This new research shows that 8 out of every 10 employees are disengaged and unhappy, and what you can do about it today
16%. That’s how many employees are fully engaged in their work. Worldwide. This is according to recent research by ADP Research Institute. And it’s scary because it means that 84% (that’s 8 out of every 10 people) in the office is just “coming to work” and it’s costing all of us dearly.
“Employers are increasingly focused on elevating engagement, reducing turnover and attracting top talent,” said Marcus Buckingham at the ADP Research Institute. “It has been widely reported that companies with high engagement perform better financially, are more productive, have lower turnover and greater customer satisfaction.”
And that’s why the results of ADP’s extensive international research on employee engagement levels is so shocking.
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF EMPLOYEES ARE ENGAGED AT WORK?
ADP Research Institute’s Global Study of Engagement surveyed 19000 employees across 19 countries (including South Africa), using feedback from at least 1000 workers from each country in a stratified random sample. And, ultimately, it found that globally only 16% of employees are fully engaged at work.
It varies slightly from country to country, but South Africa just so happens to have exactly the same average as the global count: only 16% of employees say they’re fully engaged at work, meaning 84% aren’t.
This is a lot lower than most people expected. When Gallup, the originator of CliftonStrengths – see a brief introduction on them in our post: what are strengths – did their survey, limited to the US, they found that 30% of people were fully engaged in their jobs. The new 16% finding is a bit shocking because it means that out of every 10 people in your company, 2 are probably carrying the other 8 – and you can imagine the problems this causes in the long run.
WHAT’S LOW EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT COSTING YOU?
The US and UK track how much low employee engagement cost their economies per year – it’s well into the trillions! But unfortunately, South Africa does not have a single verifiable figure for how much this trend is costing us.
The closest glimpse we have is through the Momentum Effective Employee Index, which talks about presenteeism (people coming to work but not really contributing). And that says the hard cost of this trend is costing SA businesses around R89 billion per year.
But it’s important to note that this doesn’t include the actual costs of replacing employees, which would drive that cost up dramatically (replacing an employee can cost as much as that employee’s annual salary, sometimes multiple times that figure) – because low engagement is one of the main reasons companies lose their talent.
WHY IS THE ENGAGEMENT SO LOW?
That’s the million-dollar question. It’s what we’re continually researching and trying to better understand. But, through 13 years of neuroscience (see neuromanagement), behavioural psychology and NLP research, we at LifeXchange Solutions know today that it has everything to do with our companies’ organisational structures, systems and processes, social capital investment and company culture – among others.
These are the things we help businesses understand and change every day – see our organisational solutions for business. But there’s a definitely a very strong link between what’s known as strengths development and employee engagement.
“When you focus on developing people’s strengths, work doesn’t feel like work anymore, and there’s so much proof that it helps boost performance,” says LifeXchange Solutions’ strengths champion, Tammy Oosthuizen. And there’s research to back her up:
DO ENGAGED EMPLOYEES PERFORM BETTER?
You bet they do. Gallup did a massive study involving 49 000 business units with 1.2 million employees across 22 organisations in seven industries across 45 countries worldwide in 2016. And they found that those who implemented a strengths development programme were able to boost their employee engagement by up to an extra 20% within 6 months. And this had a dramatic effect on everything else.
They increased sales by up to 19% and profits by up to 29%. And, of course, you can do the same, starting today.
STRENGTHS COACHING AND DEVELOPMENT BY LIFEXCHANGE
Using the basic strengths assessment as a starting point, LifeXchange Solutions does full-service strengths roll-outs for your company. From the basic coaching sessions to the in-depth training and facilitating the necessary updates to your systems, processes and organisational management to get the full benefits of the strengths approach.
Discover our strengths-based development.
BONUS: OTHER IMPORTANT FACTORS TO ENGAGEMENT
During ADP’s research, they found that two factors had a huge impact on an employee’s engagement: Working in a team and trusting your team members and the company made people 12 times more likely to be engaged at work.
Fortunately, we have an awesome post that deals with both those topics in one. Discover how to build trust in teams.
Got an employee engagement query? Ask us.
The science of business growth? Get key insights with HR, people and management research.
The value of fairness and positivity: Explore the latest SA research on how to boost job satisfaction in low-income workers.
New study: Here’s how flexi work boosts employee engagement.
Discover all 4 domains of strengths.
Discover the strengths approach: Find out what are strengths and see the full list of strengths, as well as the relationship building strengths, influencing strengths, the executing strengths and strategic thinking strengths domain.
A boost to company culture and the shortcut to real growth: Discover the benefits of mentoring for business.
Also discover the similarities and differences between mentoring and coaching.
And get the inside track on trust and integrity with our look at the science of workplace trust.
Go behind the scenes and see the impact at our recent Goede Hoop Citrus strengths workshop.