2011 Global Engagement Study Shows Mixed Results
BlessingWhite, an international HR research firm, has released its 2011 global engagement study in which it evaluates employee engagement—individuals’ contribution to the company’s success and personal satisfaction in their jobs—as a driver of business success.
The good news for North American employers is that employee engagement is up from 2008 (33 percent from 29 percent), indicating that many employers saw some of their “almost engaged” employees improve to “engaged.” However, employees BlessingWhite calls the “crash and burners”—those who are disillusioned and possibly exhausted—also increased in number, most likely as a natural consequence of a difficult economy.
The top factors driving engagement continue to be “opportunities to do what I do best” and “career development opportunities and training.” More importantly, the top engagement drivers were fairly consistent across generations, departments, and roles. The message is clear: continue developing all of your people, and then give them room to run.
The study contains some sobering news, as well. While there is still a strong correlation between employees’ engagement level and desire to stay with their current employers (81 percent of engaged employees intend to stay versus 18 percent of disengaged employees), the overall percentage of employees who intend to remain with their current employer is down five points from 2008 to 56 percent. More troubling, the number of employees who are clearly headed out the door nearly doubled since 2008 (13 percent, up from 7 percent).
This is not completely unexpected. Many companies continued developing their top performers during the difficult economy and were even able to raise engagement levels. Now those highly-developed employees are seeking opportunities to test their new skills. According to the survey, lack of career opportunities is the number one reason motivating employees to leave their current jobs. So if you want to keep those top people, you’d better be talking with them about their next role with increased compensation and responsibilities. Because if you aren’t having this conversation with them, someone else may be.