Employee engagement at 11 year low – what gives? - Dignify
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Employee engagement at 11 year low – what gives?

Wednesday, June 5, 2024 - Joe Kiedinger

I read an article from Gallup the other day, and it showed a pretty sobering truth. Employee engagement is at an all-time low within the last 11 years. The author, Jim Harter, writes that engagement dropped by three percentage points at the turn of the year, representing 4.8 million people no longer engaged with their work.

To put it in perspective, the ratio of engaged employees to actively disengaged employees is 1.8:1, which means that there’s a high chance that any given employee you see is disengaged. Harter writes that the drop in engagement is most prevalent in workers under 35 (especially Gen Zers), employees who could work remotely but do their jobs on-site, and employees who work exclusively from home.

Reading this didn’t surprise me, sadly. I’ve seen it happen firsthand. Over my decades of experience in this industry, I’ve noticed how engagement has become a major challenge for many businesses. Despite their best efforts, they often can’t get it right. It’s no wonder why – it’s hard! Creating an actively engaged employee takes a lot of work. It requires you to meet each of your employees’ needs, and each employee has unique needs.

But no matter how difficult it is, engagement is something you can’t afford to ignore. Change is inevitable, and as leaders, we must adapt. The fact of the matter is that we have a new generation entering the workforce, a comfortable majority of them are actively seeking hybrid work.

From a leadership perspective, it can be frustrating when remote work seems to correlate with lower engagement rates. However, the same can be said for on-site workers who prefer remote work. Instead of seeing this as a binary issue, we need a practical approach grounded in reality.

The talent market is such that employees satisfied with their jobs might still leave for opportunities that offer remote or hybrid work, sometimes even for less pay. Trying to stop someone who wants to work from home is pointless; they’ll find a way. Employees are rightly prioritizing their work-life balance, and responsible employers must prioritize their employees’ needs. While engagement is partly driven by the employee, it’s up to employers to create an environment where they can thrive, whether in person or remotely.

So, how do you keep hybrid and remote workers engaged? You can’t rely on water cooler talk, quick team-building activities, or spontaneous face-to-face interactions. The time you get with remote employees is limited, so it needs to be valuable and impactful. You need a deliberate system to maximize the value of your interactions.

I created Dignify to bridge this relationship proximity gap. It wasn’t in my plan when it was invented in 2010, and neither was COVID! Now, the world has changed, and a focus on understanding the dignity of each person is critical to keeping engagement high. It speeds up the connection and creates awareness of that person’s innate strengths. Dignify enables people to do this from anywhere, whether they are right next to each other in the office or thousands of miles away working from home. Take it upon yourself to implement the system you need to keep your people engaged and fully in the game, no matter where they are or what stage in life they are at.


ACTION PLAN: Start building a system to keep your engagement rates high for all employees, remote, hybrid, or on-site. Need help? Looking for solutions? Try Dignify.

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