Employee Engagement Trending Downward

Recent results from Modern survey on the state of employee engagement in the U.S. have shown employee engagement down in all aspects.

“After a year of upward trending engagement scores, Modern Survey’s latest study on employee engagement in the U.S. workforce shows a precipitous decline in workers’ psychological investment in their organizations. While the economic recession may have temporarily motivated employees to put forth extra effort on the job, the latest data from this scientific study suggests U.S. workers may have hit their breaking point, as all five components of Modern Survey’s Employee Engagement Index are now trending downward. …

“The most significant declines are statistically significant six percentage point drops in the number of workers who say they “take pride in their company,” (from 79% in August 2009 to 73% in February 2010) and “intend to stay with their company for a long time” (from 63% in August 2009 to 57% in February 2010). …

“Bruce Campbell, Senior Consultant at Modern Survey, believes that if companies do only one thing right now in regards to employee engagement, it should be to express sincere appreciation for employees and recognition of their contributions, and it should come from the organization’s most senior leaders first, then repeated and reinforced by managers at all levels.”

Of particular interest in this research are two points. First, the comment that “US workers may have hit their breaking point” as the reason for the drop – this could also be attributed to repeated signs that the economy is improving, giving rise to employee hopes to find a new job. As Right Management research noted, 87% of Americans are engaging in some level of activity to leave their current position. The distraction these thoughts bring are sure to lower engagement levels as well.

Second, Bruce Campbell’s advice bears repeating: if you only do one thing now to contribute to employee engagement, recognize and appreciate your employees. Repeat and reinforce at all levels to help employees see the meaning and purpose in their work, know they are appreciated for their efforts and help them to once again take pride in your company and stay for the long term.

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