For any business to be successful, the workforce must be productive. If employees are not engaged in their jobs, the business suffers. If you are an employee, knowing the stats we will talk about below, can help you decide which industry offers the most engaging jobs or environment. They will also give you an insight into why you may be disengaged and how you can change that. Similarly, if you are an employer, knowing the following information can help you decide how to improve job engagement for your employees.
Key Employee Engagement Statistics
- Gallup conducted a study in April 2022 on the decline in American workers’ engagement. According to the study, from 2020 to 2021, employee engagement dropped from 36% to 34%, and the decline continued until early 2022. 17% of employees were actively disengaged by then.
- According to a Contact Monkey article in October 2021, tech companies have the highest employee engagement. These companies are mostly American, like Microsoft, Apple, and MasterCard.
- According to an HRReporters article published in July 2022, global engagement increased up to a three-year high, 73%, in the 2nd quarter of 2020. It was 67% in the 1st quarter of 2020 and throughout 2019. The unemployment level got up to 16% due to the pandemic, while employee engagement was as high as 83%.
- Elmo, a cloud-based software company, wrote an article in January 2022 which mentioned a Gallup study to explain the causes of disengagement. The study found that 71% of the workforce is not engaged, and 15% are “actively disengaged” or unhappy at work.
- To increase employee engagement, researchers of the Harvard Business Review believe that employers must connect with the values their workers care about and create “time affluence” or make more time. The research was published in October 2021.
- A 2-year study done by Stanford University on remote work found that people working from home are 13.5% more likely to be productive than those working from their offices. Remote workers are also 9% more engaged in their jobs and 50% less likely to quit.
- A 2021 survey by Joblist discovered that 73% of the employees would consider quitting their job even when they are not finding new jobs.
What Percentage of Employees Are Engaged at Work?
1. The U.S.
In April 2022, Gallup released an article on the decline of U.S. employee engagement.
They took random samples from the working population regarding specific workplace elements such as productivity, profitability, retention, customer service and overall well-being of the employees. 14,705 full and part-time American employees did the survey.
The following is what was found about the Employees’ engagement in the U.S.
- From 2020 to 2021, employee engagement dropped for the first time in a decade. It went from 36% to 34%.
- The decline of U.S. workers’ engagement continued till early 2022. Only 32% of part and full-time employees are actively engaged in their organizations.
- 17% of employees are actively disengaged in 2022. This figure has increased only 1% since 2021.
- As of 2022, the ratio of the U.S. workers who are engaged to those who are actively disengaged is 1.9:1. In 2021, it was 2.1:1, and in 2020 it was 2.6:1. However, 2019 holds the annual record of 2.7:1 for the engaged to actively disengaged.
- The biggest decline in engagement was among healthcare workers, nine points from early 2021 to 2022.
- After healthcare workers came the managers with seven points decline from the start of 2021 till the end of that year. However, they made a comeback by three points in early 2022.
- Full-time remote and hybrid workers have an engagement of 37% compared to site workers with 29%. This means that those who work hybrid or remotely have higher levels of engagement in their work.
According to the authors of Gallup’s engagement article, engaged employees are involved and enthusiastic about their work. In contrast, the actively disengaged workers tend to be disloyal and dissatisfied with their work because most workplace needs are unmet.
In February 2020, Hrmasia, a multi-platform and events company, wrote about Asia having high levels of employee engagement. The article author cited a report by Qualtrics, an American company that prepares reports by creating surveys for its clients. According to the report, India, Thailand and Hong Kong had the highest employee engagement scores globally at 79%, 72% and 63% in 2020.
In 2020, Asia became the region with the highest levels of employee engagement. However, Singapore, South Korea and Japan scored less than 53%, which is the global average for employee engagement. Still, Malaysia ranked 7th, while Singapore, South Korea and Japan came 11th, 13th and 14th on the list of countries with the most engagement levels.
In June 2022, Gallup wrote another article on workers’ engagement, focusing on Europe. The article discusses engagement levels in several European regions and how “Europe gets life right, but work wrong”.
