We’ve got good news and bad news. We’ll start with the bad: roughly 35% of workers plan to look for a new job in 2019. Now here’s the good news: this number is down drastically from 74% in 2018.
Alright, we probably should have mentioned this in the bad news … but 70% of workers, however, do not consider themselves “very engaged.” So what’s worse, trying to find engaged talent? Or keeping disengaged talent on the job because it’s difficult to find skilled workers?
In the new report, The Complacency Effect, Achievers—an employee engagement platform provider—sought to understand the dangers of complacency in the workplace. “A complacent workforce is a major threat to business success,” says Achievers. “Businesses can’t afford to have disengaged employees sticking around, as research shows it leads to higher turnover, lower productivity and shrinking profits.”
While the number of workers looking for new jobs may seem like a positive trend, it actually indicates a major workplace complacency conundrum. For example, 19% of over 800 North American respondents haven’t even decided if they’ll look for a new job yet—saying the jury is still out.
“Employee engagement is arguably one of the hardest business challenges, as it’s so individualized and constantly changing,” says Achievers Chief Workforce Scientist, Dr. Natalie Baumgartner—in a press release. “What struck me in the data is how differently each respondent prioritized their work experience and the huge opportunity to improve employee listening to understand engagement at an individual level.”
If you’re interested in understanding what makes employees engaged, consider the key findings from this report.
Engagement Is Lacking, but Workers Are Sticking Around
When asked how engaged they were in their current job, the most common response was “average engagement, but open to new opportunities” (32%). Only 21% consider themselves “very engaged,” while 16% say they are fully disengaged, and 31% say they’re “engaged but feel my company could do more to improve employee experience.”
When asked what the main reason was for why they would change jobs, however, only 14% said they’d leave because “I’m not engaged,” meaning many employees are sticking around despite average to no engagement.
Achievers found that engagement didn’t even make the cut as the top reasons for why people were leaving their job. The research found that the top three reasons for employee departures happened to be financial in nature, these include:
- Seeking “a pay raise” (54%),
- Looking for “Career advancement” (38%), and
- Looking for “better corporate benefits” (21%).
It’s worth noting that these top three findings also play a huge part in employee engagement. If your workers are focused on their financial burdens during the working hours, they’re more likely to be less engaged. Offering workers better benefits, such as financial wellness planning, can help reduce these burdens and in turn create a more engaged workforce. Not to mention, you can showcase this benefit to jobseekers, as a way to attract them to your company.
Senior Leaders Must Prioritize the Experience
Even though 31% say they considered themselves engaged, they also say that their employer could do more to improve the employee experience.
Achievers found that most respondents see leadership as ineffective when it comes to improving company culture. A combined 38% of respondents have either “never heard senior leadership talk about culture” or “they talk about it, but there’s no action to back it up.” Furthermore, 31% call senior leadership “average—they’re reactive but not proactive.”
Sadly, just 9% of respondents say leaders are “very committed” to improving company culture and employee experience. This statistic is very unsettling when you think about the “trickle-down effect.” Leaders are supposed to set an example for the way employees handle themselves and conduct business, but if leadership isn’t practicing what it preaches, then employees will do the same.
The old adage, “Monkey see, monkey do” comes to mind, and if your employees see you actively being disengaged, they will follow suit. So, set a good example if you want your employees to do the same. Not only will this foster a better culture, but your workers will be more likely to stay engaged.
Recognition Is a Powerful Engagement Tool, but Not Used Often
Recognizing employees for their hard work and dedication is a great way for employees to feel appreciated, and it can also help engage and retain workers by giving them something to work towards. Achievers found that 26% of respondents ranked “recognition for my work” in their top three important factors for staying with their current employer.
When it comes to employee recognition, however, only 11% of workers call their manager/employer “awesome,” saying they are recognized weekly. A larger percentage (29%) ranked their employers as “pretty good,” this group says they are recognized at least once a month.
Unfortunately, 17% said their manager/employer was “horrible—they never recognize my work” and the largest group of respondents (43%) ranked their manager/employer as just “okay” (recognizing them annually or quarterly at least).
What Can Employers Do?
The Achievers report provides good insight into what makes your current workforce tick. And obviously, they’re going to stick around whether they’re engaged or not. But as we know, a disengaged workforce is not a productive workforce, so employers would be wise to boost their engagement efforts.
Achievers says that employers are missing out on a huge opportunity to personalize engagement by soliciting employee feedback. As the survey found the roughly 16% of respondents called their manager/employer “horrible” at soliciting feedback on their employee experience. And 40% rated them as just “okay—they ask for feedback only once or twice a year.”
When it came to acting on feedback, workers ranked managers/employers even worse—42% said they’re “okay—they make a few changes based on it,” but 21% said they’re “horrible—they never do anything with feedback.”
As the data shows, listening to your employees, and providing them with the tools they need to be productive, are important for having an engaged workforce. To learn more about the survey results and how to improve employee engagement, click here.
Achievers conducted the online survey between November 26, 2018, through December 3, 2018. The global sample size included 1,224 respondents (67.1% from North America and 32.9% from the U.K. and Australia). Males and females each represented 50% of responses. Globally, 13.9% were Gen Z, 50.9% were Millennials, 30.6% were Generation X, and 4.6% were Baby Boomers.