Employee Engagement 2023: What Employees Want

Table of Contents

You have no doubt been hearing and reading more about the importance of employee engagement over the past few years, especially in relation to the “Great Resignation” and the ongoing shifts between physical offices and remote work.  

The dynamics of the modern workplace are in constant flux. As we move through 2023, it’s essential for employers to understand what their employees truly desire in order to build a healthy, thriving, and inclusive work environment. 

With the rise of remote work, the focus on well-being, and an increasing emphasis on work-life balance, the expectations of employees have evolved significantly. 

In this blog post, we will explore what employees really want in 2023 and provide actionable insights for organizations—some of the best of those we share with clients as expert employee engagement consultants—looking to stay ahead of the curve. 

What Do Employees Really Want in 2023? 

Work-Life Balance and Flexibility

In 2023, work-life balance will remain a top priority for employees. With the lessons learned from the pandemic, the ability to manage one’s work and personal life has become even more crucial. Employees now crave flexible work arrangements, including remote work, hybrid work models, and adaptable schedules that allow them to care for their families, pursue personal interests, and maintain their mental health.

Actionable Insight: Employers should consider implementing flexible work policies, such as offering remote work options, part-time roles, and customizable schedules. Open communication about employee needs and expectations is essential for creating a mutually beneficial work environment.

Mental Health and Well-being

Mental health and well-being are no longer topics hidden behind closed doors. The events of the past few years have emphasized the importance of mental health, and employees now expect their employers to prioritize their psychological well-being. This includes access to mental health resources, support for stress management, and an emphasis on empathy and understanding in the workplace.

Employers should think about providing benefits for mental health, giving employees access to counseling services, and fostering a culture of empathy and understanding. A supportive work environment can be created by encouraging open conversations about mental health and giving people ways to deal with stress.

Professional Growth and Development

The modern workforce is eager to learn, grow, and evolve in their careers. Employees value organizations that invest in their professional development and provide opportunities for growth. They want access to training programs, workshops, mentorship, and resources that allow them to improve their skills and stay relevant in their industries.

Employers should make and promote opportunities for growth, such as in-house training programs, paying for certifications, and giving employees access to industry conferences. Encourage mentorship and collaboration within the workplace to help employees learn from each other and grow together.

Purpose and Impact

Employees in 2023 are looking for more than just a paycheck. They want to work for organizations that have a clear purpose and make a positive impact on the world. This includes putting an emphasis on sustainability, social responsibility, and ethical business practices that match their own values.

Actionable Insight: Employers should prioritize and communicate their organization’s mission and values, as well as their impact on society and the environment. Engage employees in sustainability initiatives and create opportunities for them to contribute to the company’s social responsibility efforts.

Inclusive and Diverse Workplaces

In 2023, employees expect organizations to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion. A diverse workforce promotes innovation, collaboration, and a sense of belonging. Employees want to feel respected, valued, and understood, regardless of their background, race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Actionable Insight: Employers should prioritize diversity and inclusion initiatives, such as implementing inclusive hiring practices, offering diversity training, and fostering a culture of respect and understanding. Encourage open conversations about inclusion and celebrate the unique perspectives and experiences of each employee.

How do Age Demographics Affect Employee Engagement? 

Most businesses have an increasingly diverse mix of age demographics in their employee pool. Which is a good thing for all kinds of reasons, as there is a lot to be gained by doing so. 

However, age demographics can have a significant impact on employee engagement, as different generations often have varying expectations, values, and preferences when it comes to work. 

Understanding these differences and adapting engagement strategies accordingly can help organizations foster a more inclusive and engaging work environment for all employees. Here are some ways age demographics affect employee engagement:

Communication Styles

Different generations may have distinct communication preferences. For example, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers might prefer face-to-face meetings or phone calls, while Millennials and Gen Z may lean towards digital communication tools like email, instant messaging, or collaboration platforms. Adapting communication styles to cater to these preferences can enhance engagement and promote open dialogue.

