Here’s Why Only 1/3 of Your Employees Are Engaged at Work

Group of cheering employees in hands of a manager

Are most of your employees engaged at the office? In all likelihood, the answer is, unfortunately, “no.” According to Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace report, only 33% of U.S. employees are engaged at work.

On Friday, March 24th, Ed O’Boyle, Global Practice Leader at Gallup, gave a keynote presentation at the IABC Convergence Summit 2017, “Differentiate Your Organization Through Purpose.” We learned that employees aren’t engaged at their workplaces for a number of important reasons.

An unengaged workforce leads to issues with retaining your teams and in turn, can interrupt workplace culture, disrupt the achievement of business goals, and become costly for the organization. Below are a few explanations for having unengaged employees along with some pointers on what to do about it.

Your employees don’t feel motivated to do great work.

According to the report, “21% of employees strongly agree their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.” There are many ways to help motivate employees. Among them, we recommend:

  • paying employees the market rate for their role
  • allowing for a flexible schedule
  • prioritizing work/life balance
  • offering opportunities to be a leader
  • providing development and training programs

The staff doesn’t understand the overall vision.

Only “22% of employees strongly agree the leadership of their organization has a clear direction for the organization.” How can managers expect their teams to do great work if they don’t know what they’re working toward? Mapping out an organized blueprint that outlines business objectives leading to a larger company vision can have a huge impact on how employees view the firm.

There is a lack of communication from leadership.

Perhaps the reason that employees feel there is not a clear organizational direction is because, according to the report, a mere, “13% of employees strongly agree the leadership of their organization communicates effectively with the rest of the organization.” Improving communication is a difficult task in which many firms spend a great amount of time, money, and effort. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix for this issue but it’s important to note that employees still feel that communication from their leaders needs to be improved.

Employees don’t see how their roles contribute to the future of the firm in a meaningful way.

Gallup’s report finds that only “15% of employees strongly agree the leadership of their organization makes them enthusiastic about the future.” Why? It might be because your employees don’t currently feel a sense of meaning from their work. But beyond that, workers want to feel like they matter to the organization and that they’re paid fairly for their contributions.

Implications of an Unengaged Workforce

There are some serious consequences of letting an engaged workforce go unattended. For instance, “51% of U.S. employees say they are actively looking for a new job or watching for openings.” And, “actively disengaged employees are almost twice as likely as engaged employees to seek new jobs.”  Unless organizations are ready to lose up to half of their employees, it’s time to adapt to the needs of today’s workforce.

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