Employee Engagement: 8 Statistics You Need to Know

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Approx. 8 min. read
Last updated: June 12, 2018

Employee engagement means a workforce invested in and aligned with the company’s interest, values and missions. To help companies understand the importance of employee engagement, we laid out some statistics for those who love numbers.

An engaged employee is happy with their place of work, motivated to work there and because of this, more efficient and productive. But the majority of the workplace around the world isn’t engaged, and this has serious repercussions for business success. Productivity, retention, innovation and workplace well-being all go down when employee engagement is low - and vice versa. We laid down some cold hard figures for you to chew on. Remember to scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page to check out the graphic we made with these employee engagement stats!

1. Disengaged employees cost companies $450-500 billion each year

According to a study on workplace engagement in the U.S, disengaged employees cost organizations around $450-550 billion each year. Disengaged workers take less responsibility and ownership of their attitude, behavior, and motivation, and drain overall productivity. The study recommends that companies focus on encouraging personal agency and that they use tools to monitor and maintain personal engagement. It is also important to connect the employees’ job to organizational missions, provide recognition and encourage collaboration.

To read more about how to improve employee engagement, check this out:

How to Improve Employee Engagement - Infographic

2. 85% of employees are not engaged in the workplace

According to Gallup’s 2017 State of the Global Workplace, only 15 percent of employees are engaged in the workplace. This means that the majority of workforce around the world are either viewing their workplace negatively or only doing the bare minimum to make it through the day, with little to no emotional attachment.

The study also reveals remarkable geographical differences - 33 percent of U.S employees are engaged at work - more than double the global average. On the other hand, in Western Europe, only 10 percent of employees are engaged at work. The situation looks especially alarming in the U.K, where the amount of engaged employees is as low as 8 percent - and the number has been in steady decline over the recent years.

3. 81% of employees could leave their job today

According to a 2017 study, 81 percent of employees would consider leaving their job for the right offer, even if they wouldn't be looking for a job at the moment. Changing jobs isn't all about the money, either, as 74 percent of younger employees would accept a pay cut for a chance to work at their ideal job, and 23 percent of those seeking a job wouldn't need a pay increase to take a new position.

In order to stay on the job, employees need to have relationships with other people in the workplace, and the work life needs to be balanced with their personal life. Employees are also more likely to look for another job if their co-workers are doing so as well, so companies should be careful of a domino effect taking place in their workforce.

4. Companies with high-engaged workforce are 21% more profitable

Employee engagement isn't just about soft, intangible and feelings-based reviews about employee well-being. Employee engagement has a very real impact on business success, and employee engagement should be considered a part of a business strategy. According to Gallup’s meta-analysis, the business or work units which scored the highest on employee engagement showed 21 percent higher levels of profitability than units in the lowest quartile. Companies with highly engaged workforce also scored 17 percent higher on productivity.

Successful organizations focus on employee engagement by ensuring all employees have the best knowledge and tools available to perform their jobs as well as possible. Managers in successful organizations also make sure all employees know what is expected of them, and support their employees’ professional development. This leads to more productive employees and through this, to a more profitable workplace.

5. Good company culture increases revenue by 4X

In a major long-term study, companies that had the best corporate cultures, that encouraged all-around leadership initiatives and that highly appreciated their employees, customers and owners grew 682 percent in revenue. During the same period of evaluation (11 years), companies without a thriving company culture grew only 166 percent in revenue. This means that a thriving company culture leads to more than four times higher revenue growth.

Company culture and employee engagement go hand in hand and a business focusing on employee engagement and improving their company will enjoy the benefits of increased revenue, increased productivity and increased employee engagement. 47 percent of people actively looking for a new job pinpoint company culture as the main reason for wanting to leave, so if you want to improve both employee retention and profitability, improving company culture should be one of your business priorities.

To read about how to avoid mistakes in employee engagement, see this post:

The 3 Biggest Mistakes You're Making in Employee Engagement

6. 1 in 3 professionals cite boredom as their main reason to leave their jobs

According to a 2018 Korn Ferry Survey, the majority - 33 percent - of those changing jobs cite boredom and the need for new challenges as the top reason why they are leaving. The second most common reason was the fact that the work culture didn't fit the employee or their values, with 24 percent choosing this as their main reason. The quest for a larger salary came fourth, with only 19 percent choosing it as their main reason for leaving.

Making sure employees have enough challenges and variation in their workday is one of the most important managerial tasks. Without the ability to develop themselves and learn, employees lose motivation and start to look elsewhere for a job. Personal development is naturally good for the company as well, and as employees develop their skills and competencies, their work product becomes more refined and the company becomes more profitable.

7. 37% of employees consider recognition most important

One study asked what would be the most important thing a manager or a company could do that would help the employee be successful and 37 percent - the majority - cited recognition as the most important method of support. Other solutions lag far behind - 12 percent want more autonomy, 12 percent more inspiration, 7 percent more pay, 6 percent more training and 4 percent a promotion. This means over a third of the workforce need first and foremost to be recognized.

According to a survey on rewarding and recognition, 43 percent prefer to receive recognition privately on a one on one with a manager, 10 percent would prefer to receive recognition publicly in front of their peers, and 9 percent would prefer recognition privately, in written form.

Taking employees for granted is a surefire way to drop down the levels of employee engagement. Recognition leads to increased motivation, a sense of pride and to increased self-confidence at work, which in turn increase employee initiatives and taking responsibility of one’s own work product. A company that actively recognizes and rewards their employees is more likely to see increased levels of accountability, responsibility and leadership initiatives.

Now that we’re on the subject, be sure to check out this article as well:

5 Ways to Recognize Employees

8. Only 29% of employees are happy with career advancement opportunities

According to SHRM's 2017 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report, only 29 percent of employees are "very satisfied" with current career advancement opportunities available to them in the organization they work for. However, 41 percent consider this a very important factor to job satisfaction, so companies should pay close attention to making sure employees feel they are able to advance in their careers without leaving the company.

According to the SHRM study, 30 percent of employees considered career development opportunities for learning and personal growth in general very important, yet only 30 percent were happy with their current situation. The chance for professional development on the job is especially important to the younger generations: according to a Gallup survey, up to 87 percent of Millennials consider development in a job important. The importance of professional development to employee engagement is undeniable, and managers and HR personnel need to provide tools and resources to support their employees’ professional development.

Global Employee Engagement Stats Statistics 2018 Infographic

If you feel like it at all, please download our free guide, where we give more good advice on how to increase your employee engagement. It’s right here below.

A free guide on how to boost employee engagement with employee communication tools