In the ever-more-competitive business landscape, one factor stands out as an absolute game-changer: Employee engagement.
Picture this – disengaged employees can quietly drain productivity and tarnish customer experiences, while a highly engaged workforce can ignite profitability, lift retention, and shape a thriving corporate culture.
But countless businesses are still leaving these incredible benefits untapped. A whopping half of the American workforce admits to being disengaged or actively disinterested in their jobs, according to Gallup. When a significant portion of your team isn't fully invested, your organization isn't realizing its full potential.
The good news is that rampant disengagement isn’t inevitable! There are strategies you can implement to improve employee engagement.
Based on the findings of Gympass’ recent survey of more than 5,000 employees, these are the employee engagement trend predictions to get you ready for in 2024 — and how to capitalize on them.
- Wellbeing Initiatives
Wellbeing is non-negotiable in 2024. Ninety-three percent of employees say their wellbeing at work is as important as their salary. That’s an increase from 83% who said the same last year. Workers were also more likely this year to say they would leave an employer who does not focus on wellbeing, and that they engage in their employer’s wellbeing benefits.
If you're striving for an engaged workforce, it's crucial to champion employee wellness
Offering a holistic wellness program that supports all eight dimensions of wellness (physical, emotional, occupational, intellectual, spiritual, financial, social and environmental) is an effective way to do this. There’s a reason 85% of HR leaders say wellness programs decrease the cost of talent management, including employee engagement!
Here are some actionable tips that can help elevate your wellness program:
- Physical activity. Workers ranked physical wellness as one of the most important dimensions of wellbeing. Employers can cater to this trend by sponsoring gym membership, holding team movement challenges, and covering subscriptions to fitness apps.
- Financial wellness. This was the third-most popular dimension of wellbeing. In addition to offering a competitive compensation package, employers can offer employees budgeting apps like Mobills to help their workforce maximize every dollar.
- Social opportunities. 99% of workers say their relationships at work are important to their overall wellbeing. Organizations can foster social wellness through team building activities, like group workouts.
- Mental Wellness Supports
Mental wellbeing is a top priority for workers. Not just important. It’s truly a top priority.
Gympass asked those thousands of workers which dimension of wellbeing is most important — physical, emotional, occupational, intellectual, spiritual, financial, social or environmental. Emotional wellbeing was the most popular response across countries and demographic groups, including age, race, and company seniority.
In a labor market where everyone cares about their mental wellbeing, supporting their emotional health can boost engagement. Here are a few ways to tap this trend:
- Meditation classes. Meditation is for everyone! It’s a chance to slow down, focus on your feelings, and to be more in tune with yourself. Paying for meditation app subscriptions or hosting group meditation sessions can help everyone on your team take advantage of meditation's many benefits.
- Stress-relief workshops. Stress can cause low employee engagement, and it’s endemic in most work environments — 96% of workers experience stress during the workday. You can combat workshops specifically designed to teach your team how to destress, like scheduling zoom breaks and taking walks during the day.
- Mental health days. Taking a day off now and again has been shown to help employees return with renewed energy for their work and can help reduce stress and burnout. So providing mental health days as a benefit for your team can help support good mental wellness.
- Coverage for therapy. Therapy can cost anywhere from $60 to 120 without insurance coverage. Providing a benefit of health insurance that covers therapy is a great way to support your team members’ mental health.
At the end of the day, mental wellbeing programs improve employee engagement. When their emotional health is supported, employees are able to focus more at work and are therefore more likely to stay engaged with what they’re doing.
- Flex Work
Hybrid work is in: 74% of US companies have some type of hybrid model in place. Tapping this trend can boost employee engagement.
Giving employees a say over their work environment can boost wellbeing, and happy employees are more productive: Employees in their preferred work environment (whether that's hybrid, remote, or in-person), report higher overall wellbeing than those who wish they worked in a different environment.
This desire mismatch has a greater impact on employee wellness than the work environment itself, so catering to your employee’s various preferences can be more effective than a one-size-fits-all work structure.
Ways you can inject flexibility into your work environment include:
- Offering Remote Work. Letting employees choose if and when they come to the office allows them to meet their day-to-day needs.
- Investing in Digital Infrastructure. Video, chat, and cloud storage platforms all make it possible to work from home one day and the office the next. This supports productivity in a distributed environment.
- Flex Hours. Allowing variable work hours lets employees access the office even if they, say, have to drop children off at school or attend a doctor appointment.
