Trends and Strategies for Inspiring Employees in 2024 - American Society of Employers - Heather Nezich

Trends and Strategies for Inspiring Employees in 2024

A recent report from People Element reveals that employee engagement levels have returned to pre-pandemic levels. The 2024 Employee Engagement Report details the drivers of employee engagement and shares insights on how to inspire employees and improve performance.

To inform the Annual Report, feedback was gathered from tens of thousands of employees across various industries, including more than 400 organizations. Findings are contextualized against economic, societal, and workforce trends to reveal shifts in employee engagement from prior years.

In 2023, engagement levels dropped back to pre-pandemic levels with 56% of employees engaged and 44% disengaged or what some may consider "quiet quitting". When compared with 2020 peak engagement levels at 61%, employees are feeling significantly less engaged and less satisfied with their organizations year over year. Since 2020, the percentage of actively disengaged employees has increased by two percentage points.

Key workplace trends predicted to impact engagement in 2024:

  1. Hybrid workplaces are here to stay. Data shows that 52% of employees are currently operating in a hybrid environment, with most required to be at the office 2-3 days a week. Eight out of ten Fortune 500 CHROs say they do not have plans for decreasing work flexibility in the next 12 months.
  2. Increasing employee stress levels with nearly 70% of people experiencing burnout, and the highest levels among Gen Z and Millennials.
  3. Economic uncertainty remains a concern as the United Nations predicts a drop in the U.S. GDP and a decrease in consumer spending in 2024.
  4. "AI anxiety" is a growing concern as 71% of employees say they are concerned about AI, and nearly half (48%) are more concerned today than they were a year ago.

The report details the three categories most correlated with employee engagement in 2023: feeling heard and valued, opportunities for growth, and trust and confidence in leadership.

Feeling Heard and Valued
Nearly one-third of employees say they don’t feel valued at work. This has emerged as the number one driver of employee engagement compared to previous years. The report offers these tips for helping employees to feel valued:

  1. Cultivate and enhance managers' empathy and other interpersonal skills through coaching.
  2. Prioritize well-being initiatives and ensure diligent implementation.
  3. Foster trust and confidence by actively seeking and acting upon feedback, demonstrating appreciation for their insights.
  4. Facilitate regular check-ins between employees and managers for prompt feedback and timely issue resolution.
  5. Purposefully create opportunities for intergenerational connections.
  6. Embrace reverse mentoring, where younger generations mentor older ones, fostering mutual understanding and growth within the organization.alued:

Opportunities for Growth
Without clear opportunities for growth, employees can feel unmotivated, uninspired, and unwilling to perform at their best, leading to disengagement, low productivity, and turnover. Help employees identify the skills they need and design a customized development plan with each employee's input:

  1. Clearly communicate career paths and succession plans, ensuring transparency.
  2. Collaborate directly with employees to devise strategies for upskilling the workforce.
  3. Facilitate individual discussions between employees and managers to gain deeper insight into employee interests and developmental needs.
  4. Address skill gaps through various methods including online training, webinars, coaching, mentorship, cross-training, and stretch assignments.
  5. Explore the option of promoting employees to higher levels within their current roles as a means of fostering growth.
  6. Regularly acknowledge and appreciate employees for their exemplary performance.
  7. Promote and celebrate longevity within the organization, serving as a model for enduring employment relationships and inspiring new hires during their onboarding process.

Trust and Confidence in Leadership
When leader communications fail to address employee concerns, it negatively impacts employees feeling valued. ‘Toxic work culture’ has since become one of the highest-searched terms online, and many employees are citing it as their top reason for quitting. There are many ways to turn it around and focus on a healthy work environment that will retain employees and attract new ones:

  1. Implement a listening strategy that actively involves the voice of the employee (VoE), encouraging leaders to inquire, listen attentively, and comprehend employee perspectives.
  2. Explore the use of small, immersive group sessions with leadership to facilitate meaningful connections between employees and their leaders.
  3. Utilize various communication channels such as town hall meetings, video presentations, team chats, recorded messages, and email to accommodate different communication preferences.
  4. Articulate a compelling vision for the future and help employees relate to it by consistently communicating the vision in an inspiring manner.
  5. Enhance employee confidence by aligning your business's purpose with broader aspirations beyond financial goals, integrating the vision and values into daily operations.
  6. Prioritize attitudes that foster deeper trust and stronger relationships with employees to nurture a more positive workplace dynamic.

To access the 2024 Engagement Trends Annual Report, please visit:



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