Here’s a fun fact: The song Working for the Weekend by Canadian rock band Loverboy still appears on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s. What’s this got to do with employee engagement?

The fact that the song is still ranked in this list shows that there’s still a lot of people who feel a connection to the lyrics of the song and who are always waiting for the weekend.

In other words, majority of employees are disengaged at work and are always looking for the next opportunity to spend some time away from work.

Employee engagement is a very important factor to the success of any company, and unfortunately, it has become a huge problem in today’s workplace, impacting everything from productivity to customer satisfaction.

According to the Deloitte Review, American companies spend over $100 billion every year in a bid to improve employee engagement.

Sadly, all this expenditure does not seem to making much of an impact, considering that a separate poll by Gallup shows that only slightly more than one third of employees (34%) are engaged at work.

While this is an improvement from previous years, the number is still quite low.

To help employers gain a better understanding of employee engagement and its impact on companies, we are going to take a look at 10 shocking statistics on employee engagement.

Before we get to that, however, let’s take a moment to understand what employee engagement means.

WHAT IS EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT?

Employee engagement refers to how connected an employee is to their job and the level of emotional commitment they have to the organization and its goals.

Engaged employees care about their work, rather than simply working for the paycheck at the end of the month.

Disengaged employees, on the other hand, do not care about their job or how it contributes to the organizational goals.

They only care about the benefits they get from their job, such as a paycheck, a promotion, and so on. They are not enthusiastic about their job and will never go above and beyond in their duty for the sake of the company.

To make it easier to distinguish between engaged and disengaged employees, I’ll use an illustration.

Assume there are two guys, Pete and Mike, who work in the IT department.

One day, a couple minutes just before the end of the work day, they both notice that there is glitch that would make the company network vulnerable to external attacks.

After checking the magnitude of the problem, Pete realizes that it will take at least one and a half hours to solve the problem.

Since he was almost getting done for the day, he decides to pretend that he hasn’t noticed the glitch to avoid working overtime.

Mike, on the other hand, understands that there is a huge risk in leaving the glitch unresolved overnight.

Instead of leaving the problem until the following day, he spends an extra hour and a half at the office resolving the problem.

Mike does not gain anything by spending the extra time at the office, but he still does it because he cares about his job and its impact on the entire organization. In other words, he is an engaged employee.

Pete, on the other hand, is disengaged and is not willing to sacrifice his personal time for the organization.

He does not care much about the organization, he only cares about the money in his account at the end of the month.

It’s good to note that there is a difference between employee engagement and employee satisfaction. Very often, many managers confuse between the two.

Employee satisfaction simply focuses on how contented or happy employees are with their job.

It does not address how motivated, committed or involved they are. Just because an employee is happy with their job doesn’t mean that they are engaged at work.

Actually, to some employees, being happy with their job might mean doing as little as possible.

Now that you understand what employee engagement means, let’s at 10 shocking statistics on employee engagement.

ONLY 25% OF EMPLOYERS HAVE AN EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY

Most employers agree that employee engagement is very important for business success.

At the same time, it is surprising that majority of employers do not have an employee engagement strategy in place.

A survey carried out recently found out that out of every 10 employers, only less than two (25%) have an established employee engagement strategy.

Like most other business processes, the only way to improve engagement is to have a comprehensive strategy that outlines what the company intends to achieve in terms of employee engagement, as well as how this will be achieved.

In addition, the company also needs to have metrics that will be used to monitor and track the progress and success of the employee engagement strategy.

INCREASED ENGAGEMENT CAN INCREASE PROFITS BY 21%

You might be aware that employee engagement affects things like productivity and customer satisfaction, but what exactly does this mean for the company’s bottom line?

Well, according to a Gallup poll, an increase in employee engagement can drive up profits by 21% or more.

In addition, the companies that rank among the top 20% in terms of engagement have 59% less turnover and a 41% reduction in employee absenteeism.

This shows just how important employee engagement is at the workplace.

This means that any company that wants to be successful needs to make employee engagement one of the pillars of their business strategy.

Highly engaged employees will do their work with passion, energy, and enthusiasm, which will translate to better products and services.

LACK OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT IS COSTING COMPANIES OVER $450 BILLION PER YEAR

If a 21% increase in profits is not enough to convince you how important employee engagement is, what if I told you that your company might be losing money because of lack of employee engagement?

Well, a report by Harvard Business Review states that companies are losing between $450 and $550 billion per year as a result of employee disengagement.

Unfortunately, this money is lost in expenses that are not directly linked to employee engagement, which means businesses are wasting money without realizing that they could cut these losses by improving employee engagement.

One of the major ways through which lack of employee engagement leads to losses is through loss of talent. High levels of employee disengagement leads to an increase in turnover rate.

This means that companies have to constantly spend money on hiring and onboarding, which can be quite expensive.

In addition, lack of engagement leads to reduced productivity, lower quality products and services, absenteeism, and so on – all of which lead to loss of money.

70% OF EMPLOYEES DON’T FEEL ENCOURAGED TO GROW WITH THE COMPANY

For majority of today’s workforce, and especially Gen Y and Gen Y workers, career growth and development is very important.