- App-Based Engagement
Another great way to provide employees flexibility is to integrate apps into your engagement strategies. This makes it easier for your employees to take part in your programming, from wellness to team building, anytime, anywhere.
A few apps you can consider providing employees in 2024 to boost engagement include:
- Sleep Cycle. Getting enough sleep at night helps boost productivity. Sleep Cycle is an app designed to help people understand their sleep and evaluate how well they’re sleeping each night. Using an app like this can help your team get quality sleep—and then do quality work during the day.
MyFitnessPal. This app is a way for you to track activity and nutrition, helping people take control of their physical wellness. It’s a great app for tracking habits and reaching goals. It’s also a great way to help your team take ownership of their own physical wellness with an interactive app.
- Scavify. Looking for a fun team building app? Scavify creates team scavenger hunts that all of your teammates can get involved with. Plus the app is free for employees to download.
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEI) Initiatives
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) is more important than ever: 98% of people say their belonging at work is important to their overall wellbeing.
More often than not, feeling accepted impacts output — Three out of five workers say they are less productive when they are lonely.
DEI initiatives are a great way to foster a culture of belonging. They can improve employee engagement and enhance your team, improving both productivity and performance. Simply put, when people feel welcome, they’re able to do their best work. Tactics to wrap DEI into your wellness programs include:
- Offer a variety of options. Different cultures, backgrounds, and ability levels are going to affect people’s interests and needs. As you craft different types of wellness programs, consider creating different options for people to choose what works for them.
- Keep accessibility in mind. Are the apps you’re using accessible? Do you have alternative physical wellness options for those who can’t do the traditional exercise? Do you have inclusive mental health policies? Keep accessibility in mind as you set up your programs.
The key is to create and personalize programs for all kinds of people.
- Social Impact and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, is when a company gets involved with giving back and moving positive initiatives forward. And CSR can even boost employee engagement. Employees love working for companies that are actively involved with good things in the world. About 9 out of 10 of employees want to work for a company that aligns with their values and that they believe in.
When your team is confident their work is moving forward something they believe in, they’re simply more engaged with their work. It matters more to them, and your company will see the results.
So let’s look at ways to inject CSR and charity into your wellness programs.
- Hold service days. In the State of Work-Life Wellness 2024, we found that 80% of workers say participating in charitable activities is important to their wellbeing. This is a need few companies are meeting, as more than a third of employees say their company rarely or never gives workers time for charitable activities. Consider holding service days and programs, such as providing opportunities for your teammates to plant trees, clean up the parks, or even all run a shift at a soup kitchen.
- Create partnerships. Partnering with eco friendly organizations and working alongside them can be an opportunity for your employees to get involved—and for your company to give back.
Don’t shy away from opportunities for your company to improve its social impact.
- Continuous Learning and Skill Development
Employees want to develop, and they actually expect their employers to contribute. This trend is directly tied to their engagement levels, as 89% say that professional development in their field is important to keeping them more engaged at work. The interest is so great that a full 29% of employees would quit over a lack of development opportunities.
In a win-win for employers, upskilling your team members also helps companies in the long run. Ways you can tap demand for development to improve engagement include:
- Hosting regular workshops. A great way to help your teams learn more skills is to host workshops where they have the chance to develop. Consider quarterly or even monthly workshops for everyone to learn more skills.
- Setting aside funds. To help foster continuous development, consider having funds used only for employees to access training and conferences. It will give them access to resources they wouldn’t otherwise be able to utilize.
- Offering tuition reimbursement. Tuition reimbursement allows employees to advance their career through formal education.
Not every learning opportunity needs to be directly related to the job. You can consider offering classes that support your employees’ hobbies. Think: yoga classes, pottery classes, knitting workshops, book groups, and running groups. Learning takes so many forms, and tapping into all of them keeps your employees mentally fresh.
Maximize Employee Engagement Year-Round
Wellness is the foundation of employee engagement. Offering a wellness program institutionalizes your dedication to wellbeing, allowing you to reap the rewards all year long.
Gympass is the wellbeing program of choice for more than 15,000 companies. We provide employees with access to more than 50,000 in-person and virtual gyms, classes, trainers and apps. Gympass users report higher wellbeing than nonusers across all eight dimensions of wellbeing.
Speak with a wellbeing specialist today to spark engagement through wellness!
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The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.