility provides a bounty of opportunity for organizations who work to understand their employees' needs and how they can drive employee engagement.

Explore 4 Factors Driving Employee Engagement

factors driving employee engagement

In 2019, Gallup learned and reported that there was a significant increase in engaged workers in the U.S. It turns out that the number of enthusiastic and committed employees reached 35%, which is a new high since the analytics and advisory organization started its Gallup engagement metric in 2000. 

Many employers want to join and boost those percentages even more and search for strategies for increasing employee engagement. Here are four factors driving employee engagement heading into 2021 and beyond.

1. A Top-Down Approach to Enhancing Company Culture to Improve Engagement

Good leadership can encourage employees to adopt or enhance a mindset focused on nurturing and engaging environment. Here are a few approaches businesses can take:

  • Create and promote a clear and well-defined brand and mission that employees understand and value, allowing them to strive for unity and purpose within the organization.
  • Executives, managers, and supervisors find ways to connect business issues to engagement possibilities.
  • Engagement becomes much more than a vague concept or platitude—it becomes an organic daily behavior and a goal in and of itself.
  • Top leaders, such as executives, initiate engagement with employees to show that employee engagement is more than an abstract philosophy. They show employees that they pay more than lip service to this aspect of the corporate culture.
  • Leaders monitor engagement across the board and search for areas where they need to help everyone succeed.

2. Increased Recognition and Action-Oriented Engagement

As noted earlier, the trend toward an engaged work environment has rested on the horizon for the past few years, so it was inevitable that it would come to the forefront sooner or later. As 2021 opens, employees need more positive engagement than ever before. Many people are returning from remote operations during lockdowns, and others might still work from home. Employers need to focus on keeping up morale and positive engagement to maintain organizational focus and a sense of unity during difficult times. Letting employees know that they are valued, even while not sitting at an in-house desk, can change their mood and approach to their work each day, ultimately improving engagement.

3. Managers and Supervisors Serve as Coaches and Mentors to Employees

While titles like "manager" and "supervisor" aren't heading for the waste bin anytime soon, there is no harm in letting the positions themselves evolve to encourage a more team-friendly dynamic. A good leader supports and cheers on his or her employees. Maybe it is time to let go of these positions' rigid definitions to foster a sense of vertical teamwork. Employees still recognize them as the people to whom they report, and further that they report to executives. However, employees and management try to find new pathways to team success in this dynamic.

4. Increased Engagement Accountability for Managers and Supervisors

Managers and supervisors must also remain accountable for fostering and maintaining healthy engagement practices for everyone. The best managers helping the efforts of improved employee engagement practice the following:

  • Recognize employees for their actions, attitudes, and contributions to encourage employees to stretch to achieve new engagement success levels. Such practices serve to reinforce the company's brand, mission, and values.
  • Insist that employees rise above "getting the job done" and strive to do their best.
  • Discourage disengagement with friendly questions to understand why they are not performing as a part of the team.

C.A. Short Company Is Here to Help Your Business Improve Employee Engagement

At C.A. Short Company, we know that your people are everything to your business. We are your partner in developing and implementing strategies for increasing employee engagement.

Reach out to us to learn more about our research-based employee recognition platform that drives team engagement for 2021 and beyond.

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At C. A. Short, we are your partner for increased employee engagement resulting in increased performance outcomes to grow your bottom line. Our process and research-based platform help you engage your team in order to increase your bottom line, motivate your staff to the benefit of the entire organization, and reward your people for the positive changes they make. To request a Complimentary Consultation, please click here. 

Topics: Employee Engagement

R Scott Russell, CRP, CEP

About the Author
R Scott Russell, CRP, CEP

R Scott Russell is a video host, public speaker, and a sought-after thought leader in the world of employee engagement and recognition. At C.A. Short Company, he is responsible for producing engaging content, helping clients maximize the effectiveness of their programs, and providing ongoing training and education.

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