15 key employee engagement statistics for 2022
Updated 18th February 2022
As anyone who's read our blog before knows, we're all about employee engagement stats here at Weekly10. Engagement feeds directly into productivity, reduces staff attrition and is also important for employee wellbeing.
Employee engagement is a vital element of the modern workplace. That goes doubly so in 2020. Everyone is dealing with chaos in their professional lives right now. Understanding how to keep people engaged is more important than ever.
So here's our list of 15 employee engagement stats every manager should know. There's no pop quiz at the end, but feel free to take notes. Or just bookmark this article!
Nearly four fifths of engaged staff are not satisfied at work
Gartner's 2019 Modern Employee Experience survey shed some interesting light on the idea of engagement. They found that only 21% of highly engaged respondents reported having a "high-quality worklife experience."
It's important to take a multi-faceted approach to employee engagement that considers the different aspects of employee wellbeing.
And only around a fifth are honest about what they want
That's not all that Gartner's study found. They also found that little more than a fifth of respondents felt comfortable being completely honest about what they want from their experience at work. But personal development is at the core of employee engagement and job satisfaction. Thing is, it can be difficult to achieve without open communication.
Engagement in the UK is even worse than you think
Starting in 2012, Gallup has performed various surveys on employee engagement in the UK. Prior to their damning 2021 findings, their most recent global report was in 2017. But UK employers only managed to engage 8% of their staff. That's actually even worse than the UK's rate of engagement last year (11%).
In 2018, there was a survey by the UK HR company Cascade of over 400 business directors. They asked them what they considered to be the most significant issues going into the new year. Employee engagement came out the winner with 40% of the vote, followed by recruitment (37%) and retention (36%).
Nearly half of UK workers don't have a job suited to their skill level
CIPD's 2019 UK Working Lives report shows things weren't great even pre-pandemic. 37% of respondents had roles they were over-skilled for. Additionally, 12% were under-skilled. This is pretty unsustainable.
Bored and unchallenged employees are a problem. Improperly trained and mistake-prone ones even more-so. Either way not having an appropriate skill level for your job is a recipe for poor engagement. But that's far from the only finding in the CIPD report.
Senior managers and high-paid workers are more engaged
Enthusiasm and effort are two key factors of engagement. Take a look at the 2019 UK Working Lives report. This report found that senior managers and highly paid workers with post-grad qualifications were more likely to report high enthusiasm. They also analysed rates of "discretionary effort." That is to say, effort that doesn't stem from clear obligation.
They found that rates of discretionary effort were higher in managerial and professional positions. By comparison, they were lower in administrative positions, and lowest in manual and casual work.
The UK has the second-worst work/life balance rating
CIPD's report also found that when compared to 24 other "comparator economies", the UK ranked 24th out of 25 for work/life balance. Three in five UK employees are working longer hours than they would like. That's true even when considering their need to make a living. 32% also reported excessive workloads.
And work/life balance directly impacts engagement
The Corporate Executive Board represents the majority of Fortune 500 companies in the US. A study from them sought to understand work/life balance satisfaction. Satisfactory work/life balance makes employees work harder, according to their findings.
In fact, these employees worked over 20% harder than dissatisfied respondents. This is significant because poor work/life balance is a direct contributor to employee turnover. And what is turnover if not the end result of a lack of engagement?
Employee engagement is surprisingly stable in the US
35% of US employees were engaged in 2019 according to Gallup. They have been tracking engagement in US employees since 2000. That was the highest level recorded in the US at the time.
2022 update: Gallup's 2021 State of the Global Workplace report found that global engagement fell to 20%. This was to be expected, given record-breaking stress levels. But surprisingly, US engagement stayed consistent at 34%.
But most employees are still unengaged
That leaves the remaining 65% to consider. 52% of employees reported not being engaged at work. 12% were "actively disengaged" to the point of misery pre-pandemic. The level of so-called actively disengaged workers has fallen since Gallup's record started in 2000. And yet, compared to Gallup's global findings in 2021, they are still ahead of the curve.