The article referred to the Gallup 2022 report on the State of the Global Workplace. According to this report, European workers are unhappy with their workplace. The fact that only 14% of Europe’s employees are engaged while working shows the unhappiness of European workers.
The engagement level of European workers is seven points lower than the global average of 21%. It is also nineteen points lower than the U.S. and Canada’s 33%.
Surprisingly, Europe was ranked 10th place in employee engagement by region. Europe’s ranking was lower than the Middle East and North Africa (ranked 9th) and Australia and New Zealand (ranked 8th).
Which Industries Have the Most Engaged Employees?
In October 2021, Contact Monkey, a company that helps organizations in internal communications and improve employee engagement, wrote about the top 10 companies for employee engagement. According to the article, the industries that are tech related to having the most employee engagement. These industrial tech companies include the following:
- Microsoft Corp.
- Alphabet Inc.
- Salesforce Inc.
- Cisco Systems.
Here are some of the specific reasons why these companies are excelling at employee engagement:
- Microsoft uses pulse surveys to analyze how workers are feeling. They are also used to determine the employees’ engagement trends.
- Alphabet Inc uses the 20-80 rule, which is simply 20% creative time and 80% work time. This 20-80 rule allows employees to enjoy and work without burning out. This rule helped create Google AdSense, and ads contributed up to 80% of Alphabet’s revenue in 2020.
- Salesforce gives its employees 56 hours of paid time so they can do volunteer work in their neighborhoods. Moreover, its wellness reimbursement program offers its staff $100 each month to spend on any fitness activity they like.
- Apple offers its employees free stock shares with grants from $1000- $2000.
Poll Everywhere, a private company responsible for gathering responses, wrote an article about five companies that excel at employee engagement. In the article, they mentioned companies that are peaking at employee engagement in 2017.
Companies in the travelling, hotel and vehicles industries have excellent engagement levels. The following are the companies that the article mentioned, along with some reasons why they excel at employee engagement.
Southwest Airlines has been sharing its profit with employees for about 43. In 2017 the company shared $586 million in profits by giving a 13.2% bonus to each of its 54,000 employees.
Hyatt Hotel Group
Hyatt keeps their turnovers (the rate at which employees leave a workforce) at bay. The company invests in employee development programs and hires within the company for new positions. Therefore, the workers feel obligated to the company and incentivized to grow their careers at Hyatt.
87% of the employees at CarMax rate the company as the best place to work. Nine out of ten employees think that CarMax management is ethical and honest. Moreover, 94% of the workers feel good about the way they contribute to the community, and 95% felt welcomed when they first joined the company.
Is Employee Engagement Falling Globally, and Why?
In July 2022, HRReporter group (a Canadian-based e-newsletter publisher) wrote on the fall of global employee engagement. The article mentions that the global engagement levels had risen up to 73% in the second quarter of 2020 from 67% in the first quarter of that same year.
But the rise didn’t last for long, as the peak of 73% of global engagement level dropped to 71% in the third quarter of 2020. Then the trend shifted downwards throughout 2020 before hitting the lowest of 62% in the first quarter of 2022.
The article also talked about a 2021 survey on confronting the isolation of work from home, conducted by Dialectic and Intranet Software Jostle. In this survey, the researchers found that 82% of workers faced obstacles in communication. Similarly, 83% of the workers felt not connected to their workplace culture.
So why are engagement levels falling? One reason could be high employee turnover during the Great Resignation. Low employee retention is deadly for engagement levels. In May 2022, HRReporter wrote about why workers quit. The following are the statistics:
- 47% of U.S. workers want to move to another job in hopes of seeking higher pay.
- 33% of workers quit jobs to have a better workplace culture.
- 28% of the workers describe their workplace culture as being stressful. However, only 11% agree with it.
- Only 14% of the employers realize that the workplace culture was why their workers left the job.
- 22% of workers searching for new jobs blame the poor treatment by the management as their main reason.
