As 2018 winds down, we’re looking forward to next year and thinking about which trends in employee recognition will be the take priority for rewards and incentives providers and the organizations looking to make a mark in the New Year. Here are three important trends for 2019 that anyone concerned with employee satisfaction should keep an eye on:

EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE

The whole idea of “employee engagement” is being quickly replaced by the concept of employee experience. As technology continues to enmesh the line between work and life and offer more and more flexibility in how employees approach their jobs, many organizations are focusing on the larger experience via programs, training, and tools for improving holistic health and satisfaction. Instead of loading up on perks and fringe benefits, companies are seeking concrete strategies for keeping employees invested in the company culture while acknowledging the power of new technologies and the effect of physical environments.

WELLNESS PROGRAMS

In keeping with the push toward a healthier employee experience, wellness programs are transforming from experimental curiosities to requisite initiatives. Not only do employees want more options for monitoring their health, organizations are getting wise to all the ancillary benefits of improved workforce health like less sick time, increased productivity, and lower overall healthcare costs. A UnitedHealthcare study found that 73% of employees are interested in wellness at work, and currently more than 70% of employers offer them in some form or another.

PREPARING FOR GENERATION Z

Generation Z, sometimes referred to as Post-Millennials or Centennials, are reaching maturity and entering the workforce in earnest. In one of the first major studies of this new generation, Pew Research identified them as the most ethnically diverse, educated, and technology savvy ever seen, with the highest rate of cell phone ownership and social media presence of any generation before them. Companies hoping to provide a satisfying recognition experience for Gen Z must take these factors into account. On the retention side of things, Universum recently carried out a major survey of 47,000 Gen Z-ers and found (perhaps unsurprisingly) that job security and work-life balance are their top career concerns.

If any of this seems daunting, don’t fret. There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future of employee recognition and satisfaction. Recognition providers are taking on larger roles as strategic partners, helping companies create end-to-end strategies that blend rewards, culture, and thought leadership into an overall experience that can affect meaningful change in several areas. The nature of workplace satisfaction may continue to evolve, but thanks to that very same evolution employers have more resources than ever to stay ahead of the game.

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