According to a Gallup report that reviewed thousands of responses from managers and employees over a period reaching back to the end of the recession, employee engagement has only marginally increased. Even as the economy has continued to expand and management best practices have evolved, 70 million of the 100 million full-time job holders in the U.S. are not engaged at work. Gallup found that 20 million of those 70 million are disengaged to the point that they are causing more harm than good.
“Having the vast majority of American employees not engaged with their workplaces is troublesome as the country attempts to recover ground lost during the financial crisis and get back on track to pre-recession levels of prosperity,” Gallup observed. “Even more troubling is that workplace engagement levels have hardly budged since Gallup began measuring them in 2000, with fewer than one-third of Americans engaged in their jobs in any given year.”
At fault, says Gallup, for the billions of dollars lost to the economy is poor management practices which can lead to unnecessarily high health costs, lost time on the job, low quality workmanship, and an ongoing list of other negative factors. Part of the problem is that 40 percent of employees are unsure of how their company is distinguished from the competition, signifying a failure in management communications. Engagement was found to be worst in the service industry where employees regularly interface with end customers.
Gallup recommends a solution including spending more time and money hiring the best managers and training them with a focus on employee engagement. Furthermore, companies need to be responsive to the specific workforce that is being managed.
The report states, “The employee engagement metrics company’s use can affect their ability to create changes in performance.”