Historically, office parties, fancy dinners, and training events at fun locations have been the go-to option for enterprises to tackle problems of employee dissatisfaction and attrition. In later years, companies started adding lavish cafeterias, pool tables, and sleeping pods as additional incentives. But, over a period of time, enterprises have got a clear understanding that such employee engagement initiatives are only cosmetic steps that don’t address the real problem.
With workforce demographics today boasting of employees from different backgrounds, age groups, and experience, it is inevitable to see different kinds of employee expectations, demands, and beliefs. The current global employee index is largely run by millennials, who are the most purpose-led about their career development. And a large part of this mix is women employees who are starting to shatter the glass ceilings of corporate success.
It’s no wonder, that with such drastic changes in work demographics and environment, traditional employee engagement rules no longer work.
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Purpose-Led Employee Engagement
Before we jump into the importance of engaging employees, let’s look at a few hard-hitting truths-
- A report by Udemy states that, while picking jobs, 42% of employees consider learning and development as the most important requirement.
- Bridge reports that 67% of millennials will end up quitting their work if their job lacks growth opportunities and programs for leadership development.
- The report also stated that 86% of millennials would stay at their current jobs if they were offered career training and development opportunities.
- A report by Deloitte quoted that millennials who find their jobs are backed by with purpose and meaning would be more driven to give their best at work, in turn benefitting the company as a whole.
A very interesting study by KPMG (Women’s Study Report) stated that 64% of women employees have aspirations to be part of senior management in a company and around 56% of women hope to eventually be on the board of a company or organization. An even bigger eye-opener is that in the United States, 40% of working mothers are the primary or sole earners. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development states in their report that ensuring gender parity in labor-force participation could help increase the global GDP by 12% over the coming 20 years in developed countries, adding more than $12 trillion to the global industries.
It isn’t difficult to acknowledge that effective support and encouragement play vital roles in helping women employees forge their path towards the leadership track. The same report states that women employees who were encouraged and provided critical mentorship are 74% more likely to become senior leaders of a company and 66% more aspired to be on a board of a company. But while these statistics are very encouraging, companies need to address the fact that women in the workplace face unique challenges while struggling in their careers. They get less access to opportunities and people to accelerate their careers.
New age employees come with their own challenges and motivations for work. With instant access to social media channels and easy networking options, old HR ways of office parties and team outings don’t fit the bill anymore.
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What Do Employees Want?
The answer to this question lies in understanding that companies can no longer look at employee engagement as a cosmetic activity. Millennials and women employees are now demanding ‘purpose-led’ engagement proposals that will not only help them grow in their careers but also add value to their personal growth as well. They want access to tools that are designed to help employees tread and surpass the challenging waters of the corporate workplace.
New age employees don’t want cosmetic affirmations. Instead, they crave for real, quantifiable, and qualitative experiences. They want every action and process they undertake to have a purpose that benefits their personal or professional growth. For companies looking to counter their attrition woes, earning their employees’ loyalty has become the biggest challenge. Millennials are ready to impart their time and effort only to those who are invested in their growth story, companies that are ready to take initiatives that help their employees succeed.
Enterprises that are smart would actually appreciate the advantage behind this reasoning as it helps them nurture a purpose-led workforce that will only help the business prosper. While parties, and events and team outings may continue to offer fun distraction, what their employees really need to improve engagement is effective mentorship.
Employees also want access to tools and programs that can help them navigate their shortfalls and overcome obstacles that stand between them and their purpose. Organizations need to develop an inclusive and supportive workplace culture, that promotes leadership development at every level or they will find their employee engagement initiatives failing pretty quickly.