19 OCT, 2015

Five Positive Trends that are Helping Employee Engagement in Today’s Workplace

Every day we see another headline about how employee engagement is down another percentage point or three over last year. Managers are failing at setting expectations; millennials have no loyalty; and even great companies like Amazon have issues with the treatment of some employees.

Either way, it’s high time we look at the positive! In this era of millennial takeovers, job-hopping, and the ill-conceived open office layout, here are five positive changes in the workplace that are helping to contribute to better employee engagement:

Workplaces are becoming more like home: Formal dress codes are fading quickly and it’s becoming increasingly rare to see offices filled with suits and heels over jeans and sneakers. Companies are providing drinks and snacks and some encourage employees to take naps, play games, or work out to relieve stress. And why not since most of us spend the better portion of our time at work?

Policies are becoming more flexible: More companies are offering unlimited PTO, flex time, and work from home options when possible to offer better work-life balance. Smart organizations have learned to treat employees like adults and allow them to work these things out amongst themselves rather than managing to the lowest common denominator through rigid lists of rules.

Corporate speak has become a joke: Sadly, corporate speak does still exist, especially if you look down from the “thirty thousand foot view.” (*gags*) However, it is slowly falling out of favor as even companies themselves are speaking in a more human, “plain English” style to their customers. As people want to read less and less and words are being replaced with images and “infographics,” brevity has become the soul of wit once again, even in the board room. (That’s a Shakespeare reference, for all you non-readers!) That means employees can speak like humans, spend less time trying to use “big” words, and actually say what they mean.

Outdated practices are being questioned: Annual performance reviews have come under major fire lately for their rigidity, bias, and general lack of helpfulness on a day-to-day basis. Traditional recruiting and hiring methods are evolving as profiles replace resumes. Now some are wondering if college degrees should still be a requirement for many positions. (Sadly, those of us who have already gone that route cannot get refunds on our student loans.) Although there is still a LOT of work to be done, companies are at least starting to have the diversity conversation. We’ve certainly come a long way from the Mad Men era, except when it comes to cocktails in meetings. We should definitely re-think that.

Employees rule: Just look at all the millions of articles out there about how organizations can increase employee engagement. More and more jobs require judgment, creativity, and problem solving, which all require a mental and even emotional commitment from the people doing them. It’s no longer “You’re lucky to have a job here, so sit down and get it done!” Now it’s, “We’re lucky to have you and your unique talents; how can we create the best environment possible for you?” That’s pretty awesome if you ask me.


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