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In a new era of remote and hybrid working models, maintaining consistent employee engagement is more necessary than ever. As more and more employees work remotely, companies have to go the extra mile to maintain a strong and vibrant company culture and ensure that their workforce is engaged. 

One solution is to implement a continuous engagement model, designed for the purpose of providing and sustaining a workplace dynamic that stimulates feelings of motivation, dedication, interest, and creativity within your workforce. 

The goal of this model is to keep employees continuously engaged and enthusiastic about the company and what they do. When a workforce is engaged, it helps to boost the employer brand, which both attracts new talent and keeps employee retention rates high. 

Furthermore, an engaged workforce boosts productivity and sets the foundation for an operation that maximizes capacity and performance. In short, a continuous engagement model can give your organization a competitive advantage. 

The Impact of Generational Differences on Employee Tenures

A recent employee tenure survey conducted by the  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has shed some light on the median length of time employees spend in their jobs. Perhaps unsurprisingly, older employees have spent the longest amount of time in their current positions, at a median of nearly 10 years for employees aged 55-64. This is more than three times higher than the median tenure for workers aged 25-34, who report having only been in their current position for 2.8 years

Why do we see such a drastic difference between age groups? Probably a lot of reasons, the first being that those so close to retirement are less likely to make big changes in the final stretch. But older generations have also grown up with different working cultures, during times when it was more commonplace for an employee to have a life-long career within one company. 

This expectation has certainty shifted over recent decades, as millennials and younger generations are more prone to hopping from job to job. In part due to these more transient tendencies, millennial employees have been accused of being lazy, entitled, and disengaged in news headlines. Millennial workers have had to assimilate into the workforce over the years while trying to combat this hostile narrative.

But is this bad reputation of millennial employees deserved? As millennials have now eclipsed all other generations as the largest workforce demographic, employers can no longer afford to simply write off the demands of millennial workers without considering the deeper reasons behind their expectations. 

The Millennial Influence on the Way We Work

Now that millennials make up the largest portion of the workforce, they now have a greater influence on the future of work culture. If millennials are in fact more disengaged at work, then employers need to be asking themselves why this is. Let’s start by breaking down the mentioned stereotypes of millennial workers and address the real underlying issues. 

To write off a lack of productivity simply as “laziness” fails to address the variety of factors that can negatively impact employee productivity. Employee engagement goes hand in hand with productivity levels. When it comes to engagement, employers are realizing that they need to meet employees halfway by focusing on strengthening their company culture, employee relationships, and management approach. 

Millennials are perhaps known best for being the first generation to grow up completely immersed in the digital age. This explosion of technology has given them the capability to devour unlimited amounts of information in relatively short periods of time. Millennials are used to learning new things and fast, their attention spans may be shorter, but their quest for knowledge is expansive. This context may offer some valuable insight into why millennials have often been viewed as “disengaged”. 

According to a 2018 Udemy survey entitled “Millenials at Work”, 42% of millennials polled reported that learning and development (L&D) is the most important benefit after salary. The fact is, millennials don’t want to work for a company that offers them no potential to grow; they seek opportunities to learn and grow not just as employees but as human beings.

What may come off as “entitlement” can possibly be attributed to the fact that millennials have grown up in households where they have witnessed first hand the impact of high levels of employee burnout on older generations. Millennial workers value their time and wellbeing, and don’t want to dedicate decades of their life to a company that they feel doesn’t.

The Impact of COVID on Employee Engagement 

Millennials may be the largest demographic in the workforce, but employees of all generations can struggle with engagement. The sudden impact of the COVID pandemic on the way we work has, in some ways, only accelerated our approach closer to millennial ideals such as greater flexibility regarding where and when we work.

As more and more employees have had to transition to working remotely over the years, employee wellbeing and engagement have become a vital focus for many employers. The physical, mental, and emotional stress of the pandemic suddenly made the correlation between wellbeing, engagement, and productivity painfully obvious. 

