5 Facts about Employee Engagement that Will Keep You Up at Night

By Jessica Wishart

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dateThu, May 11, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Gallup recently released the newest version of the State of the American Workplace Report. If you aren’t 5 Facts about Employee Engagement that Will Keep You Up at Nightfamiliar with this report, it is published every few years and is based on data called from more than 31 million workers. I read through the lengthy (but fascinating) report and pulled out some of the employee engagement findings that I found most alarming.

Here are 5 Employee Engagement Facts that Will Keep You Up at Night:

  1. 1. Only 29% of front-line managers are engaged. This is really scary when you consider that the engagement of your direct reports largely hinges on your engagement as a leader. “Essentially managers’ engagement directly influences their employees’ engagement, creating what Gallup calls the ‘cascade effect…’ Employees who are supervised by highly engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged than those supervised by actively disengaged managers.” If your executives and managers are disengaged, your front-line employees are likely to be disengaged as well, which impacts your customers and productivity in a huge way.
  1. 2. Employees in manufacturing jobs are the least engaged. Ok, this is really only bad news if you are in a manufacturing company. Gallup attributes this low engagement to “the traditional management mentality in this industry [which] tends to put process ahead of people.” If this research alarms you, check out this blog with tips for improving employee engagement in your manufacturing company.
  1. 3. You may be focusing on the wrong benefits. Many companies are offering free food and drinks, wellness programs, or onsite child care to be more competitive in attracting and keeping top talent. What Gallup found is that employees care most about benefits that “offer them greater flexibility, autonomy, and the ability to lead a better life.” The benefits employees would be most likely to change jobs for are better health insurance (61%), more paid vacation (53%), and monetary bonuses (54%). Many workers may feel their company’s benefits aren’t strong enough in these areas, so before you break ground on that onsite fitness center, maybe consider more flexible work hours or better insurance coverage instead.
  1. 4. Your youngest, most energetic employees may be the least engaged. “The generation with the lowest percentage of engaged employees in the workplace is millennials.” Many are lacking the development opportunities and support to grow in their roles that they need to feel engaged. The data shows that engagement tends to improve with age, and perhaps as millennials find work that better suits their skills and strengths, their engagement will increase as well. You can help your millennials along by offering coaching, development opportunities, and clearly communicating the impact of their work on your company’s core purpose.
  1. 5. Big companies struggle most with engagement. “Engagement presents the greatest challenge for companies with 1,000 or more employees.” For most mid-market companies, this is actually good news. It means you can start planning your engagement initiatives now so that as you grow and reach this tipping point, you will be prepared. Take steps now to avoid the inconsistency and misalignment that can cause employees at large companies to disengage.  Roll out processes to ensure that your team members know the company’s purpose, get face time with their managers, and understand the value of their role. Implementing Job Scorecards for your whole company can help with this.  If you have multiple levels of management skip level meetings are an effective way to increase communication.  

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Jessica Wishart


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images