New report shows engagement in a hybrid workplace relies on three key driver categories

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May 2022

 McLean & Company, has published its 2022 Employee Engagement Trends Report on how engagement has evolved in the new and ever-changing hybrid work reality. McLean & Company’s report draws from data collected from 2019 to 2021, three prime years for studying employee engagement and satisfaction before, during, and into the aftermath of a global pandemic.

To keep employees engaged and both attract and retain talent, HR leaders must be prepared to acknowledge the workforce’s shifting priorities and change the way they think about employee engagement, McLean & Company shares. The firm’s new Employee Engagement Trends Report highlights three key engagement driver categories that emerged from the three years of data collected. McLean & Company’s research findings emphasize what organizations must consider when evaluating and attempting to improve employee engagement over the coming months:

  • Organizational Drivers – Areas that influence an employee’s satisfaction and commitment to their organization, such as Culture, Customer Focus, Company Potential, Department Relationships, and Senior Management Relationships. Key takeaways from the data collected by McLean & Company underscore that remote and hybrid work did not impact views on culture, although onsite employees were 9.0% more likely to agree that their company’s departments work well together to get things done. While satisfaction with senior management relationships increased by almost 8% from 2019 to 2021, this improvement was mainly seen in onsite workers. Employees in a remote or hybrid working environment reported relatively little change in their perceptions of senior management relationships. Though organizations of all sizes saw an increase in senior manager relationship scores, large organizations saw the biggest jump between 2019 to 2021.
  • Job Drivers – Areas that influence an employee’s happiness and commitment with their day-to-day role, including Employee Empowerment, Learning and Development, Rewards and Recognition, Co-Worker Relationships, and Manager Relationships. Key takeaways emphasize that job driver scores increased in 2020 and plateaued in 2021, with increases of 4.4% in Employee Empowerment, 6.0% in Learning and Development, 7.0% in Rewards and Recognition, 2.2% in Co-Worker Relationships, and 6.6% in Manager Relationships from 2019 to 2021. Overall, the research found that employees are much less satisfied with Learning and Development and Rewards and Recognition compared to other job drivers. The impact of work style on relationships, such as remote or hybrid versus onsite, cannot be overlooked as it affects other job drivers, including Empowerment and Learning and Development. Workers hired before the shift to remote work in 2020 typically report a stronger sense of feeling as though they have a good friend within the organization compared to those hired after work-from-home began in early 2020. This suggests newly hired remote and hybrid employees may be struggling to build relationships with their co-workers in a virtual environment.
  • Retention Drivers – Areas that influence an employee’s desire and likelihood to stay at an organization, like Compensation, Benefits, Work-Life Balance, and Working Environment. Key takeaways highlight that changing work conditions brought on by the pandemic are no longer unique. Workers’ perceptions and expectations of flexible work arrangements and benefits have broadened alongside organizations offering expanded benefits packages throughout the pandemic. This has led to increased expectations for employers to provide more comprehensive benefits, including previously unseen perks such as summer Friday afternoons off or holiday shutdowns. The research also indicated that work-life balance is becoming a challenge in the new world of work, with 62% of organizations reporting increased working hours, though 80% also reported increased work flexibility. Despite improvements in 2020, retention scores returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2021, with Working Environment ranking as the highest retention driver, followed by Work-Life Balance, Benefits, and Compensation.

To recognize, assess, and improve upon employee engagement, HR leaders can take advantage of the full analysis of engagement and key driver trends over the last three years in the 2022 Employee Engagement Trends Report.

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