Disturbing Trends in Employee Engagement

by Chris Rhatigan on Mar 4, 2017 5:00:00 AM

With the US labor market continuing to improve and unemployment dropping to 4.6%, the chances of employees leaving are higher than they’ve been any time in recent years. Yet our 2017 Employee Engagement Report shows many employers are failing to take turnover seriously. In a few key areas, employees are ranking employers lower than they have in years past.

 

Lack of Connection With Peers

Our research has shown time and again that workplace culture is the number one factor in employee happiness and satisfaction. Workers who feel connected with their peers are excited about their jobs.

But employees surveyed reported weaker connections with their peers than in the past. Only 24% of workers said they’re strongly connected with their peers, a 3% drop. This is especially true across departments. If employers expect workers to collaborate effectively, they need to provide opportunities for employees at all levels to get to know each other.

Percent of Employees Who Feel Strongly Connected to Coworkers

Lack of Recognition

Employees are more likely to stick around if their work is valued. But it’s easy for managers and leaders to let recognition slide when there are so many other pressing issues. Unfortunately, this is exactly what’s happening. Only 26% of employees surveyed reported they feel “strongly valued” at work, a drop from 31% last year.

However, using a peer-to-peer recognition tool can have amazing effects. This can bring employees together, encourage collaboration, and even reduce turnover. We predict peer-to-peer recognition will become more popular this year.

Percent of Employees who feel Strongly Valued at Work

Lack of Transparency

Employees want to work for an organization that willingly shares information. Take the results of this Harvard Business Review survey: 70% of employees are most engaged when senior leadership regularly updates them and communicates with them about strategy.

Yet organizations are falling behind in providing transparency. A quarter of employees believe management is transparent with them. There’s a perception gap as well. A much higher percentage of managers — 42% — believe they are being transparent with employees.

Percent of People Who Feel Management is Transparent

Lack of Quality Performance Reviews

It’s commonly known that both employees and managers believe the performance review system is broken. Barely one in five employees rated their performance review system highly. The complaints are consistent: the reviews aren’t timely; they don’t address big picture issues like the employee's career path; and the feedback isn’t valuable.

Percent of People Who Believe Their Performance Review Process is Very Good

The good news is that organizations using TINYpulse Perform — a pulsing review tool focused on providing regular, specific feedback — reported many positive outcomes. Employees working for organizations using Perform believe their managers are more transparent, their work environment is better, and their organization is more likely to take action based on their feedback.

Clearly, employers have a lot of work to do in terms of employee engagement. This is essential to reduce costly turnover as the labor market improves.

 

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2017 Employee Engagement Report

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author avatar

This post was written by Chris Rhatigan

Chris Rhatigan is a freelance writer and editor. He is a former newspaper reporter for The New Haven Register and The Iowa City Press-Citizen. He enjoys playing old video games, studying (and trying to speak) Hindi, and walking his dog on the local trails. He lives in India.