January 11, 2019

4 Ways to Boost Engagement at Work in 2019


Employee engagement is critical in the war for talent. Even as technological innovation transforms the way business is done, the success of an organization still depends on the people whose passions, insights, and talents drive it forward. When your employees feel good and are motivated to deliver strong results, customer satisfaction, innovation, and your bottom line all benefit. Today, smart companies know they need to put people first in order to attract, retain, develop, and reward top talent.

HR leaders are in a powerful position to shape a positive experience throughout all phases of the employee’s journey. We have plenty of opportunities to use our knowledge of people and organizations to build better futures where employees feel valued and driven to contribute their best work.

As the needs and expectations of employees evolve, here are four ways HR professionals can promote job satisfaction in 2019:

1. Career Development Your Way

Gone are the days when climbing the proverbial corporate ladder was the standard measure of success. This notion of growth as a vertical, one-tiered path is outdated and fails to reflect what employees really want: meaningful development experiences that align with their personal values, goals, interests, and the needs of the company and industry.

Today, learning is more powerfully dynamic, and we have more information available to us than ever before. As we talk about the future of work, a growth mindset is going to be critical for navigating a constantly changing world. This is a way of thinking that celebrates progress, trying new things, and experimentation.

Now is your chance to try new things, learn, and grow, so prepare for a new outlook on career development in 2019. Trade the corporate ladder for a jungle gym or rock-climbing wall. On these fixtures, you can go up, down, or sideways. You can even take a fall, get up, and try again.

2. D&I — and B

I’m a big believer in the power of human difference. Companies with more inclusive workforces see increased success. This is not just a personal conviction, but a fact: According to research by McKinsey, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity outperform their competitors by 15 percent, and those in the top quartile for ethnic diversity outperform their competitors by 35 percent.

Companies are paying more attention to not only diversity and inclusion, but also belonging. You have to do more than hire different people; you have to welcome their ideas, make them heard, and make them feel like part of something important. Our team likes to say that diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance, and belonging is hitting the dance floor with abandon. Belonging means I can be myself.

As we progress toward a world where there is more equity and opportunity for all, we live that new reality through our own actions and our culture at work. We want people to feel free to be their best selves at work. When we feel welcomed and supported, we open ourselves up to innovate and contribute. As leaders, we need to make sure we’re incorporating practices that promote belonging through thoughtful programs throughout the company. From the ways we hire to how we reward our teams, we have big opportunities to do the right thing.

3. Purpose-Driven Work

Business starts and ends with people, so it’s important to acknowledge a recent significant shift in the way people interact with their work. Nowadays, employees expect to connect to an authentic purpose and an understanding that their contributions matter. People have increasingly more choices about where they want to work, and they are choosing to align with companies that share their morals and values.

4. Redefine Wellness

Traditionally, wellness was promoted within the workplace through benefits tied to medical check-ups, vision, and dental. In 2019, we’ll see the concept of wellness become more malleable to suit the unique needs of employees. We’re talking about a whole-person approach that addresses the individual’s needs throughout every stage of their life and every axis of health — mental, financial, physical, and emotional.

This new conception of wellness runs in stark contrast to the one-size-fits-all philosophy of the past. Choice is important. Employees want flexibility to create the right balance of wellness benefits depending on their unique needs at a given point in their life. This flexibility not only empowers employees, but it also reduces stress, which we know can be a big distraction and hurt productivity. As HR leaders, we can also broaden our own understandings of wellness to include new offerings like employee resource groups and employee assistance programs that help people find support as they see fit.

Putting employees first is a philosophy I’ve held throughout my career, and I’ve seen it validated time and again. People want to do outstanding work, and they feel good when they do. That is why talented people approach the job market with a focus on their potential for success: Which company will best empower them to engage deeply in their work, harness their full creativity, and deliver the most meaningful results? When you can provide that kind of experience, you’ll recruit and retain the best candidates — and your business will thrive as a result.

Donna Kimmel is executive vice president and chief people officer at Citrix.

Read more in Employee Engagement

Donna Kimmel is the executive vice president and chief people officer of Citrix. She is responsible for all aspects of identifying, fostering, and developing top talent, as well as overseeing organizational strategies that maximize engagement and position the company to win in the marketplace. With more than 30 years of experience in creating and implementing successful global talent programs that drive business results, Donna is a trusted human resources leader who believes in creating diverse and engaged teams that enable the extraordinary. Throughout her career, she has delivered comprehensive people programs, led large scale end-to-end business initiatives (including corporate reorganizations, spin-offs — from public to private to public — and integrations for global M&A activities), and catalyzed cultural transformations.