- 30% of employees shift jobs to look for career advancement, and 24% quit to search for flexible working time in their subsequent employment.
Did the Pandemic Impact Employee Engagement?
The data was taken from more than 700,000 responses across 8,500 organizations. This data included 470,000 responses from 6,000 organizations taken in the first five months of 2020, right around when the pandemic really started to take effect. The following is what they discovered.
- 73% of the organization had an increase in employee engagement.
- In the U.S., mainly due to the pandemic fears, the number of employees with high engagement levels declined from 78% (early January) to 70% (mid-February) in 2020.
- As more and more U.S. states in 2020 forced lockdown and strict social distancing guidelines, the 70% level of highly engaged employees in mid-Feb rose up to 83% highly engaged by late March 2020.
- Disengagement levels were 1.6 times lower in April 2020 compared to 2019.
- High engagement levels were 6.1 times greater in 2020 than in 2019.
The unemployment level got up to 16% due to the pandemic.
However, as unemployment stopped rising in the first two months of 2020, employee engagement hit the highest of 83% of highly engaged.
The researchers of the study believe that unhappy employed workers must reconsider the meaning of having a job in such desperate times. Many of their fellow workers had fallen victim to unemployment. This must have increased their level of engagement at work.
Although the pandemic halted recruitment, it also had some good outcomes for employee engagement. 88% of the employees agreed that communication with their leaders was effective. 9 out of 10 employees said that their immediate managers support them.
The study also mentions that in 2019, 70% of respondents agreed to the question that they are paid fairly. 70% of respondents to the fair pay question grew to 77% in 2020. In another question, they were asked, does their culture support their health and well-being? To this question, 82% agreed in 2019, and in 2020 it grew to 88%.
What Causes Employees to Disengage?
In January, Elmo, a cloud-based software that helps organizations with management, wrote on the causes of employee disengagement. The writers also mention Gallup’s study stating that 71% of the workforce is not engaged, while 15% are actively disengaged.
According to the study, the following are the reasons for the disengagement of the employees:
One of the main causes of disengagement at work is financial stress. The Australia Bureau of Statistics mentioned that the average weekly household gross income was $1,701, around $85,000 per annum. For New Zealand, the weekly household gross income is $1,016, which is about $76,000 per annum. If an individual is earning less than this amount, they are most likely to face money-related stress that can lead to disengagement from work.
Lack of Career Development
Meaning and purpose behind your job are necessary to keep you engaged. According to psychologists like Daniel Pink, people require roles that fulfil their urge towards mastery. When there is no purpose in your work, there is a sense of lacking in your development. Evidence from the Institute of Managers and Leaders research shows that 60% of Australian workers who took part in the survey quit their jobs because they were not given a fair chance to grow in their previous roles.
According to a report by Peakon, from analyzing over 32 million survey responses, interest is lost along with a decrease in productivity when staff members lack purpose and accomplishments. This statement was reiterated in an article by Forbes.
Stressful Work Environment
Globally, one-fourth of employees are destroying their health by overworking.
13% of Australian workers put 50 hours more than they should have into their jobs, leading them to stress.
Levels of disengagement were tremendously worse during the pandemic, as employees were forced to work from home. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, coronavirus caused one in ten Australians to feel depressed. In New Zealand, 40% of call volume increased to the mental health helpline after a few weeks of lockdown.
In 2019, Gallup published a study about employee burnout and how we can prevent it. The researchers found that the following lead to lower engagement in work.
- Unfair treatment
- Unmanageable workload
- Lack of manager support
- Unrealistic time pressure and
- Unclear communication from managers
The report also found that the boss accounts for 70% of the variance in team engagement.
Europe has a bad reputation when it comes to good bosses. 69% of German employees think they have bad managers, while 97% of German managers think they’re doing a good job.
Stats like this help explain why the engagement level in Europe is seven points lower than the average global level.
What Are the Consequences of Low Employee Engagement?
