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The 10 Key Findings of Gallup’s New Employee Engagement Report

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Gallup, a  recognized and respected American research-based, global performance management consulting company, has just released its annual Employee Engagement report. From January to June 2018, Gallup has surveyed over 30,000 working adults across the United States to determine the current state of employee engagement in the nation.

Has employee recognition improved over the years? How do companies support their specific recognition efforts?

Here’s what Gallup found.

The 10 Key Findings of Gallup’s New Employee Engagement Report

Employee engagement in the U.S. has never been this good

The 2018 Gallup report found that 34% of U.S. workers are considered “engaged”, compared with 33% in 2017. “Engaged” employee are defined as enthusiastic, motivated employees, who are genuinely committed to their work and company. Although the increase might seem quite insignificant, it’s important to mention that by comparison in 2009, only 28% of U.S. workers were engaged. This report shows that employee engagement has steadily improved over the years.

The percentage of “actively disengaged” workers has never been so low

“Actively disengaged” employees, who basically work for a paycheck and have absolutely no interest in their jobs or companies, now amount to 13% of American workers. By comparison, during and after the U.S. recession, in 2007-2008, 20% of employees were considered “actively disengaged”, so it’s definitely an important step up.

The majority of American workers remain “unengaged” at work

However positive these results are, 53% of U.S. workers are still “not engaged” at work, meaning they may be generally satisfied by their work, yet fail to be emotionally and cognitively connected to their work and company.

The increase in employee engagement can be partially attributed to a decline in unemployment and underemployment in recent years

Unfortunately, the increase in employee engagement does not mean that company culture as a whole is getting better. Only that previously disengaged workers now have more options to change jobs. More work options allows employees to choose the job they prefer.

The increase in employee turnover could actually be linked to higher engagement

There’s a catch:  it’s increased only if you take the big picture into account. In recent years, turnover rates have slightly increased. This may have influenced overall employee engagement percentages since new hires usually experience a positive bump in their engagement levels. That’s called the “honeymoon effect”.

Employee satisfaction increases with tangible benefits

The report also mentions that tangible benefits, such as a better salary, more vacation days given, or an improved retirement plan, tend to improve overall employee satisfaction.

Benefits and perks alone cannot improve employee engagement in the long run

Employee engagement is only effective when companies make profound changes in their management style, their recognition practices, as well as the overall work environment they offer employees. As a result, employee perks aren’t nearly enough to sustain employee engagement over the long haul.

Employees are increasingly satisfied with the recognition they receive at work

The Gallup report highlights the importance of recognition at work, which has improved over the years. This implies recognition for work accomplishments and positive working relationships with both co-workers and managers.

70% of the variance in team engagement is explained by the quality of the manager, or team leader.

That’s quite an interesting figure. It echoes previous Gallup studies that discovered that employees generally don’t leave a company; they leave a boss.

All positive changes in employee engagement can be attributed to the efforts companies make in building a culture of high development experiences

This is largely due to the fact that companies have educated their leaders on a new way of managing, relying on competencies development. In the end, employee engagement has little to do with fancy perks and benefits.