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5 Employee Engagement Trends Everyone Will Be Talking About In 2019


By Jonathan McClellan | January 9, 2019 | Engage Employees

The start of a new year is a great time to take a look back at all of the key lessons we learned in 2018. One of our favorite ways to do this is to analyze the year’s biggest trends. Let’s dive into 2018’s biggest employee engagement trends and how they’ll continue to evolve into new ones in 2019.

Trend #1: Company Culture Is Employee-Driven

Coworkers give one another a high five.

The first of our employee engagement trends focuses on culture. A strong company culture isn’t built by HR processes, the number of PTO days or free snacks in the office. How employees interact and react to one another, align on shared values and recognize one another’s contributions is what builds trust, respect and confidence. This, in turn, contributes to company culture.

Trend #2: Real-time Recognition Is the Norm

A few years ago, we relied on giving recognition at an employee’s work anniversary, at the end of a quarter or to celebrate the year’s end. But today more frequent recognition is expected, and organizations do not have months to think about how they should recognize an employee. Real-time recognition is here, and it’s ideal for managers to provide in-the-moment feedback, validation and celebrations on the spot.

Trend #3: Employees Value Choice

Hallmark Business Connections designed digital and greeting card awards for employee recognition.

Recognition is powerful because it is as much a celebration of the individual as it is a validation of what is accomplished. Rewards and incentives that employees can personally identify with strengthen the emotional engagement aspect of recognition far more than rewards that have been chosen for them. 2018 taught us that rewarding employees with gift cards is the best way to put the power of choice to work. We’ll continue to see this trend throughout 2019.

Trend #4: Measuring an Employee Recognition Program Is Critical

Managers analyzing data.

Recognition programs are an excellent source of information, insights and actionable next steps. How actively people engage in the program will help you identify the “doers” and “influencers,” how aligned employees are with shared goals and who the future leaders of the organization might be.

Trend #5: Invest in Relationships, Not Technology

Manager and employee sitting at a table together with a laptop and in discussion.

The last our employee engagement trends may be one that surprises you. It’s not guaranteed that a fancy (and usually pricey) technology platform will improve your recognition program. But what you can rely on is when you invest in relationships, your employee engagement will advance. 2018 taught us that investing in practical programs that are easy to implement and simple to use will gain earlier adoption and heavier utilization.

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