WASHINGTON, D.C. — Employees who are in engaged in their work and workplace are twice as likely to report their organisation is hiring new workers as those who are actively disengaged.
Workers who are emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace are far more likely to report their organisation is letting people go than those who are engaged.
Americans report these substantial differences in their organisation’s hiring practices even though, collectively, Gallup finds overall U.S. job creation holding steady in recent months.
These findings are from a special Gallup Daily tracking series conducted January through June 2011 to thoroughly explore American workers’ engagement levels. Gallup’s employee engagement index is based on worker responses to 12 actionable workplace elements with proven linkages to performance outcomes, including productivity, customer service, quality, retention, safety, and profit. More recent research has found significant linkages between engagement at work and health and wellbeing outcomes.
Engaged employees are involved in and enthusiastic about their work. Those who are not engaged may be satisfied but are not emotionally connected to their workplaces and are less likely to put in discretionary effort. The actively disengaged are emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace and jeopardize their teams’ performance.
Engagement Low but Improving
Overall, in the first half of 2011, 30% of U.S. workers employed full or part time are engaged in their work and workplace, up slightly from 28% in late 2010. Job creation has also improved from +10 at the end of 2010 to +15 in June. Approximately half of U.S. workers are not engaged, and nearly one in five are actively disengaged, unchanged from late 2010.
Currently, the American workforce has 1.5 engaged employees for every actively disengaged employee. Gallup management research has found the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees varies greatly across different organisations, from more than eight engaged employees for every actively disengaged employee in the most highly motivated organisations to fewer than one engaged employee for every actively disengaged employee in the least motivated workforces. Engagement also varies across countries worldwide.
analysing the special Gallup Daily tracking series data cannot definitively determine the direction of the causal relationship between employee engagement and hiring practices. It is possible that employees are more engaged because of their organisation’s success or more disengaged because of their organisation’s lack of progress or the fear of layoffs. Recent research, published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science has studied the causal relationship between engagement conditions and financial performance, finding employee engagement predicts financial performance more strongly than financial performance predicts employee engagement. Leaders can use high employee engagement to improve employee retention, customer perceptions of service, and other outcomes that will then lead to better financial performance.
Overall, these findings provide a strong reminder that the general hiring patterns nationwide vary widely across employees working in different workplace environments. Workers in disengaging workplaces are more than twice as likely to report their organisation is letting people go as are those in engaging workplaces. And workers in engaging workplaces are more than twice as likely to report their organisation is hiring as are workers in disengaging workplaces. Job creation may partially be a result of the general economic climate, but it is also likely a function of the businesses’ own success, driven by their workplace environment, performance, and strong leadership.
Gallup research has found that how leaders manage employees can significantly influence engagement and disengagement in the workplace, which in turn influences a company’s bottom line and workers’ health and wellbeing. This analysis suggests the most progressive organisations are those that are engaging their employees, thereby producing more and higher quality work. These same organisations also appear to be moving the job market in a positive direction.
Workplaces that disengage employees have lower productivity and are less likely hiring and more likely laying off workers. For those who wonder what they can do during a down economy to help their organisation take an active role in improving the job market, one answer might be for them to engage the people they work with. Every manager can play a role in engaging workers by clarifying expectations, getting employees what they need to do their work, giving workers recognition when they do good work, encouraging employee development, helping workers connect to the broader purpose of the organisation, and frequently measuring and discussing progress. The managers and departments within organisations that do these things are more likely to produce high-quality work and help their organisations grow and improve the wellbeing of their workforce.
About the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracks U.S. wellbeing and provides best-in-class solutions for a healthier world. To learn more, please visit well-beingindex.com.
About Gallup’s Employee Engagement Index
Gallup’s employee engagement index is based on decades of research studying which workplace elements matter most in driving performance outcomes across organisations throughout the world. Gallup researchers identified 12 elements that are summarized into 12 survey items. A composite of employee responses to the 12 items is used to formulate the engagement index groupings: engaged, not engaged, and actively disengaged.
Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup Daily tracking survey Nov. 16-Dec. 15, 2010 and Jan. 2-June 30, 2011, with random samples of 2,526 (2010) and 4,434 (2011) adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.
Maximum margin of sampling error ranges for subgroups vary according to size, ranging from ±1.9 percentage points for 2010 engagement and hiring to ±1.5 percentage points for 2011.