Key Trends in Engagement Research

Bloomberg’s Bureau of National Affairs estimates that $11 billion is lost annually due to employee turnover, which can often be attributed to employee disengagement. Additionally, Gallup estimates that actively disengaged employees — those who continually express their unhappiness with work, which creates a toxic environment around them — cost the United States anywhere from $483 billion to $605 billion each year in lost productivity.

With those startling numbers in mind, PoliteMail set out to find out some of the top trends and drivers in employee engagement. Here’s a roundup of some of the best research on the topic.

Gallup: Employee Engagement Research

Gallup, which has been tracking employee engagement since 2000, found in its State of the American Workplace report that just 33% of U.S. workers are engaged in their work — the highest percentage in Gallup’s 17 years of tracking engagement.

But that means 51% of employees are not engaged. Furthermore, the report found that employees overall have little faith in their company leadership:

  • 22% of employees strongly agree the leadership of their organization has a clear direction for the organization
  • 15% of employees strongly agree the leadership of their organization makes them enthusiastic about the future
  • 13% of employees strongly agree the leadership of their organization communicates effectively with the rest of the organization

In its Executive Summary, the report urges leaders to “decide what role they want to play in their organization — now in the midst of change and in the future.”

Dale Carnegie: What Drives Employee Engagement and Why It Matters

In a survey of 1,500 employees throughout the United States, Dale Carnegie Training (in association with MSW Research) found that there are three key drivers of employee engagement:

  • Relationship with immediate supervisor
  • Belief in senior leadership
  • Pride in working for the company

Given Gallup and Dale Carnegie Training’s reports, business leaders must improve employee engagement in their organizations.

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM): Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

SHRM’s Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement report was published in April 2016. According to the report, the leading job satisfaction contributors were:

  • Respectful treatment of all employees, at all levels
  • Compensation and pay
  • Overall benefits package
  • Job security
  • Trust between employees and senior management

The report reinforces that while pay and benefits are a big motivator for keeping employees engaged, intangible factors including trust and respect are equally significant.

Deloitte: 2017 Global Human Capital Trends

As the workforce becomes more digital, diverse and automated, Deloitte calls for new HR rules in its February 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report.

According to the report, nearly 80% of executives rated employee experience important or very important, but only 22% believed their businesses were excellent at building a differentiated employee experience.

The survey also found that companies are studying employee journeys, workforce needs, and Net Promoter Scores to better understand the employee experience. Workplace redesign, employee well-being and work productivity systems are also becoming part of the mandate for HR.

Aon Hewitt: 2016 Trends in Global Employee Engagement

While Deloitte’s mandate to HR to focus on understanding the employee experience and improve their well-being at work, Aon Hewitt’s research offers some ideas on how.

Their study on trends in global employee engagement found that North American employee engagement had risen slightly (from 64% to 65%) in the past year.

According to the report, executives and managers should embrace continuous listening — gathering feedback across the entire employee lifecycle, from onboarding through the exit interview, and taking action accordingly — to further increase engagement.

Apply the Research to Your Internal Communications

The research clearly shows how important it is to engage your employees — and offers some ideas on how to do so. One way to start? Focus on open internal communications. Good communication builds trust, loyalty and pride for employees — and 54% of employees who are proud of their company are engaged.

Ready to start engaging and getting the most from your internal emails, social media and other platforms? Download PoliteMail’s Guide to Internal Communications Measurement.

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