Employee Engagement Trends in 2020

by Daniel Hannig

There are two things that are certain at the beginning of every year: the new year’s resolution to go the gym more often and a list containing various possible trends for the year ahead of us. Let’s not get stuck on the new year’s resolution, we all know that we will have failed this endeavor come Easter. The list with employee engagement trends, however, has already been put together and we are more than happy to share our predictions with you.

First off, what are trends and what makes them so special? Basically, trends are nothing more than change processes. In our case, trends are a certain amount of companies, persons or opinion leaders that show the same pattern of behaviour or development. No matter what area of work you are in, trends forecasts are highly relevant for team strategies and can offer companies that identify them at an early stage a huge advantage over their competitors. But what employee engagement trends await us in 2020? Many market-leading companies have already made their views known and we have summarized the most relevant forecasts for you here.

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1. Diversity and Inclusion

The last decade has been increasingly shaped by the topic of diversity and inclusion. Many enterprises and multinational companies have addressed this field by holding workshops or appointing Diversity Officers to educate and implement diversity policies within the company. According to a recent study by Glassdoor, this development will continue to increase, with one significant difference: More and more mid-sized companies will now follow the example of their enterprise counterparts and start investing in diversity. At the end of the day, this trend is also not surprising. In the context of a digitalized and globalized world, diversity management is becoming increasingly relevant due to heightened diversity in societies, which, in turn, leads to today’s workplaces consisting of more and more people from different ethnic or cultural backgrounds. Diversity management is therefore not just the proverbial cherry on top of the cake, but rather a crucial element that is necessary for adapting to the business world of tomorrow.

2. The Influence of Artificial Intelligence

AI (Artificial Intelligence) has already started to take shape in the field of HR and will continue to do so in 2020. This trend forecast is due to the increased use of cloud-based computing and tools, as well as from the development of ever more sophisticated algorithms and HR-oriented applications.

In particular, AI is being used to narrow down potential candidates through technologies such as chatbots and HR methods such as candidate scoring. On the one hand, this means that the labour market is pairing today’s talent with their best possible career opportunities much better than ever before, but, on the other hand, it is also causing many job profiles in HR to change in nature.

3. Culture First

“To create culture where a smack on the knuckles with a ruler is not enough” – Albert Camus

It has been rather evident for quite some time now, but especially the last couple of years have left no room for any doubt: without culture, there is no talent. What are the reasons for this employee engagement trend? For one, today’s working environment has become more demanding: longer hours and an unclear distinction between work and leisure time have led the workforce of today to ask for more in return themselves. People today are not looking for merely a job, but for an experience. Next to a fair salary, employees also want to be able to be themselves at their place of work, and this is only possible with healthy culture and good benefits. In other words, the fruit basket in the company kitchen (no matter how great the intention behind it) is not going to cut it in the long run. Here are a couple of ideas we gathered implemented by the cultural leaders of today.

4. Turning Listening Into Your Competitive Advantage

Today’s technology has made our life much easier in many ways and there are no indicators that this will be any different in 2020. The use of digital tech is on trend because it enables us to make management tasks, like listening to your employees, more efficient and scalable. Chatbots, digital employee surveys and digitized check-ins are tools that allow companies to gain insight into the minds of their employees. In this way, potential problems can be identified at an early stage and remedied by appropriate solutions. The general trend towards stronger culture is also amplifying the need for tools that allow you to pay attention to the people you work with, making an investment in it worth your while.

5. Green is the New Black

Of all the movements that have taken place in the past years, none has had as strong an impact as the climate change protests. The climate discussion is changing the way a lot of people live, eat and also work. Many companies have turned to measures that reduce carbon emissions. This does not only benefit the environment, but can also help to reduce costs, minimize risks, and create new business opportunities. Showing that you care for the environment is an important way to demonstrate your values as a company. A green employer brand can set you apart from other employers and help you to effectively attract talent. Being green is therefore another trend to look out for in 2020. Here are some measures we took as a company last year.

6. Trust is the New Control

“Trust is good, but control is better”, a quote attributed to Wladimir Lenin, has become popular nowadays with slightly different wording and a very different meaning: “Trust is the new control”. This phrase summarizes an employee engagement trend which emphasizes the value of employee self responsibility. The best way to show your employees that you trust in their abilities is to reduce control. This does not mean that you should stop reviewing your employees’ work altogether or skip essential practices such as the four-eyes principle, but that you should rather try to avoid motivation killers such as micromanagement or maybe consider giving in to your employee’s wish for (more) home office. The increase of motivation and engagement that comes with the increase of trust is one of the reasons why we predict this employee engagement trend to continue to play an increasing role in 2020.

eight graphics on computer screen

One thing can be said for sure, 2020 will present us with a lot of new challenges and employee engagement trends. Workplaces will continue to become increasingly transparent and new technologies will continue to change the way modern companies operate. The rapid changes in the field of employee engagement will require a lot of adapting, but will also bring about new opportunities for us to create or maintain a healthy culture. We can also predict that a lot of things from the previous years will remain relevant. In particular, factors such as environmental awareness, AI, work culture and diversity will have an even greater impact on our working lives, making it worth your while to take a closer look at them in 2020. Is your company already implementing measures of employee engagement or are you planning to do so in 2020? Let’s be real, if you actually read this far in our article, chances are that you, in the very least, are an employee engagement enthusiast. With Honestly, you are definitely in (and at) the right company.

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