In fact, according to research by Quantum Workplace, during the pandemic in 2020 employee engagement saw an 11% increase compared to the same period in 2019. In addition, employees reported feeling that their company culture better supported their health and wellbeing and provided more flexibility and greater work-life balance as opposed to the previous year. 

As the pandemic restrictions have wound down in most places in recent months, it’s clear that employees have no intention of accepting a rollback to the way things were. In fact, many companies have struggled to retain employees and find adequate talent since the pandemic hit. More and more employees are willing to leave their positions if they feel that employers cannot offer them flexibility, good work-life balance, and an engaging culture. 

So how can employers keep up the momentum and continue to keep employees engaged for the long-term?

Tips and Tools for Driving Continuous Engagement 

By taking strides to implement a continuous engagement model and a healthier work environment, employers help to improve overall employee satisfaction and productivity of the entire workforce. Luckily, there are many software tools available for companies to build a company culture based on continuous engagement.

Foster a Culture of Continuous Learning

Strengthening and expanding L&D programs can help empower employees in all aspects of their lives. In the Millennials at Work survey, 73% of employees expect that they’ll need to pursue additional education or training to advance their careers. 

According to research by the World Economic Forum, the half-life of most skills is about 5 years, meaning that after 5 years, that skill has lost 50% of its initial value. By 2021, the number is estimated to be closer to 4 years. The half-life of technical skills is even lower. 

By offering chances to further education internally, employees can continue to sharpen their skills and maintain their value, while employers can increase their chances of retaining employees. 

Useful Tools:
Looop is an online learning platform (LMS) that makes it easy to create and publish learning resources for your workplace or organization. 

Another useful LMS tool is Knolyx,  a cloud-based training system which allows companies to create and manage online and offline training courses for their employees, partners, and customers.

Offer Flexible Work Environments

Millennials have rebelled against the status quo and insist on greater flexibility when it comes to when and where they work. According to Millenials at Work, 44% of polled say a flexible schedule is preferred, and 30% want to work remotely full time. Since millennials are still a younger concentration of the workforce, we can expect this demand to persist for the foreseeable future. 

Useful Tools:
Insightful is an excellent tool for increasing productivity and engagement by increasing the visibility of remote workers. This tool allows employers to comfortably manage both in-office and remote employees while allowing them the flexibility they demand.

Employee time tracking software and tools can provide similar benefits, but  Insightful isn’t just a time management system for employees. Insightful offers a variety of features which can help support most engagement initiatives by providing valuable insight into your workforce. 

Increase Internal Mobility

Employees are looking for jobs that offer clear career trajectories with development plans for future roles. According to Udemy, 67% of millennial workers think there’s a gap between what they’re capable of and what employers believe they’re qualified to do - that’s a lot of underutilized potential.

By offering a transparent internal job portal, employees can explore future roles based on their current skills. A strong L&D program and cross-department training programs can help employees fill the gaps in their skills needed for future advancement. 

Useful Tools:
PeopleFluent Talent Mobility is changing the way organizations cultivate and strengthen internal talent. It provides a talent development and analytics platform that nurtures career growth, optimizes training delivery, and helps you build a high-performing workforce.

Alternatively, Gloat is a Workforce Agility and Talent Marketplace platform which helps enterprises democratize career development, unlock skills, and future-proof their workforce.

Garner Employee Feedback

Seeking employee feedback demonstrates that you care about what your employees think and feel. Not only is this good for morale, but it is an easy way to gather valuable insight into your employees’ engagement level.  Surveys don’t require a lot of time and resources and are an easy way to give your employees a voice.

Useful Tools:
15Five Continuous Performance Management software is a complete performance management platform that creates effective managers, highly engaged employees, and top-performing organizations. The idea behind the platform is simple - employees take 15 minutes to answer a survey from their managers, and managers need five minutes to review. 

Or, consider Culture Amp. Culture Amp is an Employee Experience Platform that empowers your teams and fuel positive change with employee engagement, performance, and development tools – all in one intuitive platform.

