When it comes to employee engagement, there’s no longer a question of whether it’s important. The research has been clear since the 90s, and the term has evolved from trendy buzzword to a permanent tenet of thriving companies. Nonetheless, discussing employee engagement is challenging, complicated, and sometimes imprecise. As a result, many leaders still have only a shaky understanding of how to support and encourage it.
In other business decisions, we rely on metrics and systematic analyses to make the right choice — and for good reason. Most successful leaders guide their organizations with logic, not gut-feelings. If you endorse this approach to decision making when it comes to employee engagement, this article is for you.
We’ll begin by sharing the most compelling employee engagement statistics that have made the concept a lasting priority for successful companies. After, we’ll delve into less-commonly cited employee engagement statistics that illuminate the most effective ways leaders can support it.
The Business Impact of Employee Engagement
The following employee engagement statistics are some of the more commonly cited ones for good reason. They paint a clear picture of the state of employee engagement, and offer insight into why it remains an imperative factor in the work environment.
These employee engagement statistics lay the groundwork of the importance of employee engagement. After reviewing them, we’ll delve into additional empirical evidence for what employee engagement is truly made of and how leaders can support it.
5 Employee Engagement Statistics You Need to Know
Speaking strictly in numbers, here are a few employee engagement statistics from Gallup research that highlight why business leaders should care about employee engagement:
- 15% of employees are currently engaged at work
- Engaged teams have 17% higher productivity
- Engaged teams are 21% more profitable
- Disengaged employees cost companies $550 billion per year
- Highly engaged teams have 25% lower turnover
This information is certainly compelling, but it’s also been circulating for quite some time. Even if leaders can’t recite these statistics off the top of their heads, most have by now absorbed at least a vague impression that employee engagement is related to positive business outcomes.
The employee engagement statistics that leaders still don’t understand are the ones that have to do with the causes related to employee engagement, and the underlying factors managers actually need to understand to support it well at work. In the next section, we’ll dive into a particularly relevant psychological study to shed more light.
Digging Deeper With Employee Engagement Statistics
It’s challenging to talk about internal states in terms of metrics, numbers, and statistically significant trends — but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. One study took an empirical approach to understanding employee engagement and its critical determinants.
Researchers found psychological empowerment to be a statistically significant predictor of employee engagement. Additionally, the study found that perceptions of job stability mediate the relationship between the two. Let’s unpack what all of this means.
Psychological empowerment is a well-established concept within the field of psychology, supported by some 25 years of research. It includes four major cognitions, defined by behavioral scientists A.K. Mishra and Gretchen Spreitzer as follows:
- Meaning: a sense of purpose or personal connection to work
- Competence: individuals’ beliefs that they have the necessary skills and abilities to perform their work well
- Self-Determination: a sense of freedom about how work is done
- Impact: a belief that individuals can influence the system in which they are embedded
In the study at hand, researchers distributed a scientifically-vetted questionnaire to hundreds of employees to evaluate whether there is a statistically significant relationship between these four cognitions and employee engagement.
They concluded that individuals high in overall psychological empowerment were also more highly engaged at work. Additionally, the researchers found that the correlation between these factors and employee engagement intensifies in the face of perceived job insecurity, which leaders should keep in mind given the current economy.
The findings hold a lot more weight than mere speculation or anecdotal observation. These employee engagement statistics are the results of careful scientific inquiry by behavioral scientists. It’s lucrative for managers and other leaders to keep these factors in mind when attempting to understand employee engagement statistics and their implications.
What Leaders Can Do: Employee Engagement in 3 Steps
There are several things leaders can do to leverage these statistics for great results at your company. We’ve broken it down into three steps:
Understand the key employee engagement statistics related to business outcomes, shared at the beginning of this article. Reduced business expenses and increased employee efficacy make a compelling case for investing in employee engagement.
2. Develop an Approach
Adopt an objective, empirically sound approach to supporting employee engagement. The psychological empowerment model we shared above offers an excellent foundation upon which to ground this approach.
3. Take Action
Finally, take action to implement programs and initiatives to support the four cognitions related to high employee engagement. Ideas to do this include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Effective employee onboarding programs to ensure everyone has the training and resources they need to succeed in their roles
- Management training to promote more autonomous behavior at work
- Employee recognition programs to help connect the daily tasks performed by employees to higher-level goals and objectives
- Programs, committees, and outlets where employees can make their voices heard to senior leadership
When you leverage scientific research and employee engagement statistics to refine your company’s program, you better support both your people and your business. As psychological empowerment improves, so does the lived experience of the employees that make your organization run. When their experience improves, they’re positioned to produce their best work, and as the employee engagement statistics demonstrate, winning companies are composed of employees that excel.
Katerina Mery is a Marketing Specialist at Fond with a background in cognitive psychology and a passion for improving the way people live and work. She especially enjoys learning about how to accomplish this through rewards and recognition. In her spare time, you can find Katerina running outside, admiring art, and exploring the latest and greatest local restaurants.