2016 Employee Engagement Predictions by TINYpulse

Part of keeping employees growing in the workplace is making sure they are engaged.  That's why we love the information collected from our friends at TINYpulse, and we love when they guest post on our site!

Welcome to 2016! We at TINYpulse look forward to another year of making employees happier and improving engagement in the workplace.

Our research — including our recently released 2015 Employee Engagement Report — has given us plenty of eye-opening insight into the factors affecting the workforce. There will be challenges, no doubt, but also plenty of opportunities. So what’s in store for the new year? Here are some of our top predictions:


Companies need to up their onboarding game

At TINYpulse, we have long argued that employee onboarding should move beyond the old standby of a stack of paperwork and passively watching presentations — it has to lay out a plan and engage new hires. This need is reinforced by our finding in the 2015 report that employees are concerned about fulfilling their potential at work.

Onboarding will need to become a more active, future-oriented process that allows employees to hit the ground running with a plan for their growth within the company. Without it, employees will flounder.

Peer-to-peer recognition will grow

The percentage of employees giving peer recognition has been growing over the past couple years:

  • Our 2013 report showed that, when offered a simple tool to do so, 36% of all workers will provide peer recognition on an ongoing basis
  • Our 2014 report showed that, when offered a simple tool to do so, 44% of all workers will provide peer recognition on an ongoing basis

And there’s no sign of this trend slowing down. In 2016, watch for coworkers to be an even more prominent source of workplace recognition. Give them support in doing so — they’re a rich resource for boosting employee appreciation that’s just waiting to be tapped.

Personal accountability will be the major theme

The findings of our 2015 Employee Engagement report show that employees are owning their personal accountability in their workplace experience. Take advantage of this initiative by focusing on engagement strategies that make employees an active part of the process. Your workforce is driven to fulfill their potential, so treat them as partners in engagement.

Employees will quit — and it might not be who you suspect

With the job market recovering and the unemployment rate going down, watch out for a new turnover risk: the “middle of the pack” employees who are neither strongly engaged nor terribly disengaged. The low commitment level of these workers may not have been an issue when it was an employers’ market and alternate options were scarce. As more opportunities open up, they’ll easily drift away. To avoid scrambling for replacements, companies must get ahead of the trend and save those whose engagement can be saved — and let go of those who can’t.

engage message cloud shape

Employees will start to manage “sideways”

Our 2015 report found that employees consider coworkers the number one thing they love about their jobs. At the same time, bad coworkers are the number one obstacle to productivity. So forget about managing upward — we’ll see an increase in managing “sideways” too, as employees push their peers to be the teammates they need.

Managers should keep an eye on the team dynamic to minimize friction, but this will also be a great opportunity for employees to play an active role in keeping themselves engaged and productive.

Millennials will be large and in charge

Since millennials became the largest generation in the workforce this past year, they will start dominating workplace culture. Pay attention to the company values that they prioritize, from collaboration and social responsibility to flexibility and work-life integration.

Want more employee engagement predictions for 2016? Read the full list of 16 predictions by downloading our 2015 Employee Engagement Report!


Dora is an employee engagement researcher for TINYpulse and managing editor of TINYinstitute. Having grown up in Texas, she is now firmly settled in Seattle, where she spends her free time reading comic books, wrangling her three cats, and (of course) rooting for the Seahawks.

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