In May 2022, PostBeyond, a leading Employee Advocacy and Social Selling Platform, published an article about important employee engagement statistics. The blog used the following statistics to highlight why low employee engagement can be devastating.
- $350 million were lost from the U.S. economy due to disengaged employees, according to a Forbes article in 2019.
- Those companies with engaged employees are 21% more profitable than those with non-engaged employees.
- According to Gallup, business units with highly engaged employees are 59% less likely to experience turnover.
Guide Spark is a software company based in California that provides strategic programs and initiatives. They published an article in 2018 discussing how disengaged employees affect your organization. The author also mentioned a study conducted by Gallup which states that companies must achieve a 4:1 ratio of engaged to disengaged employees to reduce the adverse effects of disengaged workers.
The article mentioned the following effects of low engagement on an organization.
1. Disengaged workers are 60% more likely to cause errors than engaged workers in work performance.
2. 73% of actively disengaged workers tend to find new job opportunities. Moreover, companies tend to lose between $450 and $550 billion a year in turnover and lost revenue if they continue to keep disengaged workers.
3. In contrast, a team of engaged workers can achieve 17% higher productivity and decrease 41% the tendency to stay away from work.
4. Harvard Business Review studied the impact of employee engagement on performance. According to the study, 71% of business leaders and executives believe that employee engagement is fundamental to the success of a business. However, only 24% of these leaders believe their workforce to be highly engaged, and 28% feel they have disengaged employees.
In 2019, HRZone, an online human resource publication, published an article on the impacts of poor employee engagement. They are the following.
Reduced Morale and Disruption in Workplace Harmony
Disengaged workers can create obstacles in work. These obstacles reduce the entire company’s productivity and output, thus causing a loss in revenue.
Engaged workers work consistently to advance the company’s profit through innovation and new ideas. Disengaged workers do the opposite and stagnate the company’s progress.
Company resources are put to waste when disruption in work causes disorganization. This wasting only leads to monetary losses.
What Drives Employee Engagement, and How Can We Improve It?
In March 2021, Quantum Workplace published an article on the driving forces of employee engagement and methods to improve it. The article mentioned research by the same from 2020 on employee engagement trends. According to the research, the top drivers for engagement for employees include the following.
- The job must allow the employee to utilize their strengths in work.
- They should trust senior leaders to lead the company towards prosperity.
- They must believe that the company they are working in will be successful in the future. If it is already successful, then it will gain more success.
- The job should be interestingly challenging to push the workers to their limits in a healthy manner.
- The workers must look at the senior bosses of the company or organization as individuals who respect and value the opinion of their employees.
- The people working in a company must look at their jobs as opportunities to develop their careers. This would allow them to strive forwards in any work situation.
- Those at higher positions in a company or organization must motivate their juniors and those working under them. These high-post employees must strive to be ideal working models, so the employees seek inspiration from them.
In 2021 Harvard Business Review wrote on the topic of employee retention. The title of this article was how companies could improve employee engagement.
The authors of this article made a checklist of the 20 most important drivers of engagement by analyzing academic literature and collecting the original data regarding employee engagement in post-pandemic times. Then this collected data was compared to what managers of companies predicted would boost the engagement of their employees and formulated evidence-based recommendations.
Here are some ways to improve employee engagement, as suggested by the article’s authors.
Connect With What Employees Do and Care About.
The managers should revisit the company mission statement with their employees. Research has shown that people are likely to give up financial benefits to work for companies that stand for social and environmental responsibilities.
Suppose the organization’s mission is central to only making a profit and not serving the society around them. In that case, it will be hard for workers to align their goals and values towards the betterment of society, including their office peers.
Create Time Affluence
According to a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research, due to the pandemic, the average workday has increased by 48.5 minutes. Also, according to a PNAS study, the pandemic negatively affects the time affluence of men and women unevenly.
Therefore, rewarding employees with spare time from work has become necessary. Employers could do this by giving employees an extra week off like Bumble (an online dating app) did. Another way to increase the feeling of time affluence could be by encouraging the workers to invest in time-saving purchases. These time-saving purchases include housecleaning and delivery services which, in return for more leisure time, allow employees to spend money on products.
