Employees aren't engaged — but aren't leaving either
- A majority of workers don't feel engaged on the job, but most of them plan to stay in their current jobs, regardless, according to a new survey by Achievers. Though 70% of respondents don't consider themselves engaged, only 34.7% said they'll be looking for a new job this year — compared to 74% of workers in Achievers' 2018 report.
- Most respondents (around 31%) flagged themselves as having "average engagement, but open to new opportunities," but around 16% reported themselves fully disengaged from their work and company. One-fifth consider themselves to be "very engaged," the survey said.
- Achievers calls this a "major workplace complacency conundrum," and it seems finances could be behind the issue. When asked what factors would inspire respondents to look for another job, only 14% said they'd leave because they didn't feel engaged. Instead, more than 54% cited better wages as the motivation to look for greener pastures; almost 38% cited career advancement and only about 20% were looking for better corporate benefits.
Employee engagement must be a priority for business, and it starts before staff members report for day one — but few employers have met those needs, a separate Allegis report found. For many workers, engagement falls flat through recruitiment due to poor job descriptions and an interview process that doesn't explain what is expected in the role. Workers are looking for a job they can be proud of and that fulfills their personal and professional vision, according to recent analysis from PwC. A first day that feels opposed to their interview experience — or confirms any concerns from that experience — can severely derail attempts to engage new workers.
Self-esteem is another driver of workplace engagement, and workers who feel that they belong tend to be more engaged. But despite massive investments in engagement tools and initiatives, the majority of workers still do not identify as engaged on the job.
The cost of disengaged workers is high; some studies set an annual loss to business at around $500 million from productivity alone. These workers may not be unmotivated, according to some research, but most report they "check-out" at some point during the day for up to an hour – typically after breaks or lunch. Apart from wasting time, disengaged workers add to attrition. If employers don't instill a feeling of ownership and workplace pride in their workers, top talent is happy to move on.
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