A recent article shared by Gallup indicated that 36% of the U.S. workforce is engaged in their work. Surprisingly, this statistic is higher than it has been for many years, though the number itself is typically perceived as disappointing.
However, opinions quickly change when Gallup also reveals that globally, only 20% of employees are engaged at work.
Equally important, their findings indicate the percentage of actively disengaged employees in the U.S., has risen to 15% through June 2021.
Actively disengaged employees cost businesses a lot… higher turnover, more safety issues, more frequent absenteeism, lower productivity, and so on. Actively disengaged workers also tend to “report miserable work experiences, are generally poorly managed, and tend to bring-down their coworkers.
The reason workforce engagement has emerged as more important now as we are moving through the pandemic is that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says employee turnover or “quit rates” are reaching record highs, and Gallup research has found “substantial differences in intentions to change employers as a function of the quality of the work environment.”
“Among actively disengaged workers in 2021, 74% are either actively looking for new employment or watching for openings. This compares with 55% of not engaged employees and 30% of engaged employees,” the article states.
With this fact in mind, and despite the recent rise in engagement levels, with only 36% of U.S. employees engaged in their work, there is much room for improvement.
The first step in this improvement process is to formalize an employee engagement plan, and to do so in the same fashion as one would implement a continuous process improvement initiative:
- Get acceptance and buy-in from senior leaders. Little will be accomplished without this; the best results are achieved when leaders understand the benefits of engagement and take action.
- Create a formalized implementation plan and establish performance measures so that progress can be tracked. Develop realistic, achievable, and measurable goals and objectives.
- Work with the leaders so that they can model the right behaviors and cascade the concepts throughout the organization.
- Create and equip project teams to identify and quantify opportunities for improvement.
- Foster an atmosphere of collaboration, innovation, continuous improvement, and fun. Increases in productivity yield increases in engagement.
- Make sure people have the knowledge and skills needed to succeed.
- Implement an appropriate integrated communication plan, reinforcing the concept of improving both the “work and workplace.”
- Reward and recognize people so that they feel supported in their efforts.
- Measure results and ROI… and keep your foot on the gas!