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3 ways creating a more human workforce can boost employee engagement

Cornerstone Editors

The “Great Resignation,” “Turnover Tsunami” or the “Big Quit,” whatever you choose to call it, the trend of job departures in 2021 has been unnerving for organizations. The workforce is taking stock of their careers and reevaluating their priorities.

In April, more Americans left their jobs than ever before, but it didn’t end there. In July employees set a new record, one that was broken again in August and once more in September. As the trend accelerates we’re discovering this phenomenon isn’t about quitting — it’s about job-switching.

And at the heart of why people are switching jobs is employee engagement.

Engaged workers are 23 times more likely to stay at their organization and recommend it as a great to work. Yet, before the pandemic, organizations were too reliant on approaching engagement as a sporadic exercise in making employees feel happy, rather than being happy.

Engagement is not another pizza party.

Instead, engagement should focus on how organizations can meet employees’ needs to set them up for success. People don’t want to stay at jobs if they don’t feel their organizations are investing in them (and vice versa) or see opportunities to learn skills and grow their careers.

To create an engaging environment and truly deliver the experience employees are craving, organizations can look to these pillars of creating a more human workforce to better understand their employees’ needs and foster more connection to their work.

Connect purpose and meaning to work

While remote work has evolved many of employees’ needs, the first step to a more engaged workforce will always be the same: connecting a sense of purpose and meaning to work.

Research shows that when employees feel their work is connected to and impacts the organization’s objectives, and they also believe in those goals and receive enough support to achieve them, employees are more likely to have good work relationships, positive attitudes and be more productive and satisfied.

Giving employees a sense of purpose beyond pay and also a path to career growth, helps them see a future inside the organization. Leaders must embrace their role in facilitating this, and connect employees to a sense of purpose and meaningful growth along the way. In fact, organizations should tap into their strongest voices to showcase more of their mission, values, vision and opportunities to all employees.

“Using our platforms like Workplace, at Cornerstone we have been sharing letters from our senior team describing why they continue to work at the company,” wrote Kimberly Cassady, Cornerstone chief talent officer. “These letters have empowered other workers across roles to share their sense of purpose, joy or meaning they find in their work — and even prompted even more workers to come forward and express why they love working here.”

Fuel creativity and growth

Curiosity and creativity are two byproducts of human beings’ natural inclination to learn and evolve, which is why it’s crucial for organizations to support employee learning to keep their workforce engaged.

After months of working from home, employees are craving new opportunities for personal growth and learning to help them sharpen or build skills. But it’s not just that employees want this, they need it. As work changes, 58% of the workforce needs new skills in order to successfully do their job today. And it’s up to organizations to shepherd them along this journey.

By connecting people to more personalized learning, and giving them control over their career paths and opportunities for growth, organizations can help employees fulfill their creative desires, strengthen their purpose, invigorate them with new energy and elevate their performance — everything they need to feel more engaged and rewarded in their work.

Develop trust in the workplace

Trust is the foundation of any relationship. Organizations don’t trust anyone to do the job: they develop a sense of confidence in employees from the interview stage, to their first day, to promotion and more. But trust goes both ways, and for employees to be truly invested in the work, they need to feel the organization is invested in them, too.

Organizations that develop trusting relationships with employees prioritize internal mobility and provide mentorship and coaching opportunities required to help them reach the next level. Mentorship is not only a powerful way to improve internal development but also to develop trust in employees through relatable leaders who can provide meaningful advice and direction.

Workers who can see what internal growth opportunities are available within the organization are more likely to stay, as they can chart and track their progress towards the career path they desire.

Technology to support employee engagement

Understanding how to humanize employee engagement is only the beginning. The hard part is transforming these insights into actionable, internal processes. But today, organizations can lean on a connected HR technology to help them cultivate an engaged workforce.

From fueling employees' desire for growth with personalized and self-directed learning to providing insights about employees’ skills progression and career paths, Cornerstone Xplor is a singular tool organizations can use to connect people to learning and growth opportunities within the organization.

In doing so, Xplor can help employees find more purpose, flex their creativity and develop trust through mentorship as they become more engaged to keep growing at their organization.

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