Employee engagement sees sustained drops for 1st time in 10 years: Gallup

Fewer than one-third of U.S. employees are engaged at work, according to a new Gallup report. This marks the second consecutive year the measure has dropped, falling from 36 percent in 2020 to 32 percent in 2022. 

Prior to this, annual averages of employee engagement had been steady or rising since 2010, according to the report published Jan. 25. 2020 marked a high, with 36 percent of employees engaged. 

To measure employee engagement, Gallup asks random samples of the working population about specific workplace elements that link to organizational outcomes, including profitability, productivity, customer service, retention, safety and well-being. For the 2022 findings, Gallup conducted quarterly surveys of about 15,000 part- and full-time employees in the U.S. Results are an average across the four quarters. Read more about the methodology here

Four more findings from the report: 

1. Eighteen percent of employees were actively disengaged in 2022, marking a four percentage point increase from 2020. 

2. Engagement elements that fell most from the pre-pandemic record-high engagement ratio in 2019 to 2022 were: clarity of expectations; connection to the mission or purpose of the company; opportunities to learn and grow; opportunities to do what employees do best; and feeling cared about at work. Researchers called the lack of clear expectations "the most concerning," urging employers to focus on improving in this area. 

"This element is the most foundational of all engagement elements," the report said. "A lack of role clarity makes all other engagement elements less impactful — employees cannot perform at a high level when they are confused as to what they are supposed to do." 

3. Overall, women experienced a more significant decline in engagement than men. Younger employees (young millennials and Gen Zers) experienced larger drops in engagement than workers 35 and older. Relative to older workers, younger employees experienced more decline in feeling cared about at work and having someone who encourages their development at work. 

4. From 2019 to 2022, the largest decline in engagement was among employees in remote-ready jobs who were working fully on site. Among that group, there was a five percentage point decline in engagement, and a seven percentage point increase in active disengagement. At the same time, employees who were exclusively remote saw a four-point increase in "quiet quitting" — what Gallup defined as "not engaged," though not "actively disengaged." 

View the full report here

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