Human capital measurement firm Modern Survey has released its Fall 2013 Employee Engagement Survey, which found that employee engagement is improving. “Engagement,” for the purposes of the survey, is defined as “the degree to which employees are psychologically invested in the organization and motivated to contribute to its success.” Engagement was up 3 percent compared to results from the same survey taken six months prior, and the number of disengaged employees fell by 5 percent during the same period.
While employee engagement was found to be on the rise, the primary drivers of that growth were seen to be changing. For the past three years, the top motivators of engagement were belief in senior leadership and confidence in the future of the organization. The new survey found that the new top driver of engagement is the feeling of being able to grow and develop at work. In explanation of the shift, Don MacPherson, president and CEO of Modern Survey said:
“For the past few years, we’ve been shocked out of what we normally want, based on fear and lack of security. Now, as the economy has steadied, employees are focused more on the personal aspects of work — how work makes them feel and how they can grow. These new results suggest that the U.S. workforce is returning to a state of normalcy after several years of uncertainty and instability,” he said.
Other drivers of employee engagement were “organizational values guiding behavior” and “fair pay.” These factors returned to the top five engagement drivers after a three-year absence. The study also found an upswing in the number of employees who are actively looking for jobs at other companies. One quarter of the U.S. workforce is looking for a new job.
“That’s a warning sign for business leaders,” MacPherson says. “What is most disturbing is that the same percentage of disengaged employees are looking for a job elsewhere as six months ago, but significantly more moderately engaged and fully engaged employees are looking. It’s important to understand who your top performers and most engaged employees are and make sure you’re having conversations with them about their futures with the organization. Losing a fully engaged employee is painful for any organization.”