5 New Year’s Resolutions for Engaging with the Modern Workforce

Posted by Devin Harris on December 19, 2018

With 2019 on the horizon, many of us begin to make plans for improvements in the New Year. It’s no coincidence that gym memberships and subscriptions to weight-loss plans spike exponentially every January!

For organizations, there is no time like the present to examine their approach to engaging with their workforce. A new year is often a time where employees assess their own work situations, making it crucial to ensure you are creating an environment to effectively attract and retain strong employees. Millennials, in particular, are three times more likely than non-Millennials to leave their job to do something else.

So, what New Year’s resolutions should HR professionals be making? (and keeping of course)

Resolution #1: Don’t Expect Employees to be Tethered to Their Desks / Workstations

Today’s workforce is tech-savvy and used to being connected across multiple devices and social channels. 80% of Internet users consume content and applications via mobile devices. That is how they share and get information. In reality, it’s not mobile first anymore but fast becoming mobile only.

Modern employees value connections and relationships. Traditional platforms, with their focus on data and process automation are ill-equipped to support the new Social Enterprise. Talent Engagement Platforms embrace the social enterprise and provide the vehicle to support broad-based adoption and social connection – no matter the device.

  • Any Device, Any Time

Using advanced concepts like Progressive Web Apps (PWA), talent engagement solutions are designed to ensure employees can optimally access the system at any time or location.

PWA pic

  • Social at The Core

Continuous connection to peers. When social media tools are directly embedded in your HCM technology networks, ideation, group spaces and enhanced search support the work being done vs. merely automating processes.

  • Live Chat

Integrated live chat to connect with experts and provide real-time decision support.

Resolution #2: Don’t Forget that Employees Value Corporate Citizenship

Employees want to work for an organization they can be proud of. The type of organization that thinks beyond revenue and the bottom line. One that supports diversity, genuinely cares about the relationship they have with their employees and shows a willingness to be active in their local community. Employees value work-life balance, health-related programs, charity and volunteer work.

According to Bersin by Deloitte, citizenship and social impact are rated as critical or important by 77% of respondents (”The Rise of the Social Enterprise”, Bersin By Deloitte, 2018).

Given the role a Talent Engagement Platform plays in connecting the entire workforce, there is a great opportunity for it to be the corporate citizenship vehicle. A platform that activates the company’s culture and delivers programs, localized and corporate-wide, that fulfil the promise of being a good corporate citizen. Here are a few examples:

  • Highly Branded Deployments & Impactful Communications/Media
    Driving Affinity to the Organization’s Culture
  • Employee Wellness Programs
    (i.e. Wellness Communities, Get Fit Contests, New Moms & Dads Support Groups)
  • Employee Support Programs
    (i.e. Crowdsourcing Funding to Support Employee’s in Times of Crisis)
  • Volunteer Programs
    (i.e. Volunteer Days, Time Away Programs, Sponsoring Local Community Events and Promoting Social Causes)

Resolution #3: Don’t Assume that Employees Feel Valued

A key prerequisite for being an engaged employee is feeling that what you are doing is important and that your efforts are making a valuable contribution to the company. Traditional Talent Systems do not support the concept of on-the-spot peer recognition. This caused many organizations to deploy standalone recognition systems. These systems suffer from lack of adoption because they are separate sites not built into the work streams of the organization. Recognition capabilities have the greatest impact when deployed as part of an HCM engagement platform.

  • Peer Recognition Tools – Simple, online process that enables an employee to send instantaneous recognition to peer.
  • Public Promotion | Visibility – View a rotating banner on the Engagement Platform home page showcasing recent thanks given within the system.
  • Tie to Personal Profile – Display all recognition given and received on an individual’s talent profile.
  • Link to Performance Management – Provide access to recognition received as part of talent analytics and performance review activities.

rotating thanks banner

Resolution #4: Down with the Once-a-Year Performance Review

Traditional TMS leverages an annual performance review process to enforce consistency and standard processes. Corporate goals are set on an annual basis and cascaded down. This model is not effective in an agile world where employees work on a variety of projects with different lengths and diverse team members. A once-a-year review by a manager is not effective in providing timely, encompassing feedback.

By contrast, agile performance solutions enable in the-moment feedback and coaching delivering more relevant and actionable feedback.

  • Continuous Coaching – Managers and team leads provide frequent and relevant coaching in an easy-to-use tool.
  • 360 Feedback – Project teams, peers, internal and external stakeholders provide timely, relevant feedback specific to individual projects and/or initiatives.
  • Project-Based Objectives – Ad-hoc objectives throughout the year tied to specific projects.
  • Agile Performance Dashboard – Ad hoc in-period reporting across employees, functions and initiatives.

Resolution #5: Down with the Once-a-Year Engagement Survey, too!

The traditional approach, namely the once a year engagement survey, is not an effective approach for an agile workforce:

  • It only takes a snapshot view of engagement at a point in time.
  • Can be influenced by what is going on at the time of year it is distributed and completed by employee
  • Results are delayed (often 3 months or more) before leadership sees them
  • Companies run “blind” for an entire year until the next survey.

Talent Engagement Platforms deploy real-time employee feedback tools measuring engagement and employee sentiment on a continuous basis. Given its connection to the organization’s engagement platform, feedback can be collected and directed to specific teams and work units. In addition, it can drive automated action planning to address priority topics.

  • Pulse Surveys – Short, frequent surveys sent to the whole company or smaller teams of employees. Designed to get agile, timely feedback based on current initiatives.
  • Life Cycle Surveys – Automated surveys that are triggered at particular events/milestones in an employee’s tenure with the organization (i.e. job candidate, new hire, 10-year, exit)
  • Pulse Reporting – Sophisticated reporting across employees, functions, teams, projects spanning both ratings and unstructured feedback/comments.
  • Action Planning – Dynamically generate action plans based on key themes, trends emerging in sentiment data.

These concepts are part of a broader strategy with respect to how organizations think about and deploy technology to empower and engage their employees. A renewed focus on how to engage an agile workforce has the potential to pay significant dividends. Companies need to be pushing the envelope in terms of how they organize and engage their teams –  evolving away from hierarchical, rigid, process driven architectures, or risk being left behind.

To learn more about engagement platforms that can help you stick to these resolutions for 2019 and beyond – helping effectively mold to the way work gets done, check out the eBook, “Is it Time to Break up with Your Talent Management System?



Devin Harris, Senior Marketing Manager at Vibe HCM has worked closely with the strategic benefits of employee-focused workforce technology for over 14 years. Most recently, he is examining the business outcomes that organizations achieve by deploying HCM Engagement platforms.


Harvard Business Review 
Bersin by Deloitte


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