Employee Engagement Lacking
Have you noticed a change over the past few months in your employees? If so, you’re not alone. Employee engagement is lacking recently. And it’s not specifically related to the pandemic and its after effects. Employee engagement is down for those that work at the office, are fully remote, and are on a hybrid schedule.
Women, younger generations, and individual contributors said they had lower levels of engagement than men, executives, and older generations. This is according to a new report from The Conference Board. Even with self reported decreases in engagement, more than 80% said they are putting in the same or greater level of effort.
While this data may align with the recent trend of quiet quitting and the great resignation, with the economic conditions changing over the past six months, the report says fewer people are actively planning to leave their jobs, though nearly four in ten would like to quit.
Whether actively planning to leave their job or not, we are still experiencing a high number of job departures. In August, the number of people leaving their job was 4.2 million, which is not far off of the record 4.5 million people who quit in November of 2021. Before April 2021, that number had never been above 4 million.
According to the survey, 30% of people said their engagement level is down at the office. This encompasses their commitment and connection they have to their work. As noted earlier, this number is consistent, regardless of the working situation.
Respondents also stated their mental health is down. Compared to six months ago, 37% said their mental health is worse, 36% said they had lower levels of a sense of belonging, and 37% said they had less intent to stay at their company. These numbers were again higher with women, Millennials, and individual contributors, with the exception of intent to stay, which was consistent across generations.
When asked about their work schedule, 55% said they are on a hybrid schedule, which is up 12% from six months ago. Remote workers are 31%, which is down 17% from six months ago, and 14% are in the office full-time. Flexibility for where they work is a key factor for employees, yet less than one-third of the respondents said their company allows them to work flexible hours.
After salary, 70% said workplace flexibility is the most important factor to them and could be a determining factor in accepting a new job. Following flexibility is matching contributions to a retirement plan at 65% and generous paid time off at 61%.
Other factors that impact employee engagement include disappointment in their current company, with 36% of respondents citing this as a reason they would leave, and lack of connecting to their company’s mission and purpose, cited by 20% of respondents.
Employees are looking for more in their job than they did before the pandemic. More than half said they would like a more empathetic, caring leader. This is not a surprise, as leadership soft skills have become far more important since the pandemic.
Surprisingly, half of the respondents said pay is not the most important factor, but it is still a factor. It was mentioned by one-quarter of the respondents as the reason they would leave their job for a higher-paying one.
According to the Conference Board’s Vice President of Human Capital, Robin Erickson, PhD, “Many workers have reevaluated their priorities since the beginning of 2020 at the outset of COVID. Employees are not only demanding to retain the flexibility they gained from being required to work remotely, but they expect genuine and transparent communications to continue from their leaders as well. That’s not to say that pay no longer matters—it’s just not the only thing that matters, or even the most important thing. Now, when looking for a job, workers are weighing a variety of factors unique to them and their needs.”
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