8 Global Employee Engagement Trends Every HR Manager Should Know

Leaders: don't miss out on these top trends for employee engagement in 2021 and beyond.

As you know, fads come and go but global trends make a lasting impact. We researched and gathered the Top 8 Global Trends impacting HR Managers and Employee Engagement across industries to make you more informed and knowledgeable about the HR opportunities for your company.

Globally, only 15% of employees are engaged, yet potential and productivity is being wasted by not capturing the remaining 85%. We believe that can be improved. Implement this knowledge and boost your performance in 2021.

1. Embrace the Mobile Revolution

It is no news that technology is transforming the communication landscape. 80% of the workforce is deskless, and there is a big need for leadership to more effectively reach these employees. Mobile devices are leading the digital revolution as they provide quick access and the most effective solution for direct communication. Across all industries, companies plan to increase their spending on technology by 31% to reach their deskless workforce better.

2. Invest in Employee Development

Investing in the development of your employees means helping them effectively execute their tasks and recognizing their need for personal and professional growth. This is a rapidly growing employee engagement trend that HR managers need to stay aware of. Recent studies show that most managers only spend about 7% of their time helping develop their talent. However, 58% of employees said their companies do not offer enough growth opportunities to entice them to stay long-term.

If you want to retain quality talent, focusing on providing career and personal development is crucial. In particular, a Gallup study surveying 1.2M employees across 22 organizations showed the value of facilitating development for your employees. On average, these companies increased performance and engagement, lowered turnover, and saw a 9% increase in sales and 15% increase in profits.

3. Adopt Transformational Leadership

Leadership is more than just management because it requires exemplifying company values, and encouraging and mentoring employees so they can be self-dependent. Unfortunately, many leaders fall short of the task. To counteract this, leaders should adopt transformational leadership.

Moreover, transformational leadership encourages knowledge sharing among employees and enhances team identification by having employees commit to a shared goal and share a collective identity. Research shows that team identification is a consequence of the leader’s behavior in interactions and ultimately depicts how invested an employee will be into his/her work. To learn more about how to create team identification and dedication to a unified goal, consider checking out the book 7 Principles for Transformational Leadership.

4. Treat Your Employees as Brand Ambassadors

For better or worse, your employees are your key brand ambassadors. How can you positively harness the power of this? Employees are becoming more vocal about their perception of their employer’s ethics. In fact, a Bloomberg report showed that 38% of employees have spoken up to support or criticize their employer’s actions over a controversial issue. It is crucial to internally engage your employees. Thus, update them first on any major changes before going public, stay consistent in living out the company’s values. If you transparently communicate with your employees, they can be your strongest brand ambassador. In return, they will help you externally align your intended brand message to your customers.

5. Create an Enjoyable Work Environment

The demand for more enjoyable workplaces is rising. Employees are seeking environments that feel rewarding, fun, and interesting. They are are subconsciously basing their levels of engagement, turnover, and productivity on how enjoyable it is to spend ⅓ of their life working. It is important to keep a pulse on how employees are defining “enjoyable” and what attributes they are prioritizing.

A survey assessed by Harvard Business Review revealed that employees are seeking wellness perks (after meeting their basic needs like better air quality, natural light, or personalization of their work area) in their place of employment . It is worthwhile to stay up to date with global trends on the look of the future workplace and move your organization towards these. Overall, employees who are satisfied with their work environment are 16% more productive, 18% more likely to stay, and 30% more attracted to their company.

6. Specify and Narrow Your Messaging

We live in a fast-paced environment where everything is trying to have a piece of our attention. Hence, your employees are swamped with work, so, relevant messaging is key.

This can be established in two main ways:

First, it is important to tailor messaging to smaller segmented groups of employees instead of the whole company. Indeed, more and more significance is being placed on specificity of content.

Second, content that is snackable (easily understood, short, and engaging) is leading the way, specifically with visuals and illustrations. Did you know that 90% of what we remember is based on visual content? That being so, stop writing long paragraphs and embrace the visual trend as much as possible.

7. Lead with Purpose

Employees stay with a company because they feel connected to it. Therefore, it is now more than ever, important to sincerely live out your company mission, vision, and values as it is critical in retaining quality talent. 83% of employees are seeking meaning in their day-to-day work, but 69% believe their employers could better utilize their skills and abilities.

A PWC study concluded that 79% of business leaders think purpose is central to business success, however only 34% of those leaders believe their organization’s purpose is a guidepost for decision-making of their leadership team. Certainly, there is a clear disconnect between intention and execution, and this will no longer be accepted by the employees. Overall, this is not a trend that will pass but something you must embrace to increase employee engagement. Therefore, lead with purpose so your employees easily form a deep-rooted connection to your company’s mission and vision.

8. Improve and Automate the Employee Journey

Furthermore, employees go through life cycles throughout their time in a company ranging from onboarding, role changes, trainings etc. It is vital to take the time to plot the steps and form an automated employee journey. Without a doubt, this will enable full support of the employee throughout their experience.

In some cases, leaders from large tech companies have built a whole HR system that centers around employee segments and their transitions. By placing an emphasis on improving the smoothness of these road-maps with automation plays a significant role. Consider looking at your employee journey – assess the nature of its flow and automate any repeating steps that require the managers to unnecessarily watch over.

Bonus: Start a Mental Health Program

Leading companies like Google and JP Morgan are investing in on-site therapists or mental health programs for their employees. Currently, 1 in 3 employees have considered leaving their job due to work-related stress with 54% of workers saying they brought that stress home into their personal lives.

According to a study by National Stress Awareness Day, 24% of people surveyed did not believe their well-being was supported by their employer. As more Gen Z’s enter the workforce, the threshold for accepting this gloomy fact is lower. For instance, as shown in a Mental Health Report 2019, half of Millennials and 75% of Gen Z’s have left a job due to mental health concerns. Investing in solutions for companies to provide support programs or address workload stress issues is becoming fundamental.

*Read our blog on 12 well-being initiatives you can take ASAP to improve employee well-being and stay on top of the employee engagement trends.*


Finally, companies with engaged employees experience 41% lower absenteeism, 24% lower turnover and 17% higher productivity. These facts alone show the immeasurable value of investing in your people.

Most importantly, your employees will see these drivers from their own perspective. Therefore, they may be more motivated by one trend versus another. As a result, the employer’s goal then becomes to activate as many key trends as possible to capture more value in the workforce.

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