But disengagement in the majority of workers still poses a major issue for US businesses. It's important to remember that the pandemic largely exacerbated problems that already existed. Otherwise, mass upheaval wouldn't have defined 2021.
Satisfaction doesn't totally correlate with engagement
A Society for Human Resource Management study found that almost nine tenths of surveyed US workers were either somewhat or very satisfied with their current job. While this doesn't quite gel with Gallup's research, SHRM also found that 40% of employees were considering seeking employment elsewhere. This may suggest that, while day-to-day satisfaction is important for engagement, it isn't the only factor.
Most employees value respectful treatment above all else
This SHRM study found more than that, however. Over two thirds consider respectful treatment of employees the most important for job satisfaction. Compensation was a close second, which is pretty understandable.
Employees value mutual trust with management as much as compensation (62%). However, it came third. That's because one third of employees rated trust in their organisation satisfactory. By comparison, compensation only satisfied a quarter of respondents.
The vast majority of HR leaders support check-ins and peer feedback
The Society for Human Resource Management and Globoforce released a collaborative report on employee recognition. They found that 89% of HR leaders believe on-going peer feedback and regular check-ins are essential for engaging your employees. And you know us. We don't need an excuse to talk about the benefits of a good employee check-in!
Employees who feel heard are far more engaged
Another thing we like to sing praises for at Weekly10 is the importance of feedback that goes both ways. Employee engagement stats from a study by Salesforce are an excellent example of this.
"The Impact of Equality and Values Driven Business" revealed something interesting. Employees who felt like their voices were being heard were 4.6x more likely to do their best work. The critiques they receive for self-improvement are only part of the reason for this, though.
Knowing your manager is willing to listen to any problems you're experiencing can really help with stress. In turn, that makes it much easier for employees to get behind your vision for the company.
Lack of engagement is costly for businesses
It can be hard to pin down just how costly a lack of engagement actually is. Supposdly, disengagement costs roughly a third of an employee's salary in lost productivity. That's one of Gallup's employee engagement stats that has been cited a lot in the last few years.
The example they give is that for every $10,000 you pay a disengaged employee, you lose around £3,400. More recently, there was a collaborative study by The Conference Board, Sirota-Mercer, Deloitte, ROI, and The Culture Works and Consulting LLP. Together, they found that disengaged employees cost businesses between $450 and $550 billion a year.
A note from 2022: It's important to note that these cost estimations are based on pre-pandemic data. On the one hand, Gallup noted a slump in global engagement last year. But this led to the Great Resignation. So, on the other hand, employers might be doing more now to curb disengagement in their people. Only time will tell how costly engagement will be when the dust settles.
How organisations define "employee engagement" can vary
This isn't a survey-driven statistic like the other employee engagement stats on this list. However, it's still important because it gives our closing statistic some valuable context. SHRM research has highlighted how definitions of what makes employee engagement can vary between different organisations and research bodies. Some examples they provide in their article are:
- Quantum Workplace: Employee engagement is the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward their places of work.
- Gallup: Engaged employees are those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.
- Willis Towers Watson: Engagement is employees' willingness and ability to contribute to company success.
- Aon Hewitt: Employee engagement is "the level of an employee's psychological investment in their organization."
This is pretty important to note. Despite common ground, these differences inevitably affect any research these groups do into the concept of employee engagement. But we need to keep developing our insight into engagement in the workplace. So, to that end, we all have to arrive at a more universally shared definition of what engagement actually is.
1 in 5 highly engaged employees is at risk of burnout
A survey of 1,000 US workers by Yale University found that a fifth of respondents reported both high engagement and high burnout. They reported being passionate and interested in their work. The problem was that they also reported high levels of stress and frustration.
They also reported higher turnover intention, even compared to unengaged employees. Yale's employee engagement stats show that engaging your people doesn't eliminate your responsibility to look out for their wellbeing. No matter how engaged people are, they still need breaks.
So there you have it, our long list of employee engagement statistics. If you're hankering for more statistical information, then you might like our list of remote working stats.