Actually, the pursuit of career growth is one of the major reasons why most employees look for new job opportunities.

In spite of this, it is surprising that many employers do not do much to encourage the growth and advancement of their employees.

According to Gallup’s State of the American Workforce report, 7 out of every 10 employees feel that their employers do not care much about the employee’s growth and advancement within their companies.

When employees feel that their employer does not care much about their growth and development, not only will they become disengaged at work, they will also start looking for opportunities for growth elsewhere.

This means that companies are losing both productivity and some of their best talent by not encouraging the growth of employees within the company.

75% OF EMPLOYEES QUIT BOSSES, NOT JOBS

When employees start becoming disengaged, people automatically assume that there is something about the company or the job that led to the disengagement.

More often than not, however, the disengagement is not triggered by the company itself, but rather by the employee’s manager.

A poll by Gallup found that 75% of employees who leave their jobs do it because of their boss.

This shows that the key to dealing with employee disengagement is to start at the top.

Without the right managers, all attempts at improving employee engagement will ultimately fail.

ALMOST 70% OF EMPLOYEES RECEIVE NO RECOGNITION IN A MONTH

Lack of recognition is one of the causes of employee disengagement.

Everyone wants to know that what they are doing counts, and the most effective way of letting someone know that their work counts is by recognizing their efforts.

Without consistent recognition, employees start feeling like small cogs in a very huge machine, like all the effort they are putting into their work is not being appreciated.

This can quickly lead to high levels of disengagement. If it remains unaddressed, some of your best talents will start looking for new opportunities where their efforts will be recognized.

Despite this knowledge, it is shocking that majority of employers and managers do not give consistent recognition to their employees.

According to a report by Achievers, almost 70% of employees do not receive any recognition from their employers in a month.

Even worse, 89% do not receive any recognition in a week.

If employers want to increase employee engagement levels within their companies, they have to commit to giving more consistent recognition to their employees.

21% OF EMPLOYEE FEEL THAT THEIR VOICES ARE NOT GETTING HEARD

In addition to receiving recognition for their efforts, employees also want to feel that their voices are getting heard.

How would it make you feel if your opinion gets ignored every time you share it?

Not very good, I presume.

However, that is exactly what employers are doing to employees.

According to the Achievers report, 21% of employees surveyed reported that their employer was poor at asking for feedback from employees. Some employees even reported that their employers do not request for employee feedback at all.

If you are wondering why asking for feedback from employees is such an important thing, you should keep in mind the fact that 13% of employees are willing to look for a new job if they feel that their current employer does not listen to them.

To avoid losing some of your best talent, as well as the costs that come with hiring and onboarding new employees, you should ensure that your company has a well laid out process for collecting employee feedback.

However, you should not stop at that.

For employees to feel heard, you must also take appropriate action based on their feedback.

ALMOST HALF OF EMPLOYEES DO NOT KNOW THEIR JOB EXPECTATIONS

Without a clear understanding of what is expected of you at the workplace, as well as how your job ties in to the organization’s mission and goals, being engaged in your work can be quite a challenge.

On the face of it, this looks like something very obvious.

Unfortunately, employers do not seem to be paying much attention to this “obvious” piece of information, if Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report is anything to go by.

According to the report, only 6 out of every 10 employees are aware of what is expected of them at the workplace.

This means that almost half of employees do not know what their employers expect of them, and could therefore be doing something that does not even move the company closer to its mission and goals.

SAFETY ISSUES AT THE WORKPLACE CAN BE REDUCED BY INCREASING EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

This might sound surprising, but there is actually a correlation between safety issues at work and employee engagement.

The more engaged your workers are, the less likely there are to be safety issues at work.

The same Gallup report conducted a study in the healthcare industry and found out that workplaces where employee engagement was high were 70% less likely to experience employee safety incidents.

They also noticed that patient safety issues were 58% lower in these workplaces.

This makes sense. When employees are passionate and enthusiastic about their jobs, they are more likely to pay greater attention to what they are doing, to avoid unnecessary shortcuts, and so on.

This decreases the likelihood of safety mishaps happening.

EMPLOYEES WANT GREATER INCLUSIVITY

A report by Deloitte found out that diversity and inclusivity was a top priority for 69% of polled executives.

The report also shows that 39% of employees are willing to leave their current jobs for a new job in companies whose culture is more inclusive.

This is even more significant if majority of your workforce is comprised of millennial workers.

According to the report, more than half of millennial employees (53%) will leave their current job to move to a company that embraces diversity and inclusivity.

WHY DO EMPLOYEES BECOME DISENGAGED AT WORK?

The above statistics show that employee engagement is a huge problem in the modern workplace.

Question is, why are so many employees disengaged at work?

What are some things that make employees disengaged?

Some of the causes of employee disengagement include:

Under/Over Qualification

When there is a disconnect between an employee’s skills and the responsibilities of their position, this can easily lead to employee disengagement.

When an employee is underqualified for their position, they will feel overwhelmed by the expectations that come with the position.

