Employee engagement is as popular a topic in HR circles as ever, particularly as companies shift to an entirely remote workforce. But what does engagement really mean? And how important is it?

You don’t have to look far to find out that employee engagement is critical to your company’s success. Highly engaged employers experience a 25 to 59% decrease in turnover and 41% lower absentee rates.

However, only 21% of employees consider themselves “very engaged” at work. This disengagement is costly. In the U.S. alone, disengagement costs up to $550 billion per year.

Read on to get a handle on employee engagement and discover nine key statistics that demonstrate the far-reaching benefits of an engaged workforce and the startling cons of disengagement.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is a measure of the enthusiasm, emotional connection, and dedication workers have to their organization and its mission. People often confuse employee engagement with employee satisfaction, but engagement is centered around motivation and purpose, not just happiness.

To promote employee engagement, employers should focus on key drivers of a supportive culture, like increased recognition and frequently soliciting and acting on feedback. Employers should listen to their employees and offer the necessary resources for employees to grow in their careers and develop into future leaders.

9 employee engagement statistics you need to know

Here are nine statistics that emphasize how vital employee engagement truly is and how it can make a difference in your workplace.

1. Organizations with highly-rated cultures of recognition are 2.5 times more likely to see improved employee engagement.

Establishing a culture of recognition is a tough, but necessary, part of employee engagement. Many managers and employees aren’t sure how to show appreciation effectively. The best recognition is specific, frequent, and genuine. Recognition needs to occur between employees at every level, from staff to the C-suite. Consistent, reciprocal recognition instills trust between employees and their managers and peers 一 a core tenet of employee engagement.

Recognition also reinforces behaviors that line up with an organization’s goals and demonstrate care for employees’ well-being. Indeed, 90% of workers say receiving recognition motivates them to work harder. And recognition doesn’t just improve morale and productivity, it affects your organization’s bottom line. Employers that practice social recognition are four times more likely to see improved stock prices.

2. 64% of HR leaders say an always-on feedback tool is essential to an engagement listening program, but only 20% have this kind of tool in place.

Employees want to give feedback, but they’ll become disengaged if you don’t act on their input quickly. Although nearly 40% of organizations still use them, annual surveys aren’t the answer. By the time results are compiled, acting on them is too late.

If you want to show employees that their voices matter, use always-on feedback tools like AI-powered HR chatbots. These tools are available to accept input 24/7, and they encourage employees to give further details regarding their feedback without interfering with everyday work. Employees can engage with bots at any point in time, rather than waiting to share their thoughts once a year. On the back end, AI chatbots learn what employees need and suggest best practices for managers to take appropriate action.

3. 58% of employees wish their company conducted employee engagement surveys more frequently.

Although there is a clear connection between the frequency of surveys and engagement, only 21% of companies conduct engagement surveys three or more times a year. The workplace is constantly changing. To keep engagement high during periods of intense growth or unforeseen circumstances, leadership teams need to find ways to check in with their employees more often.

One way to do this is to leverage pulse surveys 一 quick surveys sent weekly or monthly to get a “pulse” on how employees are feeling. Pulse surveys can ask questions concerning job function, professional development, relationships, and other key aspects of engagement.

While the answers might not always be pretty, pulse surveys work. Managers can use pulse surveys to keep a real-time check on engagement and then collaboratively come up with an action plan to address any issues with their team. And pulse survey results are a great opportunity for HR and upper management to identify and address problems facing the organization as a whole.

Discover four ways pulse surveys can positively impact employee engagement.

4. 71% of executives say that employee engagement is an important contributor to organizational success.

It’s hard to think of reasons why companies shouldn’t concentrate on employee engagement. But if you needed any further convincing, one Harvard Business Review report found that a highly engaged workforce maximizes a company’s investment in human capital, while simultaneously reducing costs associated with things like turnover.

Investing in employee engagement means giving people the training they need to excel. It means encouraging them to pursue their passions, speak up about problems with company culture, and recognize the success of themselves and others. Financing employee engagement initiatives shapes employees into the workers you need to drive organizational success.

