Employee engagement, loosely described as the mental and emotional connection people feel toward their work, directly impacts your bottom line.
Before we look at the employee engagement statistics we’ve gathered for this article, we’ll quickly define employee engagement, provide some reasons why employee engagement matters, and then briefly look at some factors impacting employee engagement.
What Is Employee Engagement?
A comprehensive definition of employee engagement is provided by Engage For Success, a voluntary movement that promotes employee engagement.
They describe employee engagement as “a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members of an organization to give their best each day, committed to their organization's goals and values, motivated to contribute to organizational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being.”
Writing for Forbes.com, Kevin Kruse, the author of the book Great Leaders Have No Rules, advises that employee engagement is not the same as employee happiness.
Kruse argues that an employee can be happy and still not be productive. He also says employee engagement is not the same as employee satisfaction because an employee can be satisfied and still fail to go the extra mile.
From the insights above, employee engagement can be defined as a situation where an employee is emotionally invested in their company. This means that the employee cares whether the company succeeds, will defend it when it's criticized, and approaches their work with enthusiasm. This implies “the commitment your people have to the organization and its goals.”
As such, employee engagement is closely tied to productivity levels and employee retention.
Employee Engagement Statistics
It’s easy to make statements about employee engagement and how it’s good for your organization, but what do the numbers say?
We found 16 employee engagement statistics that we believe every manager should know in 2023:
1. As Low As 21% Of Employees Are Actively Engaged Globally
In its State of the Global Workplace 2022 report, Gallup concludes that only “21% of employees are engaged at work.” As per the report, global employee engagement and well-being remain stagnant, but they’re not great.
Even though the Gallup report paints somewhat of a grim picture, other organizations looking at engagement levels across the globe present higher rates of engagement.
For instance, Kincentric, a provider of employee engagement solutions, states that globally 62% of employees were engaged in 2022 Q1 as compared to 68% in 2021. However, Kincentric only collects data from its clients
2. Engagement Levels In The US Dropped 2 Percentage Points In 2022
Gallup reports that, since it started reporting employee engagement, the highest percentage of engaged employees it’s ever recorded in the US was 36% in 2020. It fell to 34% in 2021, and the trend continues in 2022 as well, with only 32% of engaged employees.
Gallup attributes the rising levels of employee engagement in the US to a fall in the number of opportunities for development, limited clarity of expectations, and not feeling valued at work.
3. APAC And Sub-Saharan Africa Have The Highest Levels Of Engagement
According to data collected by Kincentric from its clients for the first quarter of 2022, the highest employee engagement levels are in the APAC (Asia Pacific) region and Sub-Saharan Africa, at 68%.
4. Employee Engagement By Region
For the rest of the world, LATAM (Latin America) follows the APAC region and Sub-Saharan Africa at 63%. North America at 61%, MENA (Middle East North Africa) at 55%, and Europe at 52%, follow.
6. Slump In The Levels Of Employee Engagement
Generally, when looked at from a historical perspective, the analysis by Gallup presents that the ratio of engaged to disengaged employees in the US fell from 2.1 to 1 in 2021 to 1.9 to 1 in 2022. The ratios in 2020 and 2019 were 2.6 to 1 and 2.7 to 1, respectively
7. Increasing Levels Of Actively Disengaged Employees
Gallup describes actively disengaged employees as “those who have miserable work experiences and spread their unhappiness to their colleagues.” From data collected from a random sample of 14,705 full- and part-time employees in the US, Gallup recorded an increase in the percentage of actively disengaged employees in early 2022, at 17%.
8. Top 3 Companies Leading In Employee Engagement
Great Place to Work, a company that assists businesses in becoming great places to work, presented 2022’s top companies in terms of engagement. The following are the top 3:
- Cisco: Employees feel that the management is honest, employees care about each other, and people are at the center of company processes.
- Hilton: Employees believe the company invests in them and encourages a spirit of entrepreneurship.
- Wegmans Food Markets Inc: Its employees praise it as the company where “employees can follow the American Dream” through the many developments and learning opportunities.
9. Employee Engagement Boosts Results
Companies with engaged employees show better results when compared to those that do not. Gallup compared business units with high engagement levels with those that don’t and came up with the following conclusions. Its employee engagement survey reveals that engaged employees:
- Increase productivity by 14%
- Increase customer ratings by 10%
- Increase sales by 18%
- Increase profitability by 23%
- Increase organizational participation by 13%
10. The Cost Of Disengaged Employees
It’s estimated that actively disengaged and not engaged employees cost $7.8 trillion to companies globally in lost productivity. This figure equates to 11% of global GDP.
11. Engaged business units are more profitable
Another Gallup study concluded that “the behaviors of highly engaged business units result in 21% greater profitability.” The same study says that when employees are engaged they are less likely to leave.
It says that “highly engaged business units achieve 59% less turnover” in high turnover organizations and “24% less turnover” in low turnover organizations.
12. Measure Employee Engagement The Right Way
Managers play a big role in employee engagement and growth. So it’s important for them to have motivating communication with their team members.
Gallup surveyed over 2.7 million employees globally to come up with the 12 questions to help companies measure and boost employee engagement. This survey aims to open a dialogue between managers and their teams.
13. Regular Employee Feedback Is Key To Higher Employee Engagement
69% of employees feel that they’d be motivated to work harder and will be more engaged if they feel like their efforts are recognized.
Similarly, over 85% of employees feel that they’re more motivated to work when the management updates them on company news regularly.
14. Companies are now focusing more on productivity and engagement than just performance
Unsurprisingly considering the importance of employee engagement, according to the Performance Management Report, almost 48% of companies have started focusing on productivity and engagement rather than just development.
15. Learning and development lead to higher engagement
A study by Udemy found that 80% of people felt learning new skills would make them more engaged at work.
16. Engagement and burnout are a balance
A study by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence showed that 1 in 5 employees were highly engaged and still at risk of burnout.
While burnout is often thought to be a cause of disengagement, it stands to reason that highly engaged employees can burn out as a result of overworking.
How To Encourage Employee Engagement
Based on the above, what factors should organizations that are seeking to boost employee engagement focus on?
Develop good managers
Managers play a huge role in determining whether employees are committed to the organizations they work for or not. To have a positive role, managers need to provide regular feedback to employees and keep them updated with company news.
Provide learning and development opportunities
As we've seen from the companies reporting high levels of engagement, when people feel like they’re growing and developing new skills they’re much more likely to be engaged in their job.
That’s why it’s worth taking the time to develop a proper learning and development strategy, with the added benefit that this will improve overall job performance too.
Keep an eye on burnout
As we’ve seen, even highly engaged employees are at risk of burnout. Here’s how to identify, pre-empt, and deal with workplace burnout.
Want to really increase engagement? Ask your people
When you look at the engagement levels from Gallup, they're not great. But it's only a small sample size really.
When it comes to measuring engagement levels in your organization, the best method is to ask your employees! You can do this through engagement surveys, stay interviews, or just regular, informal conversations.
Here are 8 effective methods to get employee feedback. Once spent time gathering feedback, keep employees in the loop with any changes you choose to make (or why you don't). Not at least acknowledging any issues that arise from your research is a great way to un-engage people.
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