This can lead to a lot of stress. If the situation is not addressed (usually by way of training and guidance), the employee will start lagging behind, and in most cases, they will end up losing motivation for the job.

When an employee is overqualified, on the other hand, they will feel that their skills and expertise are not being fully utilized. They will have nothing to challenge them in their job.

If they are not given more responsibilities that are at par with their qualifications, they are likely to get bored with their jobs.

Such employees have the highest likelihood of searching for a better, more challenging job.

Lack of Career Advancement Opportunities

Like I mentioned earlier, career growth and development is very important to today’s workers.

Employees want to be given opportunities to improve their skills, take on greater responsibilities, and earn more money.

If it becomes apparent to an employee that there are no opportunities for them to grow within the company, they will stop giving their all because there will be nothing to be gained from it.

They become bored with their job and start doing just the bare minimum required of them at work.

Lack of Recognition

Employees want to know that their work is valued by the organization.

Whenever they go above and beyond in their duty, they want their efforts to be noticed.

When they perform exceptionally well, they want their hard work to be rewarded with bonuses, pay raises, and promotions.

If an employee notices that all their hard work is not getting noticed, they will lose their enthusiasm and commitment and stop trying too hard.

Excessive Workload

If an employee is constantly overburdened with work, they are likely to get burnt out and get resentful. They lose their motivation for their work.

This is especially common if all their hard work goes unrecognized. Sometimes, being overworked can even lead to stress, depression, and substance abuse.

Poor Work-Life Balance

Having a proper work-life balance is very important.

When employees start feeling like they have to sacrifice their personal time to work for the company, they will become resentful and demotivated.

Most will actually start looking for new job opportunities.

Lack of Tools and Resources

Sometimes, despite an employee’s willingness to do their jobs the right way, the company might not be providing them with the tools and resources they need to get their work done.

Having to constantly come up with unorthodox ways of getting their work done reduces the employee’s satisfaction with their job.

HOW TO PREVENT YOUR EMPLOYEES FROM BECOMING DISENGAGED AT WORK

Having seen how employee disengagement can take a toll on your company’s bottom line, it is important to put in place measures to prevent your employees from becoming disengaged.

Some of the steps you can take to prevent disengagement include:

Spot Disengagement Early

Employees don’t wake up one day, flip a switch and become disengaged. It starts slowly and snowballs to the point where the employee loses all commitment to their job.

The key therefore, is to spot the early signs of disengagement and do something before it becomes a real problem.

Some of the early signs of employee disengagement include employees taking frequent sick leaves, reduced communication from employees, the office looking emptier on Fridays and Mondays, subpar performance at work, indifference to team wins, and so on.

Come Up With Well-Defined Career Paths for Your Employees

We’ve already seen that the feeling that there are no opportunities for growth is one of the major contributors of employee disengagement.

To prevent this from afflicting your workers, you should ensure that your employees have a good idea of how their career will progress in the next two, three, or five years.

Together with the employee, come up with a personalized and well-defined plan on how the employee will move up the company, acquire new skills, achieve certifications, receive pay raises and bonuses, and so on.

This will enhance your employees’ morale and keep them motivated and satisfied.

Give Recognition

Since lack of recognition is another major cause of employee disengagement, managers should get in the habit of giving recognition to their staff.

When it comes to giving recognition, managers should do it immediately following whatever achievement or action warranted the recognition.

Don’t wait for the next performance review to give recognition.

The more you wait, the less effective the recognition becomes.

In addition, you should point out the specific action that you are appreciating, rather than generalizing the recognition. Avoid something like “You have done a great job this month.”

It’s also good to note that you don’t have to give elaborate rewards for the recognition to be effective.

Even something as simple as giving the employee a card appreciating their good work, inviting them to lunch one day, or recognizing their effort in front of the whole company is enough to make an employee feel appreciated.

However, keep in mind that giving recognition is a two edged sword.

When giving recognition, managers should make sure that the given recognition matches the effort and achievement of the employee.

In other words, the recognition should only be given when it is warranted.

In addition, the recognition should come off as sincere.

If the employee feels that the recognition is undeserved or insincere, it might even trigger disengagement where there was none initially.

Let Them in on the Big Picture

Employees will also become disengaged when they don’t know what’s going above them and don’t understand how their work contributes to the greater goal.

To prevent this, it is important to make it clear to the employees what the top end goals of the organization are, and how what they are doing contributes to these goals.

This can be done through regular staff meetings where the management lets employees know about the strategic decisions that are being made at the top level.

Employees should also be given a chance to share their contributions as regards the company’s direction.

WRAPPING UP

The 10 statistics shared in this article show that lack of employee engagement is a huge problem in the workplace today, and one that might be costing your company money in multiple ways.

Fortunately, I have also detailed some steps that you can take to prevent your employees from becoming disengaged at work.

While these measures will reduce the likelihood of widespread employee disengagement, it is also good to note that in as much as you try, it is not possible to entirely stop all workers from becoming disengaged.

The trick, therefore, is to create an environment where majority of employees remain engaged and committed to their work.

10 Shocking Stats About Employee Engagement

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