Boosting employee engagement can be vital to the success of both small and large businesses.
In Forbes' 2014 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends study, nearly four of five business leaders - 78 percent - rated employee retention and engagement as urgent or important.
Josh Bersin, a contributor at Forbes and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, said that when he talks to human resource leaders, retention issues are consistently among the topics of conversation. Bersin said companies tend to carefully monitor reviews on Glassdoor - which is a site featuring employee reviews of a company - and that businesses all over are trying to build passionate teams of employees.
"Companies are struggling to engage, attract, retain, and lead younger people," Bersin said. "They don't have the leadership programs to drive the dynamic level of leadership that young people want. Sophisticated HR teams know that they have to work closely with top leadership to create new models of engagement in the new world of work."
Engagement trends by the numbers
The Global Human Capital Trends 2014 survey polled more than 2,500 respondents from 90 countries. The survey found that traditional employee training is going by the wayside and is being substituted with online and mobile learning. The report stated employee empowerment through workplace collaboration and self-driven learning is pivotal to harboring a culture of development and growth that continues to boost performance.
Lisa Rowan, and industry analyst and vice president of human resources, talent and learning strategies at IDC, told Forbes she believes the top challenge for employers is a geographically separated workforce.
"Gone are the days when 95 percent of the workforce went into the office and were full- or part-time employees," Rowan said. "People are working remotely around the globe, you have freelancers and contractors. You may have partners' employees working next to your own employees. You can't gather everyone around the water cooler, yet HR still needs to meet the needs of the business."
Rowan told Forbes she is advising HR departments to revamp the thought process for how they currently use technology.
"Companies are scaling back on the number of vendors they have to work with as disparate systems can't collaborate because they have different data on them," she said. "Take an inventory, and decide what's working and what's not. Wherever that greatest point of pain is, that's where to start."
Recognizing soft skills represents another challenge for employers
If you're an accountant looking for a job, your hard skills, or account background, will help you land a job. But employers don't overlook soft skills, according to CBS.
Soft skills, which are often linked to a person's emotional IQ, are closely tracked by HR departments during the interview process. According to CareerBuilder, the top five soft skills managers want to see in candidates are a strong work ethic (73 percent), dependability (73 percent), positive attitude (72 percent), self-motivation (66 percent) and teamwork-friendly (60 percent).
Christa Degnan Manning, senior vice president of research at HfS Research, told Forbes that companies that place emphasis on soft skills through an omni-channel employee experience often are better at retaining employees.
"Self-service has been overdone and employees are frustrated with it," she said. "You need mobile, social and chat in a centralized environment that provides shared services supporting the worldwide workforce, engagement with all generations of workers in the way that they want."
Another major challenge for HR departments is realizing that everything is fundamentally changing, according to Forbes.
Mike Ettling, global head of cloud and On Premise HR at SAP, said, "Everything from recruiting to onboarding to learning is less prescriptive, and more about self-empowered employee collaboration using social and mobile."
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