Employee Engagement is Continuing to Drop
Gallup research showed that in 2021, for the first time in a decade, employee engagement had dropped. Employee engagement went from 36% in 2020 to 34% in 2021. Their most recent report shows that the trend is continuing in 2022. 32% of full- and part-time employees working for organizations are now engaged. 17% are employees are now actively disengaged, which is an increase of one percentage point from last year. That makes the current ratio of engaged to actively disengaged workers in the U.S. 1.9 to 1, down from 2.1 to 1 in 2021 and 2.6 to 1 in 2020.
What Can Leaders Do?
This dramatic shift in employee engagement levels on top of unprecedented challenges leadership has been facing since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, has many leaders at a loss about what their next steps should be. While it may seem overwhelming at first, there is a solution. Research shows that the more support you offer your employees, the greater their engagement levels will be. Implementing the following engagement drivers is sure to help you see a significant increase in company-wide engagement:
- Offer Meaningful Incentives: When done correctly, incentives are a great driving force for employee engagement. Connect with employees either one-on-one, in focus groups, or through a pulse survey to determine what incentives will be most meaningful to them You can also learn more about implementing incentives on our past blog post.
- Provide Clear and Frequent Communication: Employees need to hear from leadership to feel connected to the organization. Take the time to make sure your organizational priorities are clear and communicate as changes occur. It is also a good idea to frequently communicate the resources and benefits that are available to employees.
- Explain the “Why”: A sense of purpose is essential to employee engagement. Make sure the “why” of your organization is clear to all employees and frequently highlight how each individual plays a role in the success of achieving that “why.”
- Promote Engagement as the Cultural Norm: Take advantage of the onboarding process and emphasize the benefits and joy that come from engaging in cultural company activities. Having engaged peers helps to create camaraderie, friendly competition, encouragement, and accountability.
- Show You Care and Be Supportive: Knowing your employees well and showing that you are invested in their success and overall well-being drastically improves both their engagement levels and motivation. From there, support each individual, be invested in their growth and offer assistance or guidance when they need it.
- Be Authentic: Authentic leadership is one of the best ways to improve both motivation and engagement. Building trust and positive relationships within your organization inspires authentic behavior from everyone, which creates an environment that fosters engagement.
- Empower Employees: CLL’s research on high-potential talent has found that high potentials don’t just want more responsibility in developmental assignments. What will increase their commitment and engagement to the organization, as well as their motivation to succeed, is more decision-making authority in developmental assignments.
- Affirmation and Recognition: Being recognized for completing goals or simply a job well done has the power to fully unlock employee motivation. Employees who feel appreciated and valued are naturally more motivated to continue.