Posted by Dr. Linda Sharkey on 4.11.2019
"Dr. Sharkey, I’m always focused on employee engagement. I know it’s been a long-talked-about topic, but I also know it’s constantly changing -- along with employees’ needs, culture, technology, etc. How do you feel employee engagement will change by 2030?"
Wow, 2030 seems so far in the future but in reality, it’s only 11 years away.
Employee engagement will change dramatically because the working world is changing dramatically. The need for human connection and touch will increase exponentially but will look very different and go even deeper.
In 11 years, the world of work and life will be driven even more by AI and technology. The risk of isolation becomes greater and we are already seeing signs of that. Robots are taking over for people in gaming and children are connecting with online pets in ways that never happened before.
While technology has the power to strip us of our personal connections, it can also enable improved interactions if we use it effectively in business. The key for any organization is to make conscious and concrete efforts to foster emotional connections.
Future technology will continue to be a great equalizer when it comes to employee engagement. People are connecting from all over the world without regard for disabilities, color, gender, and creed, and they are able to form deep bonds. Colleagues communicate about ideas and issues. These kinds of bonds can be the lifeline of a company if you foster it correctly.
One example of how employee engagement is already changing was shown in a recent story featured on BBC. A young man named Mats Sheen was severely disabled but in his virtual world, people did not know that. They knew him for who he was as a person and their interaction with him. His online friends bonded on the soul level. Ultimately, Sheen passed and many of his online friends flew from all over the world to pay respect to him and his family.
This is a powerful example of employee engagement that goes far beyond the typical water cooler connection. I think 2030 will be emotionally exciting in ways we never expected. We need to start embracing the power of technology to build these deep bonds now and, if we do, colleagues will engage in ways we never dreamed of.