2021 Trends to Maximise Workplace Engagement - Oak Engage
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2021 Trends to Maximise Workplace Engagement

2021 Trends to Maximise Workplace Engagement

How important is workplace engagement to your business? It’s no secret that poor employee engagement in the workplace can result in businesses paying a hefty price; in fact many businesses are losing up to $550 billion. But it’s not just the heavy costs that can be damaging to a business; poor workplace engagement can be harmful to employees’ mental health and wellbeing, causing a loss in productivity and high employee turnover. 

Over the past year, the workplace has seen drastic changes, many of them proving how employees can be adaptable and agile in their working. Right now, it’s more important than ever to ensure that employee engagement in the workplace is a top priority. So, we wanted to bring you the top trends of 2021 for maximising workplace engagement.

Leading with empathy

There’s a clear difference between checking up on employees to ask what they’re doing and checking up on employees to ask how they’re doing. 

After a turbulent year, it’s no surprise that empathy is a top trend for improving workplace engagement in 2021. Thankfully many leaders have realised the importance of setting the work chat aside to check up on their employees to gauge how they’re truly feeling. 

Leading with empathy is crucial; if your employees know that you care about them and have their best interests at heart, you’re going to get the best out of them. In fact, 92% of workers believe that having an empathetic leader is key to strong employee retention. 

Luckily, showing empathy to your employees comes at a small cost and is very easy to do. You can be an empathetic leader by setting aside time in your week to talk to your employees on a 1:1 basis to ask how they’re feeling; in this meeting, you can ask how they’re getting on with their job, ask if they have any concerns and figure out if there is anything you can do as a leader to make them more comfortable in their role. 

Better work/life balance 

Work life balance infographic by Oak Engage

A healthy work/life balance is integral for improving employee engagement in the workplace; it can make people less prone to burnout and enables employees to feel better mentally and physically, therefore leading to improved work quality and productivity. 

Although there are many challenges to working from home, there’s no denying that it comes with its perks: better work/life balance is the main one. A survey recently found that 60% of employees reported an improved work/life balance during the pandemic. 

With a better work/life balance being a key trend for improving workplace engagement in 2021, you can encourage this by introducing a flexible and fluid working schedule. Giving employees the autonomy to work around a schedule that suits them will promote trust between leaders and employees and will also show your empathy as a leader to accommodate your employees’ needs. 

Feedback loops 

An effective feedback system should play a central role in all businesses and is key to improving workplace engagement. Although there is a heavy emphasis on giving employees regular feedback to improve their performance, it’s important to remember that feedback works both ways. 

If you’re looking to enhance employee engagement in the workplace, make sure you give your employees a chance to give regular feedback and act upon it. If your employees know that they’re being listened to and their feedback is being actioned upon, it will more than likely give them more of a purpose and improve employee engagement in the workplace. 

To follow this trend in 2021 to maximise workplace engagement, consider distributing regular Pulse Surveys to gain feedback from your employees. Pulse Surveys are short and specific surveys used to gather useful information from employees to give insight into employee satisfaction and engagement. To gain feedback about leadership, ask specific questions on what employee’s think about your management style, if there’s anything different they would like to see happen in the workplace and if there is anything you can improve on as a manager. 

If you need another reason to implement Pulse Surveys into your feedback strategy, they help promote positive company culture and the cost of bad company culture is $26.7 billion for UK companies annually. Yikes! 


As humans, we usually crave validation from others, especially in the workplace. If you’re not providing your employees with regular recognition, it will cause a loss in productivity and motivation. 

Recognition shouldn’t be something that’s done in your organisation every once in a while, it should be part of your company culture and it is key to improving workplace engagement. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if an employee feels appreciated and recognised by their leader, they’re more than likely going to feel more secure and happy in their role. According to Forbes, employees who feel recognised are more satisfied, will perform better in their roles and get on better with colleagues. 

Considering how turbulent the past year has been, it’s no surprise that recognition is a top trend for improving employee engagement in the workplace. A recent poll discovered that HR leaders feel that recognition is more important now than ever before. 

Recognition in the workplace can be displayed in many different ways and like with most of the trends on this blog; it’s very easy to do. Giving an employee a shout-out during a company meeting, creating a recognition board and a simple thank you are all easy ways to make your employees feel valued within your organisation.

Advantages of employee recognition infographic by Oak Engage


Going forward

The workplace may have changed dramatically over the past year, but workplace engagement is something that will always be important. An engaged employee strives for so much more than receiving their pay cheque once a month, which is why the value of employee engagement in the workplace should never be underestimated. If you’re still putting together your plan on how to maximise workplace engagement in 2021, make sure these 4 easy-wins are at the top of your list.

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