Are Remote Workers More Engaged Than On-Site Workers?
Yes! According to a Business article in 2022, remote workers are more engaged than on-site workers. The article cited data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics about the pattern of remote work proliferating these days. According to the data, by 2028, 73% of the labor market and organization teams will have remote work.
A two-year study done by Stanford University on remote work mentioned in the Business article found that those who work from home are 13.5% more likely to be productive than those who work from their offices. They are also 9% more engaged in their jobs and 50% less likely to quit.
Moreover, remote workers are more productive and happier than on-site workers. According to an Owl Lab article published in March 2022, employees said that working from home would be/ make them:
- 82% better for their mental health
- 79% less stressed
- 78% more likely to recommend their company
- 75% less likely to leave their employer
In August 2021, ZDNet posted an article about hybrid workers having more work culture. The article mentioned an ADP Research Institute study done in 2021 on working from the office compared to hybrid and remote work. The study used 9,000 U.S. full-time workers who did not switch jobs during the pandemic time as their survey sample.
The ADP study concluded that remote workers believed to have collective energy bound their teams together. 62% of the remote workers said their teams were collaborative compared to 47% of on-site workers.
Furthermore, 66% of the remote workers said their teams were more supportive than on-site workers. The researchers of the ADP institute also mention remote workers being more vibrant.
What Are the Advantages of High Employee Engagement, and Why Is It Important?
In May 2020, Vantage Circle, an organization that provides services related to achieving employee engagement goals, posted an article about the advantages of employee engagement. According to the post, employee engagement is essential because it improves the well-being of the workers. Also, high engagement motivates the workers into being more productive and aligns them to the company goals.
The blog also sheds light on the advantages of having a high engagement among employees that include the following.
Increase in Productivity
An engaged workforce is more likely to produce better outcomes in less time in terms of work efficiency. The teams that stay in touch with one another are 21% more productive than those that do not. Also, another study done by Gallup on American workplaces shows that satisfied workers are 40% more productive than dissatisfied workers. Similarly, engaged workers are 44% more effective than happy workers.
Increase in Profits
According to an article by Quantum Workplace, highly engaged organizations see an average of 20% higher revenue compared to organization that are not engaged. Research by the Harvard Business Review also suggests that the management behavior that encourages engagement also drives business results.
Improved Employee Retention Rate
In a 2021 survey done by Joblist on the U.S. job market, 73% of the employees would consider quitting their jobs even when they were not looking for any jobs in particular. The reason for which they consider quitting includes low pay, office conflicts and lack of recognition.
According to the 2020 Employee Engagement Trends Report, engaged employees are almost three times less likely to quit.
Employees are Innovative
When employees are highly engaged, they tend to find new ways to develop innovative ideas that solve complicated problems. According to several regional customer service reports, 78% of the employees who express their creativity and innovation in work are more loyal to the company.
According to an article by People Keep, a personalized benefits administration software company, the cost of a company losing an employee is 50-75% of their annual whatever salary. However, this cost can go up depending on the role of the employee lost. For example, losing a C-suite employee can cost the company 213% of their salary.
Those with low engagement levels are more likely to quit their jobs. In fact, for new workers, the training cost is high.
To sum it up, employee engagement in the U.S. has declined while Asian countries like India and Thailand have the highest engagement levels. However, individual American companies like Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet Inc have the highest employee engagement levels, thus making the tech industry the leader in employee engagement.
The global engagement level has also fallen, primarily due to the pandemic. This decline in engagement has led many employees to because of their pay, lack of career development and stressful working environment.
However, there is still hope. Managers can drive engagement by connecting to what workers care about and creating time affluence or making employees feel like they have an abundance of time.
As far as the debate between remote and office workers goes, it is pretty clear now that remote work is the winner for having high employee engagement levels. Such increased engagement can mean more profit for the business, increased employee retention and increased employee productivity.