Employee Engagement on the Rise: Gallup survey shows increase from 2015

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Gallup is out with a 2018 Employee Engagement survey.  According to the latest numbers, at least one employer is seeing an increase in engagement, up .08 points from the same survey conducted three years ago.  

Gallup conducted the survey in March for Johns Hopkins University.  Results showed a 3.88 on a 5-point scale.  In 2015, results showed a 3.80 on the same scale.

Survey Details

The survey was distributed to university and health system staff.  For questions, Gallup used a combination of its “Q12” questions, which were also part of the 2012 and 2015 surveys, and well as questions from Johns Hopkins.  Gallup also added a series of open-ended questions on inclusivity and engagement.

64% of staff across the university completed the survey.  That’s up 9% from the year before.

According to John Hopkins University:  

The Human Resources team has already taken action on one piece of data. Only one in three workers in the 2018 survey said they strongly agree that they had received recognition or praise for doing good work in the last seven days, which is consistent with national data reported by Gallup. In response, the university is introducing a new function in the SuccessFactors Performance system that allows employees to recognize co-workers with an electronic badge. When someone is recognized by a peer within SuccessFactors, a badge appears on their Performance homepage and a note is sent to their manager.

JHU says the feature will bolster workplace recognition, which "motivates employees, provides a sense of accomplishment, and makes employees feel valued for their work," Heidi Conway said.  Conway is the vice president of human resources for JHU.

State of the Global Workplace

While the results were up for one company, the reality is there is still important work to be done when it comes to employee engagement, Gallup says.  In their latest State of the Global Workplace report, 85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work.  To be more specific, Gallup says 18% are actively disengaged at work, while 67% are not engaged at all.  These individuals are not necessarily the worst performers at a company, but they are indifferent when it comes to their respective organizations.  This translates to employees giving companies their time, but not the best version of their work.

As a result, there are major financial consequences for businesses around the world; to the tune of $7 trillion in lost productivity.

As a comparison, these are the percentages of employee engagement in 2017, based on data from the companies that participated in the Gallup survey:

  • Western Europe – 10%
  • Eastern Europe – 15%
  • Post-Soviet states – 18%
  • Middle East / North Africa- 58%
  • Sub-Saharan Africa – 14%
  • East Asia – 57%
  • Southeast Asia – 22%
  • South Asia – 28%
  • Australia and New Zealand – 14%
  • Latin America – 32%
  • United States / Canada – 31%
  • Best companies in the world – 70%

Increasing Engagement

Most modern companies lean on performance reviews to provide employees with feedback and an evaluation of their work.  That is not what the changing workforce is looking for, however.  Employees, specifically millennials, want more from their employers, things like purpose, opportunities to engage with each other and to develop their strengths.  To a millennial, their ‘work’ life and their ‘personal’ life are interconnected and are both a part of their cumulative identity.

Motivated Workforce and Staff Employees Smiling Art

Courtesy:  Stock Photo Secrets

That knowledge, coupled with the amount of money lost in productivity, is ample reason to change course and lean toward a desire to boost employee engagement.

According to research by the HR Exchange Network, companies are focusing much of their attention on doing just that.

Download our latest report:  Disruptive Trends Redefining Human Resources

In a recent survey, researchers asked “How important is employee engagement to your organization?”

HR Tech_Employee Engagement Importance

Multiple answers per participant possible. Percentages added may exceed 100 since a participant may select more than one answer for this question.

79% of takers said it was very important.  Diving deeper, respondents were asked to indicate how they were engaging with their employees.

HR Tech_Employee Engagement Technology

The top three vote getters were clear winners here:

  1. Surveys
  2. Social Platforms
  3. Career Pathing

All three technologies offer employers an opportunity to conduct ongoing conversations with employees.  When getting these strategies right companies will see an increase in engagement and an impact on the bottom line.

Again, we turn to Gallup’s data.  According to their database, those in the top quartile of engagement see 10% higher customer metrics, 17% higher productivity, 20% higher sales and 21% higher profitability. Organizations at the top observe earnings per share growth that is more than four times that of their competitors.