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Top 5 Employee Engagement Trends in the Age of Distributed Work

Discover the top five emerging employee engagement trends that are shaping the landscape of work in the age of distributed teams. Dive into insightful strategies and innovative approaches designed to keep your engaged employees motivated and connected.

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How have employee engagement initiatives changed in the past few years? ๐Ÿ“

Research by Gallup shows that since trending upward in recent years, employee engagement saw its first annual decline in a decade in 2021 when engagement dropped to 34% from 36% the previous year.

Unfortunately, this pattern has continued into 2022, with 32% of full and part-time workers reporting high levels of engagement, and 17% of workers feeling actively disengaged.

The 2023 SHRM State of the Workplace Report states that while remote workers are much happier than in-person employees, theyโ€™re also more likely to leave. So what does that say about the importance of remote employee engagement? ๐Ÿค”

Here's what organizations that have improved employee engagement in recent years have done differently:

  • Use positive organizational culture and company values to guide business decisions and rebuild trust in leadership: The most successful businesses put their values at the center of company decisions. When employees can see the organization's values clearly lived out through decision-making, trust in leadership is restored.
  • Embrace flexible working conditions while developing plans for the future of work: Flexibility means different advantages for employees, depending on the type of work they do and the setting required for their individual performance, optimal team collaboration, and value to customers. Successful organizations embrace flexibility while acknowledging that there is some lingering ambiguity about the future of work, and make changes where needed.
  • Focus on employee well-being and acknowledging the whole person: Social, physical, professional, and personal well-being all affect employees. Be sure to provide resources designed to improve these important facets of employee well-being.
  • Tailor communication to reach teams where they are: Empower managers to keep people informed and openly discuss organizational changes with their teams.


Here are today's top employee engagement trends in the age of distributed work:

Improve employee engagement with these top trends suited for the distributed workplace.

1. Investing in a people-first culture ๐Ÿ‘ฅ

Building a people-first culture has emerged as a top trend in improving employee engagement in the age of distributed work. According to Quantum Workplace, 1 in 4 employees believe their company culture has worsened in recent years, and 60% of disengaged employees would leave their company for an organization with a better culture. To reinvest in a magnetizing culture, companies are prioritizing:

  • Mental health support: The shift to distributed work has stressed the need for mental health support. Remote work challenges, isolation, and blurred boundaries between work and personal life can impact mental well-being. Companies that invest in mental health initiatives, such as counseling services, employee assistance programs, and health and wellness events, create a supportive environment where employees feel valued and understood. Prioritizing mental health contributes to higher engagement levels and reduced burnout among employees.ย 
  • Wellness programs: By prioritizing wellness programs, organizations demonstrate their commitment to supporting employee health, physically and mentally. Providing resources like fitness programs, access to healthcare services, and promoting work-life balance helps employees maintain their well-being.
  • Positive workplace culture and sense of belonging: Building a positive workplace culture is essential for fostering engagement, especially in distributed work settings. Organizations can establish a culture that promotes open communication, collaboration, and recognition. By encouraging frequent and transparent communication channels, virtual team-building activities, and celebrating achievements, companies create a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose. This helps employees feel connected, engaged, and motivated to contribute their best work.
How to get started ๐Ÿ‘‰ Improve employee morale and build a people-first culture with Confetti's Virtual Team Building events.
Hilarious Team Building by Confetti


2. Leveraging flexibility ๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿ’ป

With remote and hybrid work being the new norm, employees are twice as likely to stay at a job offering a flexible work environment than at one not. Leveraging flexibility is an employee engagement trend that helps retain top talent through:

  • Autonomy: Flexibility in the workplace grants employees a greater sense of autonomy and empowerment over their work. In distributed work environments, where employees have more control over their schedules and work locations, they feel trusted to manage their responsibilities effectively and be judged on their work output over their physical presence in the office. This autonomy fosters a sense of ownership, motivation, and engagement, as employees have the freedom to work in ways that align with their preferences and strengths.
  • Work-life balance and integration: Flexibility plays a pivotal role in enabling a healthy work-life balance. With the ability to design their work schedules around personal commitments and priorities, employees can better manage the demands of their personal lives. Whether attending to family responsibilities, pursuing personal interests, or taking care of their well-being, flexible work arrangements provide the opportunity to integrate work and personal life more seamlessly. This balance enhances overall well-being, reduces stress, and contributes to higher levels of employee engagement.
How to get started ๐Ÿ‘‰ Download our ebook to learn more about creating a positive company culture in a distributed workforce.
Free Ebook, Navigating the Workplace Revolution in a Distributed Workforce. Download the eBook.


