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What does purpose, management, empathy, content, inclusion and burnout have in common? As it happens, they are what most conversations, coverage and case studies related to employee engagement and experience are focused on these days. We spent some time on these six topics to observe what’s changing and why, what it means for the future and how we can make the most of it in the present. Our findings were summarized in Red Havas’ newest white paper, “The (Six) Biggest Waves in Employee Engagement — and How to Ride Them.”
Here are the highlights:
1. Be purposeful about your purpose.
We’ve been talking about purpose for a long time — and so has everybody else. As a result, performance is no longer enough for the masses, purpose must be purposeful — anchored in one’s core business, values and actions. Companies that define a values-based purpose and pursue strategies aligned with that purpose can gain greater innovation, better collaboration, more engaged employees, more loyal customers and better financial performance.
2. Mind the middle.
Middle managers are the definition of who can make it or break it when it comes to employee engagement. They have been in focus as a key driver of employee turnover in recent years. However, the conversation has recently shifted to the critical role they play as custodians of a company’s DNA, whose informal networks and proximity to employees are not only invaluable sources of insight but provide unparalleled influence when mobilized in the right way.
3. Enable empathy through curiosity.
It is times like these when dissatisfied, disengaged or departing employees continue to experience uncertainty and adversity worldwide that empathetic leadership matters the most, because of its power to give us a sense of normalcy, safety and comfort when our world is in turmoil. To make the practice of empathy more tangible and actionable, leaders should simply exercise their curiosity muscle regularly, along with authenticity, listening and compassion.
4. Activate your employees as creators.
At a time when many organizations are hiring influencers and brand ambassadors, it’s important to remember that the most passionate and effective advocates of any brand are actually the people working for them. Using employees as content creators has the power to humanize the brand via personal stories, experiences and voice externally, while organically engaging, recognizing and retaining existing employees internally — at no extra cost.
5. Design for inclusion and access.
Inclusive language — one of the topics of our most recent white paper on Content That Cuts Through — and accessible design acknowledge the full range of human diversity. While gender-neutral terms are top of mind these days, non-biased content, diverse visuals, and accessible channels and formats also need to be considered to ensure that groups aren’t feeling left out because of content that is unfamiliar, unavailable or inapplicable to them.
6. Address the most burning question.
Burnout continues to be a ‘hot’ topic, its positioning slowly shifting from an individual to an organizational issue — after all, workplace-related matters are its top drivers. While burnout and associated stress, anxiety and depression all remain high, more and more organizations prioritize employee mental health, integrate well-being into their operations, address the structural causes of workplace stress and strive to de-stigmatize related conversations.