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Most businesses recognize the urgent need to attract, retain and engage their employees, but as they look toward the future of their engagement strategies, many factors are interfering with their long-term planning. When planners are faced with so many unknowns and blind spots, agility can be a powerful tool.

But only 28% of U.S. HR leaders say their employee engagement strategy allows them to adapt quickly to the needs of employees as they change. 

Our latest research on employee engagement trends for 2023 revealed key factors that are inhibiting long-term planning for HR. Let’s take a closer look at how these are impacting businesses, and how to make your strategies flexible and built to last.

factors interfering with long-term planning

Inflation and rising cost of living


29% of respondents pointed to inflationary pressures getting in the way of planning for new initiatives in 2023. Rising costs and limited budgets are familiar challenges for most organizations, and as teams strive to adapt and find ways to do more with less, new employee engagement initiatives have fallen down their list of priorities.

Remember that while businesses face increased costs, so do employees, and developing new ways to keep your teams engaged and motivated is more important than ever. Employee engagement doesn’t have to be expensive, and there are many low-cost initiatives to look at even during challenging financial times. In fact, in 2022 we found that 75% of employees plan to spend their rewards on essentials, rather than on luxuries. Consider budget-friendly ways to recognize and boost morale, or stretch their disposable income to help them deal with inflation.

The pandemic

While it might feel like we’re nearly out of the woods, the pandemic is still a top concern for 31% of respondents. For many businesses, the pandemic still presents a great uncertainty for the future, while other businesses are still getting back on their feet after a few difficult years.

The pandemic has also changed how and where we work, and has led to a new wave of hybrid and remote working that is here to stay. Finding new ways to motivate your hybrid or remote workforce, as well as providing them with tools to recognize each other are great ways to future-proof your engagement strategy to withstand change.

As we think about planning for the future, developing a strategy that is flexible and can support employees no matter where they work is essential. 

Executive buy-in

executive buy-inStruggling to gain necessary buy-in is a common challenge, with 29% of respondents citing this as a main obstacle in planning for future initiatives. As executives navigate many global challenges and work to keep businesses operating smoothly, it can be hard to guide their focus to employee engagement strategies.

We know that engaged employees are happier, more productive and more likely to stay with the business, but your stakeholders need to see this positive impact to prioritize it. To keep your engagement ideas on their list, make sure you building a strong business case for employee engagement and proving the ROI your initiatives will have through real data.

To find more compelling statistics to build your business case and understand how to navigate competing priorities, download The 2023 Employee Engagement Trends Report.

Download report »

George Dixon

As the U.S. Director of Consultancy, George lives to empower companies with the tools to engage employees and develop meaningful connections. He mostly lives off of Red Bulls, and is always looking forward to his next round of golf.

U.S. Director of Consultancy

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