Top 5 Trends of Employee Engagement in 2021

Everything has changed in just one year since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 had a phenomenal impact on today’s workplace environment. Everyone has felt the force of the pandemic from small and medium enterprises to large enterprises. Employee engagement is defined by an employee’s willingness to contribute to the growth of the organization. It has been a matter of concern for most organizations.

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Retaining top talents and their attrition depends on how engaged your employees are with the organization.  The use of technology and the Covid-19 pandemic has fast-tracked this change. And organizations that are serious about employee engagement need to keep an eye on the latest trends. Here we identify the top 5 employee engagement trends in 2021:

1. Work-life Balance & Harmony

What do employees need?

A harmonious and employee-oriented culture!

Companies have started considering employees as people first and fostering care and respect among employees at all levels of the organization.

Apart from treating employees as humans, the future of employee engagement will see more flexibility to improve work-life balance for employees. COVID-19 pandemic has made employers realize that performance is not driven by being physically present in the office.

During the coronavirus lockdown, most of us have and are still working from home. Remote working and flexible timings have become a part of the organizational cultures now.

Employees who feel they have work-life harmony are usually more satisfied with their work and feel more engaged with the company.

Tip: Once organizations start treating employees as humans first and show more empathy towards them, it increases their trust in the organization.

2. Rewards & Recognition

Employees now have a certain set of expectations from their employers since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perks like employer’s health insurance or corporate health insurance, annual appraisals, and paid leaves were earlier enough. Now employee recognition also plays an important part

The Gen-Y & Gen-Z workforce not only needs to be paid well but is also hungry for work recognition. If you recognize an employee’s efforts it keeps them motivated to reach their goals. However, rewards and recognition need to be an active part.

Employers need to make a tailor-made program for a more engaged workforce through Rewards and recognitions especially in the post-COVID era.

3. Technology-Driven Processes

Human Resource Management is mostly technology-driven in 2021. With more and more millennial workforce, employee engagement and retention have all become technical.

It keeps the Gen-Z engaged; and improvises the overall efficiency of the organization. IT and Finance companies are investing in cloud and AI platforms especially with the ongoing trend of remote working.

Employee engagement will mostly depend on technology in the future; HRTech or Technology in HR sees an upwards swing already. It will also be crucial in elevating the overall employee experience.

Performance Appraisals, OKRs, KRA’s, hiring processes, salary, etc. all the processes have become automated and technology-driven.

4. Performance Evaluation with Advanced Management Tools

Employee appraisals and annual performance appraisals are evaluated before salary hikes, promotions, bonuses, etc.  Some organizations are even thinking of giving the annual rating system a passé.

Amid the ongoing pandemic scenario, employees look forward to monthly and quarterly reviews and real-time performance evaluations. During the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, work-from-home is a common practice and it will necessitate the use of digital and advanced performance management tools to give feedback to employees and evaluate their work.

This is an anywhere, and anytime approach that is data-driven.

5. Opportunities for Career Growth & Development

A timely promotion does not just reflect career progression but also includes the personal and professional development of an employee on an individual level.

Gen-Y & Gen-Z will not hesitate to move for a better opportunity if they do not get timely growth. We need a formal process that identifies skills and gaps by introducing formal and informal programs for their employees to grow.

A culture of learning and development helps them to push themselves to achieve their targets. Companies who are investing in their employee’s growth can have a successful engagement and thus help in retaining employees and attrition rates.


During this pandemic the priorities have changed for organizations and employees. Pre-COVID era employee expectation included promotions, better pay and recognition as key factors before joining any organization. However, remote working, flexible office timings, work-from-home, health insurance have gained more prominence now.

Earlier work from home was just once a month luxury that was given to employees, but now after the COVID-19 outbreak it seems to catch up as a trend for most companies.

The times are changing and new ways have evolved to keep the employees engaged. And employers who are able to match the latest trends will be successful in retaining and engaging their top talents.

Written By: PolicyBazaar - Updated: 26 August 2021
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