October 22, 2013
There are so many references these days to employee engagement it can be tempting to see it as management speak. However, according to Gallup’s 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace, the 24 per cent of “actively disengaged,” employees worldwide who are not psychologically committed to their jobs are unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity to co-workers. It found only 13 per cent of employees worldwide are engaged at work, with the majority of employees (63%) “not engaged,” meaning they lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort in organizational goals or outcomes. In rough numbers, this translates into 900 million not engaged and 340 million actively disengaged workers around the globe.
Engagement levels among employees vary across different global regions and among countries within those regions. At the regional level, Northern America (that is, the U.S. and Canada) have the highest proportion of engaged workers, (29%), followed by Australia and New Zealand, (24%). The figures are lower for the UK, with just 17 per cent engaged, 57 per cent not engaged and 26 per cent actively disengaged.
Of course the findings also reveal differences among employees with different job types and at different education levels within countries. Recognizing these differences can help managers understand how societal factors could affect workplace characteristics and identify specific barriers they must overcome to build more engaged workforces.
The report also found that the companies most successful at engaging their employees bring the conversation of engagement into the workplace every day. It advises that it is important before organizations begin measuring engagement to communicate the reasons behind this strategic goal and the advantages for the company and the employees themselves.
Regular communication from the company’s leaders and informal communication between employees will begin to breed a culture of engagement, leading participation rates of employee engagement metrics and other interventions to be more successful.
Gallup’s research found that managers are primarily responsible for their employees’ engagement levels. It advises that organizations should coach managers to take an active role in building engagement plans with their employees, hold managers accountable, track their progress, and ensure they continuously focus on emotionally engaging their employees.
Click here to download the full report.