Figures from pollsters Gallup show that employee engagement in the first four months of 2015 has remained almost static at 31.5%. On it's own, that figure can be either encouraging or disappointing; encouraging that in hard economic times employees remain engaged, disappointing in the lack of growth in the light of continual efforts by companies to boost engagement.
Gallup defines engaged employees as being involved, enthusiastic and committed to their job. The organisation is in no doubt of the benefits of engagement, stating:
"Gallup's extensive research shows that employee engagement is strongly connected to business outcomes essential to an organization's financial success, such as productivity, profitability and customer engagement. Engaged employees drive the innovation, growth and revenue that their companies need."
What is most interesting in the results is that the average percentage of engaged employees has settled between 27% and 34%, with a slow but noticeable increase after a dip in mid 2013. This would indicate that there is, perhaps, a business 'norm' when it comes to % engagement, and certainly provides a ballpark figure to aim for.
There's also good news in that the percentage of "actively disengaged" employees fell after easter 2015 by one percent to 16.5%. These employees did not move into the 'engaged' category, however, but joined the ranks of the "not engaged". Gallup noted that:
"(These) employees are essentially "checked out." They sleepwalk through their workday and put time -- but not energy or passion -- into their work. These employees are less destructive and disruptive than actively disengaged employees, but they are not helping their organizations grow."
One of the major benefits of an employee network solution is that is can help move the 'not engaged' into the 'engaged' through participation in peer-led project or challenges that target their strengths and interests. The secret, of course, is for us as managers and leaders to find out what those strengths and interests are, and provide the opportunity for that first spark of interest to ignite.