Employee Engagement Has Fallen to an 11-Year Low

Employee Engagement Has Fallen to an 11-Year Low; Gen Z & Work from Home Dropping the Most

A new Gallup study reveals employee engagement has fallen to its lowest point in 11 years. Gallup measures employee engagement as being involved and enthusiastic about their work and workplace, whether employees feel they know what’s expected of them, have opportunities to grow, and feel connected to an organization’s purpose.

The Gallup Group continuously monitors employee involvement in their jobs and reported a three-percentage-point decline in worker engagement in Q1 of 2024. Employee engagement levels fell to 30% from the previous year’s end, marking the lowest since 2013. This decrease represents a reduction of 4.8 million “engaged” employees.

Some reasons for this continued decline in employee engagement can be attributed to return-to-office policies, poorly trained managers, “mental distance” from coworkers, and few growth opportunities, which are all likely contributors to employee engagement scores.

Untitled Design 6, The DiJulius Group

 

 

 

 

Gen Z & Work from Home Dropped the Most

The most significant decrease in employee engagement came from two areas of the workforce: the youngest age groups and employees who work from home. Gen Z workers had the biggest drop in engagement, falling six percentage points. Interestingly, employees with hybrid work arrangements did not see as steep a drop in sentiment.

Physical Distance is becoming Mental Distance

“The data suggests that physical distance is becoming mental distance, and then on the other end, people see others with remote-ready jobs who have flexibility and they don’t. I think that’s that’s causing some disengagement.” There’s kind of a happy medium there that I think organizations need to get right,” says Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist of workplace and wellbeing.

“Leading people is a privilege and a responsibility,

and it is not exploitable. You must earn this privilege.”

Your Biggest Expense Is Dissatisfied Employees

A new study from the University of Houston joins a growing body of research findings that conclude that job satisfaction has a lot more to do with the people we work with than it does with the actual work we do. And Gallup data tells us that businesses with the highest employee engagement, compared to companies with the lowest engagement, benefit from:

  • 18 percent more productivity
  • 23 percent more profitability
  • 81 percent less absenteeism
  • 43 percent less turnover

Leaders Work in the Employee Perception Business

Countless studies show irrefutable evidence correlating employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, and profitability. For example, one study showed how call center workers’ weekly sales increased by 25 percent when their happiness increased by one point (on a scale of 1 to 5). Other research found in the Journal of Applied Psychology, titled “Business-Unit-Level Relationship between Employee Satisfaction, Employee Engagement, and Business Out-comes,” found that the top 25 percent of brands with the highest employee engagement enjoyed one to four percentage points higher profit margins than those in the bottom 25 percent. That should satisfy the shareholder theorists.

The primary duty of leaders is to care for their people. They must inspire teams to embrace a customer purpose and enable their success by allocating sufficient time, education, and resources to accomplish this mission. Leaders must role model, practice, preach, and teach the values that systematically reinforce a loving culture through symbols, words, and deeds.

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it

Did you know that 63 percent of employees who are recognized regularly said they wouldn’t consider looking for a new job? Our loved ones and coworkers are not telepathic about our appreciation; you have to be continually expressing your gratitude and appreciation.

Being shown appreciation for the work they do makes employees feel valued and proud. Celebrating small achievements helps people face larger challenges. It builds momentum. The experience of celebrating small accomplishments sets up a positive dynamic where everyone wants to do better. Routinely, frequently, and generously thanking team members costs nothing and has enormous benefits.

“People will never go any higher than they think they can.”

Paying more, by itself, is not a long-term solution for retaining top talent. The most powerful approach to being proactive about talent is to invest in your existing team members. People have an insatiable need for attention. We all want to be seen, heard, and valued for our own unique set of skills and contributions. Data shows over and over that employees who receive weekly light-touch attention from their managers are three times more likely to be all-in at work.

Be On a Mission to Catch People Doing Something Right

Do you have a system that reminds and inspires leaders to encourage others on a consistent basis? One of the most effective tools in boosting morale is our “Caught You Doing Something Right” card, which acknowledges some specific positive action or behavior a team member has executed. We keep stacks of these cards in the employee break room, call center, and any other room a team member enters. We started using them as a management tool, and now everyone has access to them. An employee may open his office drawer and find a “Caught You Doing Something Right” card thanking him for helping someone through a mini-crisis the day before. Most employees collect and save these cards.

Our management team is required to catch people doing things right on a regular basis. This is so embedded in our culture that we now have a spreadsheet with every employee’s name down one side and each manager’s name across the top. The manager fills in the date they last sent each employee a “Caught You Doing Something Right” card. This way we can spot when someone hasn’t been recognized in a while and immediately “catch” them.

“The only time you should blame others for your results is when you are successful”

We have even held “Caught You Doing Something Right” contests, and the employee who gives the most cards wins a gift certificate to a nice restaurant. The entire team really gets into it. One shy employee went home one night and wrote out over 100 personalized cards, one to everyone on our staff.

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Video of the Week: Employees don’t quit companies, they quit…

The Customer Service Revolution Podcast, Episode 152: The Power of Purpose

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Thursday, May 2:        Interviewing for Customer Service Rockstars

Thursday, May 16:      Creating a Recruitment Experience

Thursday, May 30:      Creating an Onboarding Experience

Thursday, June 13:      Creating an Employee Experience that Retains Employees

Thursday, June 27:      Tearing Down Silos by Building Collaboration Across Departments

Thursday, July 11:       Building & Developing Great Leaders

Thursday, July 25:      Leaving a Leadership Legacy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.