3. Feedback and employee performance management ๐Ÿ’ฌ

Regular performance reviews can indeed play a significant role in improving trust in leadership and fostering harmony between managers and employees. Here are several ways performance reviews can achieve these outcomes:

  • Fairness and transparency: Performance reviews should be conducted in a fair and transparent manner, where evaluation criteria and processes are clearly defined. When employees perceive the evaluation process as fair and transparent, trust in leadership is enhanced. It demonstrates that decisions regarding promotions, salary adjustments, or career opportunities are based on objective assessments.
  • Real-time feedback and goal setting: Real-time feedback and goal setting facilitate a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration. With remote work, employees need timely guidance and constructive feedback to thrive. Leaders should provide feedback promptly, acknowledge achievements, and offer suggestions for improvement. Additionally, setting clear, measurable goals and tracking progress collaboratively creates a sense of purpose and engagement among employees, which improves employee productivity.
  • Employee engagement surveys: Employee engagement surveys have gained importance as organizations strive to gauge the pulse of their distributed workforce. An employee engagement pulse survey provides valuable insights into employee experiences, satisfaction levels, and areas for improvement. By actively listening to employees' feedback and taking action based on the survey results, leaders demonstrate their commitment to fostering a positive work environment. Engaging employees in this way enhances trust, as employees feel that their voices are heard and their opinions matter.
How to get started ๐Ÿ‘‰ Visit the Ultimate Employee Engagement Guide to learn more!


4. Growth opportunities ๐Ÿ“ˆ

Growth opportunities are an essential trend for boosting employee engagement in the age of distributed work due to the following benefits:

  • Learning culture and knowledge sharing: Distributed work requires the cultivation of a strong learning culture and knowledge-sharing practices. Organizations that encourage employees to share their expertise, collaborate on projects, and contribute to the collective learning experience foster engagement and a sense of belonging. Virtual platforms for sharing knowledge, mentorship programs, and cross-functional collaboration opportunities create an environment where employees can learn from one another, expand their knowledge, and feel connected to their peers and the organization.
  • Career advancement and vertical mobility: In the absence of traditional hierarchical structures and physical proximity, career advancement in distributed work environments may differ from traditional models. Organizations that provide clear pathways for career progression, offer opportunities for vertical (or lateral) mobility, and recognize employee achievements and contributions foster greater employee engagement and motivation.
How to get started ๐Ÿ‘‰ Encourage skill development with experiences from our Learning and Development collection!
Learning & Development by Confetti


5. Emphasis on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion ๐ŸŒ

A diverse and inclusive workforce results in increased productivity, engagement, and retention. Research by Catalyst found that companies with DEI initiatives result in a 49% improvement in problem-solving capabilities, a 35% increase in employee engagement, and 20% of workers plan to stay with the organization for a longer time. Here's how your organization can center DEI initiatives in your employee engagement strategy:

  • DEI Training & Workshops: Emphasizing DEI training helps organizations mitigate bias and promote equal opportunities for all employees, regardless of their background, race, gender, or other characteristics. DEI trainings provide education on unconscious bias, cultural competence, and inclusive behaviors, empowering employees to recognize and challenge their biases. This, in turn, fosters a fair and inclusive work environment, enhancing employee engagement and trust.
  • Cultural Celebrations: By acknowledging and celebrating diverse cultural traditions, organizations demonstrate their commitment to respecting and appreciating different backgrounds. Cultural celebrations provide opportunities for employees to learn from one another, promote understanding, and strengthen relationships.
  • ERGs: ERGs provide a platform for networking, mentorship, and professional development. They create spaces for employees to connect, share insights, and influence organizational policies and practices. ERGs contribute to employee engagement by fostering a sense of community, empowerment, and collective impact.
How to get started ๐Ÿ‘‰ Plan some cultural celebrations and DEI workshops from the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion collection!
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion by Confetti


Level up your employee engagement strategies with Confetti ๐ŸŽ‰

In order to create an engaged workforce and foster a positive work environment, start with team building activities! From virtual games to learning and development workshops and collaborative activities, Confetti provides tailored solutions to fit your organization's needs. By investing in team building activities with the entire team, you can boost employee morale, strengthen relationships between employees and leadership, and improve overall productivity.

Start creating a more engaged and connected workforce today! Contact [email protected] to get started!
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