Is employee engagement on the decline?

Employee engagement is an important indicator of your company’s health. Engaged employees are more productive, happier, and overall, do better work. Keeping employees engaged, therefore, is an important part of any business strategy.  

In 2023, are employees engaged? Studies show, not as much as they could be. In this issue of The Pulse, we look at the state of employee engagement.  

Employee engagement is consistently low.  

A recent Gallup study revealed that 85% of global employees don’t feel engaged in their workplace. Meaning, only 15% of employees are engaged with the work they’re doing.  

That might seem like a catastrophic statistic, but you might be shocked to know, it’s pretty normal, despite experiencing a recent, significant drop. In 2022, employee engagement actually reached record highs, with 23% of employees reporting they felt engaged with their work.  

While an 8% drop is significant, it’s not entirely unexpected.  

So, if employee engagement is typically low, why bother trying to change it? 

Disengagement costs you.  

There is a price to low employee engagement. According to Team Stage, disengaged workers “have 37% higher absenteeism and 49% more accidents. They also make 60% more errors.”  

In contrast, companies with higher employee engagement see an average of 21% higher profitability, as well as better client relations.  

So how do you fix it?  

Employee disengagement has a lot to do with job stressors. The Gallup study found “44% of employees said they experienced a lot of stress the previous day.”  

High stress levels lead to exhaustion, burnout, compassion-fatigue, and overall lower engagement.  

Employee stress isn’t a problem you can will away, either. It takes meaningful work to resolve. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, “organizations that try to buy their employees’ enthusiasm and commitment are likely to be disappointed. While higher pay and better benefits generally improve a worker’s satisfaction and overall contentment, they don’t truly drive engagement and the extra effort that comes with it.” 

The best way to lower employee stress and increase engagement is by paying more attention to their needs.  

What employees need for better engagement. 

The Society for Human Resource Management says that, to support meaningful employee engagement, some of the things employees need include:  

  • The right tools to do their jobs – otherwise known as an ‘enabling infrastructure.’ 
  • Individual attention from their managers/supervisors. 
  • Training, coaching, and opportunities for continuous development. 
  • Proof that their voices matter, and that they’re being listened to by higher-ups. 
  • Social connections with their colleagues. 
  • Opportunities to give back to the community/service projects.  
  • Impactful recognition for their work. 

In conclusion… 

Employee engagement is suffering all around the world in 2023. However, if your business is suffering from low employee engagement, there are solutions to take before it becomes a crisis.