5. Alignment with an organization’s values is the #1 predictor of employee engagement.

The purpose of a mission statement is to guide a company’s decision-making. When companies plan for the future, they reference their core values to ensure the direction they’re going matches what their employees believe in. Everyone has personal values, so it’s key to find out if these are compatible with your organization’s. Employees whose personal values are very well-aligned with their company’s values are five times more likely to report being engaged. Not only that, aligned organizations are six times more profitable than those that aren’t.

There are many ways you can build alignment at your company. Before interviewing candidates, list out qualities that might be good indicators of harmony between an applicant’s values and those of the organization. Make sure managers can connect each employee’s work to their intrinsic motivations in addition to company values. Offer professional development that’s in line with the goals your company hopes to achieve. And be sure to communicate with employees often, particularly during this time of increased remote work. The employee engagement landscape is changing, but the more aligned your workforce is to your company values and culture, the better off it will be.

6. Managers are responsible for 70% of the variance in employee engagement.

Do you trust your employer? Gallup found that just one in three employees in Gallup’s global database strongly agree that they trust the leadership of their organization. But it’s not just the bigwigs that matter. Every manager is responsible for treating their direct reports with respect and driving employee engagement. Managers play an enormous role in the employee experience, so spending time and effort on manager training is worth it. Make sure managers know how to acknowledge the work of their employees, inspire them, and encourage them to develop the skills they need to shine.

7. 70% of employees state that being empowered to succeed is a critical part of employee engagement.

No one enjoys being micromanaged. It’s demeaning and suggests that your manager doesn’t think you have the capacity to keep track of your work and get tasks done on time. Unfortunately, many managers are afraid to hand over the reins, giving their employees small, monotonous tasks while taking on too much work themselves. This leaves employees bored and disengaged, and it risks burning out your managers.

Empower employees to own projects themselves, utilize their skills cross-departmentally, and brainstorm new ways to approach problems. Implement job rotations and encourage employees to include stretch goals in their yearly targets. Give employees the autonomy to decide how to achieve their objectives. When employees grow and thrive, take the time to recognize their successes.

8. Disengaged workers make errors at a 60% higher rate.

Employees go to work expecting that they’ll come home safely at the end of the day, but sadly, this isn’t always the case. No matter how many safety procedures you put into practice, there is still the potential for human error.

Unsurprisingly, disengaged employees are more likely to make mistakes that impact other employees’ safety. Employees who don’t care about their performance or an organization’s policies are less likely to follow them, hindering an organization’s growth and jeopardizing employee safety. Beyond physical injuries, disengagement can affect privacy and security as well. If employees fail to follow basic online security protocols, your company could lose millions of dollars in a devastating breach. On the flip side, teams that are considered engaged experience 48% fewer work-related injuries, saving companies $47,988 per worker’s compensation claim.

Involve employees in your safety program. Ask them to contribute ideas for improving existing policies to help more people stick to the rules. Host safety meetings and conduct ongoing training to educate and involve employees as much as possible. When changes happen, let employees know far in advance and teach them how to follow new protocols.

9. Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their organization.

Retention is a huge problem for enterprises today — in fact, 30% of job seekers have left a job within just 90 days of starting. People don’t come to work solely because of their paycheck. Eighty-nine percent of employers think that their employees leave for more money, but the reality is that only 12% of employees do. Employees want to make an impact, interact with employees who inspire them, and feel recognized and rewarded for their hard work. So take a moment to evaluate the ways you might increase the chances of your employees staying.

Are they working too hard towards impossible deadlines? Do they have too little work? Encourage managers to ask these questions in their one-on-ones and follow up with pulse surveys to get more information. Ensure managers are clear about each employee’s role and expectations as well. If employees’ work-life balance isn’t where it needs to be, incorporate more flexibility into employees’ schedules or add more wellness perks to their benefits package. Try adding more socialization and team activities so employees can get to know each other better. And lastly, perfect your onboarding experience so that new employees feel comfortable and are set up for success.

Learn how you can boost employee engagement within your organization by booking a free Achievers demo today.

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