Development Dimensions International defines engagement as “the extent to which people enjoy and believe in what they do and feel valued for doing it.” This means that people feel that the business is part of their inner core and adds value to their life.

Gallup poll in 2014 showed that in an organisation in  the UK:

  • 17% of employees are actively engaged
  • 57% of employees are not engaged
  • 26% of employees are actively disengaged

(Employee Engagement: How to Build a High Performance Workforce. Gallup)

Here are some concerning statistics about employee engagement that highlight the challenges faced by today’s leaders and managers:

  • The Fast Company research shows 74% of employees want to walk away from their jobs (https://www.fastcompany.com/3030710/the-key-to-employee-engagement-has-less-to-do-with-management-than-youd-think)
  • Employees with lower engagement are four times more likely to leave their jobs than those who are highly engaged. (Driving performance and retention through employee engagement. Corporate Leadership Council)
  • 66% of highly engaged employees reported that they had no plans to leave their company, while only 3% of them were actively looking, compared to 12% and 31%, respectively, for disengaged employees. (Towers Perrin 2004 European Talent Survey: Reconnecting with Employees: Attracting, Retaining, and Engaging, Towers Perrin)
  • Engaged employees in the UK take an average of 2.69 sick days per year; the disengaged take 6.19. (Employee Engagement: How to Build a High Performance Workforce. Gallup)

No one impacts the state of engagement more than an employee’s immediate leader. Most people do not leave their jobs; they leave their boss. When looking at highly engaged teams, there is a strong likelihood that there will be a leader who is coaching for success, setting clear goals, empowering others, providing open and honest feedback, and making their employees feel valued.

This very clearly shows that there is an urgent need to work on those who are not engaged in order to see the greatest productivity leap. In addition, bosses need to manage the risk of the 26% who at the very least can be unproductive and at worst bad mouth the boss, company and increase levels of negativity in a team. If an employee cares more they will work harder and be more committed to supporting the company and their peers.

It is interesting to note that most training resources are spent at management and leadership level and it is these groups that are seen to be the most engaged, whilst the poll shows that those in production or manufacturing roles are seen as the least engaged. However, it is these people who do the most work and even small changes in their engagement sees the a big response in performance and outcome.

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