What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to their work, their team’s goals, and their company’s mission. Engagement can be the difference between an employee who just does enough to get by and an employee who always goes the extra mile. It’s the source of many important workplace benefits, as we’ll see shortly.
However, understanding and measuring engagement isn’t as simple as deciding if someone is “engaged” or “disengaged”—there is a spectrum or range that most employees fall somewhere on. And where they end up on that range is likely to make a bigger impact on your organization’s goals than you might realize.
Without further ado, let’s dive right in to the statistics of the big picture impacts of employee engagement.
How engaged are most employees?
First, let’s establish a baseline. Knowing the engagement levels of employees across the workforce is crucial to understanding where your own company is currently at.
1. Only 34% of American workers report feeling engaged at their jobs.
Employee engagement trends fluctuate from year to year, but one trend typically stays the same: workplace engagement tends to be a major challenge for most employers. Up to 53% of employees are not engaged with their work at all, spelling trouble for their productivity and quality of work.
How would your morale as an employee (or even as a customer) be impacted when the majority of those you interact with are mentally checked out?
Needless to say, organizations have a lot of ground to cover in terms of better engaging their employees.
2. 17% of workers are actively disengaged at work.
While engagement falls on a spectrum, almost one fifth of employees are actively disengaged. This can have a toxic effect on not only them, but their teams, their leaders, and the customers they interact with.
We’ve all likely been on the receiving end of less-than-stellar customer service. How did you feel after? What impression did it make on the organization?
More often than not, poor customer experiences make us want to write off the entire company—so almost 20% of workers being disengaged could spell trouble for customer retention, client retention, and employee morale overall.
So, how do we fix this? 🛠
What factors in the workplace impact engagement the most?
3. Highly engaged organizations are more likely than other organizations to measure engagement, and they are more likely to measure it more than once a year.
Organizations that prioritize employee engagement enough to survey their team members about it tend to be more engaged overall. Surprise!
Establishing benchmarks and being open to feedback with pulse surveys shows that a company is willing to listen to their employees’ concerns and take action on them. It’s no wonder that highly engaged organizations are closely correlated with the act of measuring engagement.
4. Managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores.
According to Gallup, your manager can make or break your employee experience.
It’s not where you work, it’s who you work for. 💡
Trust in the workplace matters, and it’s a two-way street. Employees expect their leaders to be transparent about changes that may impact them, look out and act in their best interests, and offer support when it’s needed—and if these expectations aren’t met, employees will not feel confident in or committed to their leaders.
Good managers—those that offer recognition, compassion, and support, want to support their employees’ learning and development—make a huge impact on engagement levels. Similarly, micro-managers, incompetent or untrustworthy managers, and aggressive managers can make work feel like a chore.
5. Highly Engaged employees are 2.1x more likely to work for a company with an employee recognition program than Actively Disengaged employees.
The results are in—recognition matters!
Receiving affirmation and recognition for our hard work and achievements is incredibly validating—and on the same note, having our best work go ignored and unnoticed is deeply discouraging and demotivating.
6. 91% of Highly Engaged employees are satisfied with their professional development opportunities compared to only 28% of Actively Disengaged employees.
Humans want to flourish, grow, and learn. When employees have those opportunities, they’re more likely to connect with their work and genuinely strive to do better.
On the flipside, when an employee feels stagnant or stifled, feelings of apathy and boredom can quickly develop and worsen. If there’s no room to grow, employees are unlikely to be engaged with their work.
7. Highly Engaged employees are 3.3x more likely to feel like they receive adequate feedback for their role and contributions than Actively Disengaged employees.
Feedback is how we learn. Without it, it’s hard to definitively know if we’re doing the right thing, or if there is a better way.
Too many managers make the mistake of only giving one kind of feedback—either criticism or praise. Nobody enjoys being criticized and never recognized for what they do, but there are downsides to only receiving praise, too. Too much praise, without a sense of how employees can grow, improve, or move to the next level, can ring hollow and be ultimately detrimental to an employee’s development.
Here’s the key: coach employees in a way that encourages growth. Recognize what people do well, be radically candid about what could be done better, and always offer support and cheerleading for areas of growth, development, and extended learning.
How does engagement impact employee and business performance?
8. Over 60% of highly-engaged employees feel their work positively affects their physical health.
When employees are burned out, stressed, and overwhelmed, they’re more likely to get sick. On the flip side, when employees feel like their work and lives are balanced, they have the resources they need to be successful. Plus, being recognized and appreciated always gives a nice jolt of energy. 😉⚡️
9. Engaged employees are 21% more productive than unengaged employees.
Makes sense, doesn’t it? When teams are engaged and connected to their work, they’re more likely to be productive than unengaged teams.
Productive employees benefit companies in every way, from increasing profitability to optimizing resources. Productivity is very closely tied to companies’ profitability and is a top driver of success at modern companies.
10. Companies with highly engaged employees see 59% less turnover.
Engaged employees show up to work—and stay there.
Simply put, engaged employees find purpose in their work, making it easier to be excited about each new day. Along with everything else engaged employees bring to the table, the simple act of staying means that their companies are saving thousands on turnover and recruitment costs each year.
Plus, the institutional knowledge built and retained? That’s just the cherry on top of an employee engagement sundae. 🍒
11. Engaged teams generate 22% more profit for their organizations.
In this study done back in 2013, results showed that companies with engaged employees have higher earnings per share, and these companies also recovered from the recession at a faster rate.
Interestingly, there’s a difference between highly engaged teams and averagely engaged teams.
When companies have an average of nine engaged employees to every one disengaged employees, they typically see 147% higher earnings per share. However, when you drop those engaged employees down to around three for every one disengaged employee, these companies actually see 2% lower earnings per share compared to their competition.
Having engaged team members is an accomplishment, but there’s always room to grow—and your company’s profits will thank you for it.
It may seem intuitive that engaged teams, by nature of being more committed and interested in their work, are more efficient, profitable and more likely to remain employed. After all—happiness is contagious, and when a team works well it together, they’re more committed to each other and their mutual goals, even beyond the organization.
By developing an understanding about the state of engagement in their organization and improving that engagement, leaders are taking a critical step towards building a happier and healthier workforce.
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