Every month, we’re highlighting stories, trends and tips related to employee engagement and workplace culture that organizations should be keeping top-of-mind in order to engage, retain and recruit top talent.

As 2019 comes to a close, here’s a look back at some of the top employee engagement trends and takeaways from this year.

  1. Transparency drives engagement. Employees place a high value on transparency in the workplace; transparency is key to building trust, and trust is vital to creating a positive workplace culture. Where it becomes tricky, however, is figuring out just how transparent to be. It’s not about sharing every piece of information with all employees – it’s about consistently communicating with employees in an open an honest way.
  2. Change starts (and sometimes ends) with leadership. We see it all the time: a company wants to improve its culture, leaders say they are on board…yet when it comes down to it, those same leaders aren’t actually changing their behaviors in any way, so the culture doesn’t change either. In order to drive transformation, leaders must model the behaviors that they want to see. If they don’t change anything, neither will their employees.
  3. “EX” is the new “EE.” The employee experience (EX) – which includes everything from on-boarding to career milestones to everyday interactions – is a key factor in workplace culture, and culture drives engagement. While companies have long focused on designing the customer experience, they’re now applying the same design-thinking approach to the employee experience as well. Tactics like journey mapping can help you understand what matters most to employees, their pain points and how to make the biggest impact.
  4. Managers need more training. Getting to manage other people is often a reward for doing well at work. However, being fantastic at your job and being fantastic at managing people do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. And since managers can make or break the employee experience, companies need to make sure they’re providing the right manager trainings and resources in order to help them keep their employees engaged and retained.
  5. Remote employees need to be engaged, too. Keeping employees engaged can be hard. Keeping remote employees engaged is even harder. With 70% of employees worldwide telecommuting at least once a week, it’s crucial that companies put activities and processes in place to ensure that their remote workers stay in engaged. Here are some tips.
  6. Skills and career development programs are on the rise. Amazon, Subway and many other companies have launched programs aimed at helping employees enhance their job skills and career opportunities – in or outside of the company. Training your employees to possibly leave for a better job sounds counter-intuitive, but it makes sense; these companies realize they need to do more to keep their hourly workers engaged. Those who stay will be more engaged, and the programs are great from a recruiting standpoint.
  7. Diversity & inclusion efforts are more important than ever. D&I isn’t a new topic in the workplace, but it’s still very top-of-mind: 67% of job seekers say a diverse workforce is imperative when considering employment offers. However, many companies still struggle with how to address this concept in a meaningful way. The first step is making sure everyone understands what “diversity” and “inclusion” really mean, and then considering these best practices when shaping your efforts.
  8. Employees want their company to take a stand. These days, it’s not just customers who are pressuring their companies to take a stand on certain social issues – employees are, too. From gun control to climate change to sexual harassment, employees want to work for an organization whose values align with their own, and one that will play an active role in creating positive change. And remember, your employees can be your biggest ambassadors – or your most vocal detractors.

Thanks for following along this year! Come back in 2020 for more workplace trends and tips.