Strengthen Overall Communication

Continuous engagement requires consistent communication. According to an Expert Market survey, 97% of workers believe communication impacts their everyday tasks. Good communication tools are essential to helping you mitigate conflict, maintain engagement, fuel innovation, and boost productivity.

Useful Tools:
Connecteam is an all-in-one employee app for deskless Teams. It allows you to add features to your employee app, create content, run and export reports, modify admin access, and supervise all employees from a single place. 

Alternatively, Jostle is a cloud-based intranet software that connects remote workers with the rest of their organization, whether they're working from home, at a coffee shop, or out in the field. Jostle was specifically designed to help businesses build a positive company culture and boost employee engagement.

Implement Employee Recognition Programs

Employee recognition programs are important to show employees that their work is valued and vital to the success of the company. Recognition programs help employees feel that their work has purpose, which increases both employee engagement and productivity. According to a survey by Achievers, 55% of respondents reported that they were looking for a new job due to a lack of recognition at their current job. With this in mind, a recognition program could make all the difference in retaining valuable employees. 

Useful Tools:
Awardco is designed to help businesses achieve better employee engagement through rewarding recognition.Awardco is built for optimization, customization, automation and all the other great -ations you need for a solid employee rewards and recognition program.

Empuls is an employee engagement platform that empowers HR, people leaders, and managers to build highly engaged and productive teams. Empuls makes it easy to reward and recognize your employees to improve retention and productivity at your organization.

Performance Monitoring 

According to an SHRM study, roughly 95% of managers aren't satisfied with how their company handles performance reviews. In order to drive continuous engagement among your employees, ditch the one-time annual review and switch to a model of continuous feedback and regularly align on goals to boost development and performance. Doing so will give your organization a clearer and deeper understanding of how employees are performing and increases both engagement and recognition of employee performance.

Useful Tools:
Insightful has a variety of features which can help boost employee engagement. While also a useful time keeping app for employees, Insightful is so much more than simple timesheet tracking software. Insightful empowers employers and employees to understand what enables them to do great work - whether in the office, remote, or hybrid. 

Insightful helps boost performance by improving workflows and allowing teams to create more efficient processes and foster productivity. Insightful gives employees the opportunity to work in a more informed way and equip them with actionable work data insights. By tracking employee attendance, both employees and employers are able to better maximize performance through more informed scheduling. 

Better Management

Management is largely responsible for boosting employee engagement and sustaining it, so good and attentive managers are critical to a continuous engagement approach. Managers should be in regular contact with employees and facilitating their mobility, learning and development, and recognition within the workplace. Poor management can have a devastating effect on employee productivity, which is directly linked to engagement levels. It is also essential to ensure employee retention rates, 57% of surveyed employees report having left one or more companies due to poor management practices.

Useful Tools:
More than just an employee attendance monitoring system, Insightful's employee productivity tracker helps drive bottom-up improvement through coaching and investment into people, and provides powerful visualizations that allow leaders to make more informed management decisions. 

Insightful also helps managers bridge the gap between teams that may be split by hybrid environments by providing real time insight into remote employee’s workloads and habits, so leaders know how to more effectively coach and lead their teams.

Wellness Program

Employee wellness programs are an important asset of continuous engagement models. If employees do not physically or mentally feel well, then these feelings will translate to their attitude about their work. This has become increasingly important in recent years as the stress of the pandemic has taken its toll on our mental health. By improving the wellbeing of employees, companies improve the wellbeing of the entire organization.

Useful Tools:
Wellable empowers organizations of all sizes, industries, and geographies to build healthy, productive workforces that want to show up every day. Similarly, Headspace for Work is a digital mental health program your team can use anywhere, scientifically proven to cut stress, reduce burnout, and increase positivity.

Wellness apps like Wellable and Headspace can be paired with apps like Insightful. Insightful’s data insights allow managers to monitor employee workloads and can help managers detect signs of burnout before it progresses. 

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