Work-life Balance 

Priorities and expectations around work-life balance can vary across generations. While Baby Boomers may prioritize job security and be more accepting of long hours, Millennials and Gen Z employees often place a higher value on work-life balance and flexibility. 

Recognizing and addressing these differences can help organizations tailor their policies and benefits to meet the needs of a diverse workforce.

Technology Adoption

Younger generations, such as Millennials and Gen Z, have grown up with technology as an integral part of their daily lives and are often more comfortable with and adept at using digital tools in the workplace. Ensuring that employees have access to appropriate technology and providing training for those who need it can help bridge generational gaps and enhance engagement.

Learning and Development Opportunities

Different age demographics may have unique professional development needs and preferences. While older generations may value mentorship, workshops, and seminars, younger employees might be more interested in online courses, microlearning, and peer-to-peer learning. Offering a variety of learning and development opportunities can help engage employees across different age groups.

Career Advancement

Generational differences in career aspirations and progression can affect employee engagement. For instance, Baby Boomers may prioritize job security and stability, while younger employees might be more focused on rapid career growth and new challenges. Addressing these varying career goals and offering tailored support can enhance engagement levels.

Company Values and Purpose 

Different age demographics may resonate with different company values and purposes. Younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z often look for employers with strong social and environmental missions, while older generations may value stability and financial success more. Articulating and demonstrating an organization’s values and purpose in a way that appeals to a diverse workforce can help engage employees of all ages.

What is the Real ROI of Focusing on Employee Engagement?

All of this is great, but one of the biggest questions any business leaders (reasonably) have is what is the real ROI of focusing on employee engagement. It’s often the first one we get when discussing employee engagement consulting with prospective clients. 

The real ROI (return on investment) of focusing on employee engagement can be observed through various tangible and intangible benefits that positively impact an organization’s overall performance. 

Investing in employee engagement is not just a feel-good initiative; it has proven to deliver substantial advantages that contribute to a company’s growth and success. Here are some key areas where the ROI of employee engagement becomes evident:

Increased Productivity

Engaged employees are more committed to their work, leading to higher productivity levels. They are motivated to perform at their best and consistently strive to meet or exceed their goals. This increased productivity directly contributes to the organization’s overall performance and financial success.

Improved Employee Retention

High levels of engagement lead to lower employee turnover rates. When employees feel valued, recognized, and engaged, they are less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. Retaining top talent not only saves on recruitment and training costs but also helps maintain a strong corporate culture and knowledge base.

Enhanced Customer Satisfaction 

Engaged employees are more likely to provide exceptional customer service, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. Happy customers contribute to repeat business, positive word-of-mouth marketing, and increased revenue.

Better teamwork and collaboration: Engaged employees are more likely to collaborate effectively with their colleagues, fostering a positive and inclusive work environment. This enhances teamwork, which in turn drives innovation and problem-solving, ultimately benefiting the organization’s overall performance.

Higher Profitability

Companies with highly engaged employees often experience higher profitability levels. Engaged employees are more invested in the company’s success and are driven to contribute to its growth. They are also more likely to identify cost-saving measures and look for ways to improve operational efficiency.

Enhanced Employer Brand

A focus on employee engagement can boost an organization’s reputation as a desirable employer. This helps attract top talent and can provide a competitive advantage in the job market. A strong employer brand can also improve stakeholder perceptions and contribute to positive PR.

Healthier and Happier Employees

Engaged employees tend to experience better mental and physical health, leading to lower healthcare costs for the organization and reduced absenteeism. Happier, healthier employees are more likely to perform at their best and contribute positively to the work environment.

In conclusion, the real ROI of focusing on employee engagement goes beyond simple financial returns. It can be seen in various aspects of an organization’s performance, from increased productivity and profitability to improved employee retention and customer satisfaction. Investing in employee engagement can help create a thriving and successful organization that is well-positioned for sustainable growth.

Don’t miss the opportunity to improve productivity, retention, and overall business success. Schedule a FREE consultation with our team of employee engagement consulting specialists today, and let’s start building a thriving, engaged workplace together. Click here to get started!