Lack of employee engagement continues to dog organisations around the world

A declining share of employees said they were motivated to go above and beyond at work, or were inspired to do their best work, according to the latest employee engagement benchmark data from QualtricsA declining share of employees said they were motivated to go above and beyond at work, or were inspired to do their best work, according to the latest employee engagement benchmark data from Qualtrics. The new proprietary data – aggregated from thousands of employee engagement surveys administered in 2022 – shows symptoms of burnout and a significant drop in confidence in leaders from 2020, when the pandemic ‘upended workplaces’ around the world. The report argues that employees are willing to tell their employers that they were struggling, and if something doesn’t change, they may look for a new job. Labour productivity also reflected this drop in motivation, the report claims.

“This is an example of where the data backs up the zeitgeist and buzzwords like ‘quiet quitting’ – employees are struggling and looking for ways to improve their relationship with work,” said Sarah Marrs, Director of Employee Experience Strategy Execution at Qualtrics. “As leaders focus on productivity, listening to employees can help create a better workplace experience with employees that are both productive and engaged.”

The findings come from new proprietary benchmark data from Qualtrics, representing 19 million employee responses to their companies’ employee experience surveys. The responses span 865 companies, including companies among the Fortune 500 and FTSE 100, and offer a unique look at what employees are reporting to company leaders around the world about their engagement and experiences with work.

In the early days of the pandemic, the world saw people band together to support each other, including among employees. The share of global employees who said they were willing to put in extra effort beyond what’s expected of them jumped from 77 percent in 2019 to 89 percent in 2020. Since then though, that percentage has declined and is now just below that pre-pandemic level. Employees saw a significant drop-off in motivation in Germany, while employees in the United States and Australia are among the most motivated and saw small declines in motivation.

Workers are also signalling a change in their overall relationship with work compared with pre-pandemic norms – 71 percent of workers said their organization inspired them to do their best work in 2022, down from 75 percent in 2019.

The share of employees planning to stay with their current company for three or more years fell to 68 percent, five percentage points lower than in 2020. This may be an attempt to relieve symptoms of burnout; Qualtrics research has found that 57 percent of job seekers believe a new job will help them feel less burned out.

Employees may also be more inclined to find a new job instead of waiting for things to change as their confidence in senior leadership to make the right decisions for the company has declined. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of employees had confidence in senior management in 2020, but this has since fallen to 70 percent.

Growth and development is a key driver of employee engagement, and about three-quarters of global employees said they have good opportunities to learn and develop at their companies.

However, just 61 percent of employees said they have a clear understanding of what steps to take to build their careers, a gap that could impact long-term employee engagement. This could be due to a simple lack of awareness, which was the most common reason career resources weren’t used, according to a joint study from Qualtrics and Charter. Clearly defined career development paths can be hugely beneficial for organizations, retaining institutional knowledge from top performers and avoiding the time and expense of finding and onboarding new employees.