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February 11, 2020
Brad Jamison

How to set employee engagement goals in 2020

This year begins a culture-first decade, which makes 2020 an excellent time to set HR goals and objectives as well as take a closer look at your company’s culture. But, you may be in the dark about how to set employee engagement goals to begin with.

We're here to help. 🙂

Engagement is essential in the workplace. Businesses with highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability, according to a Gallup study. But, engagement does so much more for your business, including improving retention, attracting top talent, and increasing innovation in the workplace.

“Engaged employees are more attentive and vigilant. They look out for the needs of their coworkers and the overall enterprise, because they personally ‘own’ the result of their work and that of the organization,” explains Jim Harter Ph.D., a chief scientist at Gallup Research.

The two major, intertwined factors impacting engagement are: 1. your company culture, and 2. your perk programs. In many ways, employee perks at work are tangible representations of a company's culture, as well as a means of showing employees just how valued they are.

More than 72% of employees say that they would like their jobs more if there were more benefits. Along these same lines, companies that can retain employees for the long haul often do so through recognition programs.

So, you’ll want to take three actions when reviewing your 2020 benefits packages:

1. Compare the perks and benefits you offer against those of your competitors, as well as the marketplace in general. (And do it often.)
2. Identify which employee rewards are not being used by employees and either eliminate or reimagine them.
3. Make sure your perks are designed to engage with multiple generations.

When setting those human resource goals and objectives, go into it knowing that the best employee engagement programs for your company will depend heavily on where you are and where you want to go.

The most important employee perks at work for 2020

As you look to increase employee engagement and retain top talent, you’ll want to devise ways to steadily improve your employee recognition programs.

Even if you did a stellar job in 2019, you’re in a new year, and the competition will surely be at your heels. Now is the time to think about human resource goals and objectives for 2020.

So, take a look at what employees are going to care most about this year, and see what types of recognition & rewards you can add to your engagement programs.

Employee wellness packages

The most in-demand perk for 2020 is going to be wellness programs. This is great for you—and your employees—because such programs really are a win-win.

The proof is in the pudding. Download our free workplace wellness report.

An Aflac study found that 61% of employees say that they’ve made healthier lifestyle choices because of their company’s wellness program. And, according to Forbes, the positive results of these changes in employees’ lives results in higher productivity and job satisfaction.

When considering wellness packages, you'll also want to look into how you treat mental wellness within your organization.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, about one in four U.S. employees have been diagnosed with depression. Of them, 40% take about 10 days off each year because of it.

Though depression and anxiety cost the global economy about $1 trillion in lost productivity each year, the World Health Organization estimates that for every $1 put into scaled up treatment for common mental disorders, there is a $4 return in productivity and improved health.

If you already have a wellness program, you should make your 2020 perk goal to expand the options available through it—because every employee has unique needs. By increasing your flexibility to meet these needs, you'll be able to boost engagement with the program.

A better work-life balance

One thing that’s not new in 2020 is an increase in demand for better work-life balance. Millennials and Generation Z are continuing to make this a priority—especially following the stunning results of a 4-day workweek test where a Japan-based Microsoft subsidiary tested out a four-day workweek. The result: an increase in productivity by 40%.

Even if you're unable to take the plunge with a 4-day workweek, you can still consider providing more flexible schedules for employees. After all, according to a Glassdoor survey, 87% of employees expect their employer to support them in balancing work and personal commitments.

Read more: The 10 real health benefits of a work from home policy

Student loan repayments or continued education stipends

If your company is hoping to attract top millennial or Generation Z talent, you'll want to review the possibility of student loan repayment benefits. According to a survey by Unum, student loan repayment programs rank among the top two most-important benefits for younger generations in the workforce.

For employees interested in continuing education, employee recognition programs that offer education spend as a reward are especially useful.

These generations are keenly aware of how university debt is crippling them economically and will be actively looking for ways to lessen the burden in 2020.

Family planning solutions

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, there’s been a significant increase in employers offering paid parental leave since 2016. This includes an increase in paternity leave, adoption, surrogacy, and foster child care.

However, more than 50% of U.S. working parents in a recent survey said that they would have treated their paternal leave differently if they would have been better supported by management.

“Having comprehensive family benefits—fertility, infertility, pregnancy, maternity, return-to-work, and parenting benefits—can make one company stand out from the rest,” writes Paris Wallace for Forbes.

Providing the resources necessary for employees to start and take care of a family can significantly impact employee loyalty and satisfaction.

Pet benefits

Though less important than many of the perks that are going to draw employees to your company, pet-friendly employee benefits will have more traction in 2020. This is especially the case as more any more employees consider their pets to be their children.

There are several recognized benefits to having a pet-friendly workplace, including lowering blood-pressure of employees who interact with the pets and alleviating workers’ worries about the well-being of their animals.

Some companies have gone so far as to offer paw-ternity leave—that’s right, nearly a week off a year to focus on their fur baby.

Creating cascading goals for employee perks at work

No matter what your 2020 employee engagement goals are, you will want to ensure that they’re clearly defined, actionable, and measurable.

Furthermore, employee recognition isn’t just a top-down effort—it should also go sideways. Specifically, managers should see them as an opportunity to reward employees while employees within teams should see them as opportunities to recognize and reward each other.

Sometimes, employees are hesitant to take advantage of perks because they’re afraid it might look like they're taking advantage of the company. Not only does seeing management utilize the perks increase engagement with the programs—but it also reinforces stated goals with regards to the programs.

Measuring the success of your employee engagement goals

Having employee perks at work that both recognize and reward your employees is a great way to boost productivity and increase retention. However, it’s crucial to be able to quantify exactly how much employee recognition and rewards are benefiting your company. This includes everything from attracting & retaining top talent to employee engagement.

The first step is identifying measurable indicators—such as turnover rate. Ideally, you’ll already have a baseline for all pertinent indicators so you can chart changes as you adjust your perk programs.

Need help setting the baseline? Take a look at this guide to employee turnover rate.

What you want to avoid is gut-instinct decisions with regards to whether or not you’ve met your 2020 human resource goals and objectives by the end of the year. Instead, you’re going to want to rely on data-driven perks, benefits, and engagement programs.

Your 2020 employee engagement goal-setting checklist:

  • Compare perks with competition
  • Identify most-used and least-used programs
  • Quantify the impact of such programs in 2019
  • Reimagine or eliminate the least-used rewards
  • Adjust current perks to better align with company and employee values
  • Educate employees about recognition & rewards goals for 2020
  • Track success/failure indicators for employee recognition and rewards programs

Final thoughts on human resource goals and objectives & employee perks at work

In 2020, there are plenty of opportunities to strengthen the core of your company by improving your culture and beefing up your recognition programs.

Both strategies—which often work in conjunction—increase employee engagement because they go above and beyond to show workers that you value them.

By taking a hard look at what you did in 2019—that both worked and didn’t work—you can roll out a new iteration of your employee recognition & rewards programs along with the benefits packages that will not only draw talent to your company but help you retain your most valued employees.

Want to learn more about how Zestful can help you achieve your 2020 employee recognition goals and increase employee satisfaction and productivity? We’d love to chat—reach out.

Zestful: recognize and reward your employees—minus the admin work.

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