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Some Employee Engagement Statistics for 2021

As I wrote a few weeks ago about employee surveys and why some return a poor response rate, I thought it would be a good time to find some benchmarks for employee engagement, to see how things are really going out there, as well as some stat’s that may act as eye-openers. What I have found may actually bring a tear to them too!

Allow me to poke you in the eye…

According to The Circular Board, a study by Qualtrics found the employee engagement rate in the UK to be at 50%. Yep, only half of our workers are engaged. The figure for engagement around the world is quoted at 68%. (Latin America tops the chart with 74%. Europe is at around 60%. It’s like Eurovision all over again, with us languishing at the bottom of the scoreboard…!)

The same research found that companies that effectively turn feedback into action have an employee engagement rate of 80%. Companies that don’t turn feedback into action have an engagement rate of just half that, at 40%. In fact, the importance of having a leadership team that listens is underlined repeatedly. Two in every three workers believe that it’s very important for their leaders to listen to their feedback. I’d wager a bumper pack of Curly-Wurlys that the very fact you’ve found the time to read this article means this is not a surprise to you.

According to a report by Achievers, companies with highly engaged employees experience a 25% - 59% decrease in turnover and 41% lower absenteeism.

They also found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that employers with highly-rated cultures of recognition are 2.5 times more likely to see robust engagement rates than those that don’t. If employee engagement is the measure of a worker’s motivation and sense of purpose, and not just their satisfaction at work, then recognition is a valuable boost to both!

Recognition should be frequent, sincere and specific. It should occur at and between employees at every level. Peer-to-peer recognition is as beneficial as top-down, especially when trying to build a culture of embedded recognition and appreciation. According to the Achievers’ data, 90% of workers claim that receiving recognition motivates them to work harder.

All of this just shows how important ongoing communication and recognition are. It proves the necessity and value of our internal comms strategies, and how they must include scope for listening. Surveys are a start. But using a live polling and/or interactive Q&A platform at your regular meetings, conferences and remote get-togethers is a fantastic way of showing that you care enough to ask and listen. Acting on what is learned from them will build those trust and engagement scores hugely.

True engagement is also about workers feeling aligned with their employer’s values, vision and purpose. Achievers’ report claims that employees whose values are well-aligned with those of their employer are five times more likely to be engaged. This is why communicating with your people about your purpose, values and vision is so important. This shouldn’t be a one-off drop either. Employees need to feel updated and in touch with the current direction and performance against these goals. This is particularly true for our Millennials andGen-Z workers, who want to work for an organisation with a clear mission and need to feel a higher sense of purpose towards the work they’re doing.

As I’ve intentionally gone stat’-heavy with this piece, let’s close with a few more figures to inspire or concern you, depending on whether you’ve had enough coffee this morning…

  • Highly engaged teams sell 20% more than those with low engagement. (PeopleMetrics)

  • Employers that practice social recognition are four times more likely to see improved stock process. (Achievers)

  • Disengaged employees have a 60% higher error rate than those who feel engaged. (Achievers)

  • Burned-out employees are 63% more likely to take a sick day and 2.6 times more likely to look for a new job. (Gallup)

  • Disengaged employees cost the UK between £52–70 billion per year in lost productivity (Achievers)

  • 74% of engaged employees claimed that their senior leaders are creating excitement for the future. (Kincentric)

  • 58% of employees want their employers to conduct engagement surveys more often. (Achievers)


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