A Look at Employee Engagement and Work Trends

A Look at Employee Engagement and Work Trends

In 2022, employees had a banner year with high wages, plenty of job-hopping opportunities, and a voice in the workplace. Hybrid work became the new norm, skills-based hiring gained traction, and pay transparency grew in popularity and became a legal requirement in several states. How did employees around the world experience life and work in 2022? The recently released Gallup State of Global Workforce 2023 Report answers this question.

  1. Engagement: An employee’s emotional commitment, motivation, and involvement toward their work and organization is engagement. Employee engagement goes beyond job satisfaction and encompasses the extent to which employees are dedicated to their roles, believe in the organization’s mission, and actively contribute to its success. How engaged were employees in 2022?
    • Thriving: 23 percent of employees are thriving on the job, the highest level achieved since 2009 when Gallup began measuring engagement. These employees perceive their work as meaningful and establish strong connections with their team and organization. They also experience a sense of pride in their contributions and assume responsibility for their performance, demonstrating a willingness to go above and beyond for their colleagues, clients, and customers
    • Quiet quitting: 59 percent of employees are not engaged and are quiet quitting. These employees simply go through the motions by exerting the minimum effort necessary and psychologically detaching from their employer. Despite their limited productivity, they are prone to stress and burnout, as they experience a sense of being adrift and disconnected from their work environment. Of these quiet quitting employees, to make their workplace better, 41 percent would change their organization’s engagement or culture, 28 percent its pay and benefits, and 16 percent its commitment to well-being.
    • Loud quitting: 18 percent of employees are loud quitting by expressing their dissatisfaction or frustration with their job or workplace in an overt or noticeable manner. Instead of quietly disengaging or seeking new opportunities, employees who engage in loud quitting actively voice their grievances, display negative behaviors, or take actions that undermine the organization’s goals or leadership. This can include openly criticizing the company, spreading negative feedback, intentionally disrupting work processes, or confronting colleagues or managers.
  1. Stress: Employee engagement has 3.8 times as much influence on employee stress as their work location—fully remote, hybrid, or on-site. In 2022, employee stress was at record levels, with 44 percent of employees stating they experienced a lot of stress the previous day. The survey did not delve into what is stressing workers but did report the following:
  • The U.S. and Canada tied East Asia for the highest stress levels and had the top regional percentage of female workers who experience high-stress levels daily.
  • In East Asia, 60 percent of young workers and 61 percent of remote workers experienced extremely high levels of daily stress resulting in them being the most stressed-out workers in the world.
  • When actively disengaged, 56 percent of employees felt a lot of stress the previous day.
  • When engaged, only 30 percent of employees felt a lot of stress the previous day.
  1. Job opportunities: The surge in job opportunities, with 51 percent of workers believing now is a good time to find a job in the area where they currently live, brings a positive shift for workers. This enables dissatisfied employees to escape unfavorable work environments while also providing more workers with the opportunity to discover employment that aligns with their preferences.
  • 61 percent of actively disengaged employees are watching for or seeking a new position.
  • 43 percent of engaged workers are watching for or seeking a new job.
  • Employees’ level of engagement determines their required pay increase to accept a job with another organization. Engaged workers need a 31 percent pay increase, and actively disengaged workers want a 22 percent increase, on average, to change jobs.

Key takeaways

The key findings of Gallup’s report were that even though employee engagement is rising, the majority of global workers are still quiet quitting. Gallup estimates that low engagement costs the world economy $8.8 trillion—9 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP). Additionally, employee stress is at a record high, while over half of workers are actively or passively job searching. What should you do as an organization leader?

Focus on your quiet quitting employees: By disregarding the engagement of 59 percent of their quiet quitting employees, leaders are failing to leverage a fundamental driver for customer retention and organic business growth. Employees who have quietly quit represent an easily attainable opportunity for increased productivity within your organization. They can be inspired and motivated with the right coaching and leadership approach making these employees more engaged, less stressed, and less likely to quit.

Evaluate how you measure engagement: Employee engagement does not equate to happiness. While employee contentment or satisfaction is an important aspect, it focuses more on an individual’s happiness or comfort with their job than their engagement level. Authentic engagement implies that individuals are mentally and emotionally present to fulfill their responsibilities, comprehend their tasks, possess the necessary resources, and receive support from their managers and teams. Engaged employees grasp the significance of their work and are fully prepared to contribute. To measure employee engagement, offer feedback platforms, conduct regular and pulse surveys, focus groups, and stay and exit interviews.

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