In its simplest terms, employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals. Unlike employee satisfaction, employee engagement measures how much employees care about their work and their company.
Employee satisfaction is often connected to benefits, pay or job security. On the other hand, employee engagement relates to a manager’s influence and the employee experience through things like recognition, job assignments, trust and day-to-day communications.
For engaged employees, it’s not about the paycheck or climbing the corporate ladder. Engaged employees are the kind of folks who go above and beyond their daily workload — without being asked — simply because they care about the business or their team’s success.
But, you don’t have to take our word for it. Check out the employee engagement statistics we’ve aggregated to help you better understand how and why your company should nurture employee engagement.
Why employee engagement matters
This new focus on employee engagement isn’t for nothing — employee engagement leads to better business outcomes. Unfortunately, just 33% of American workers feel engaged in their current jobs. In fact, 52% say they’re “just showing up” and 17% describe themselves as “actively disengaged.”
With disengaged employees, you have people working for you who are doing just the bare minimum — they feel no real connection to their job. This can manifest itself as:
An unwillingness to participate in social events outside of the office
A tendency to fox hole oneself apart from peers
A 9-to-5 mentality
A negative attitude toward their job
Low morale at a team or individual level
On the flip side, engaged employees look at the whole of their organization and understand their purpose — where and how they fit into the grand scheme of things. This can lead to more robust strategies and clearer decision-making, allowing a company to outperform the competition.
According to research from Towers Perrin, companies with engaged workers have 6% higher net profit margins. Additionally, Kenexa’s research shows that companies replete with engaged employees have five times higher shareholder returns over five years. Not only does employee engagement have the potential to affect stakeholder value and net profits, but it is also a critical factor in employee retention, productivity and loyalty.
Plus, current employee engagement helps employers attract and retain top talent. For example, employees want a good, compelling reason to stay. If they don’t have one, they’ll leave and find another company that offers them what they want. And they’re pretty certain that they can find another job. According to research by Glassdoor, 53% of employees are confident in the fact that if they were to quit or lose their current job, they could find a comparable position within six months.
By not committing to creating a fleet of engaged employees, companies rack up a considerable cost for hiring and training new hires.
Employee engagement statistics
Of course, it’s not just qualitative facts that show the impact and improvements that employee engagement brings to organizations. The following employee engagement statistics reveal the immense need to make engagement a strategic priority for your organization.
1. Organizations with an engaged workforce are 21% more profitable
Including employee engagement as part of your business strategy could help your company beat out the competition. In Gallup’s State of the American Workforce, analytics showed that businesses with the highest employee engagement scores suggested 21% higher levels of profitability compared to those in the lowest quartile. Successful engagement can come about by ensuring all employees have the best tools and knowledge available to perform their duties as well as possible.
2. 37% of employees consider recognition important
A study by O.C. Tanner asked participants a simple, but complex question — what is the most important thing a company or manager could do to help employees be successful? Out of the total survey constituents, 37% cited that recognition is the most crucial method of support. Other solutions, while helpful, lagged notably behind:
12% wanted more inspiration
12% more autonomy
7% more pay
6% more training
In short, these statistics suggest that over a third of a workplace needs, first and foremost, to be recognized.
3. Highly engaged business units achieve a 10% increase in customer ratings
Reports show that engaged business units can achieve a 20% increase in sales. Along with an increase in profitability, business units with engaged employees can achieve a 10% increase in customer ratings — meaning the employee experience has a definitive impact on the customer experience. Employees who build strong relationships with customers and are notably engaged with their job help their company increase profitability and sales.
4. Businesses with engaged employees have 24% less turnover
It’s no surprise that the employee experience is considered valuable — companies with highly engaged employees experience 24% less turnover. Plus, 85% of HR leaders say employee experience is the most valuable HR capability. But, while workers are certainly deemed an essential aspect of business success, a recent survey reported that despite a high value being placed on employee engagement, only 24% (of survey constituents) plan on prioritizing or improving the employee experience.
5. Engaged employees are happy and healthy employees
More than 60% of engaged employees feel their work positively affects their physical health. Employee engagement statistics often highlight the effect that the workplace can have on its employees’ physical health. Wellness programs can help prevent burnout, stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed. By providing employees with the resources they need to be successful, employees are less likely to get sick and experience burnout or stress-related ailments.
6. Businesses see 70% fewer safety incidents
Engaged employees are more connected to their workplaces — and more connected employees are more aware of their surroundings. Research shows that 70% fewer safety incidents occur in workplaces with highly engaged employees. Instead of worrying about whether there's room for advancement or whether their boss likes them, engaged employees can focus on the task at hand which reduces errant accidents.
7. About 80% of employees are considering leaving their jobs
Regardless of whether or not your employees are actively looking for a new job, a recent study found that 81% of employees would consider leaving their jobs for the “right” offer. For many, changing jobs isn’t just about money. A large percentage — 71% —of workers would iterated that they would accept a pay cut to work at their ideal job. Incentivizing employees to stay goes beyond the paycheck. Giving employees the resources and tools they need to stay engaged is one way to ensure retention. However, there also needs to be a healthy balance between the workplace and employees’ personal lives.
8. Low employee engagement costs companies up to $550 billion each year
Unengaged workers take less responsibility and ownership of their behavior and can really drain overall productivity. To offset this, companies can implement invest in cost-effective programs and tools that monitor and maintain personal engagement. In the long run, focusing on self agency and employee recognition goes a long way in boosting morale and saving companies financially.
9. Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work
When creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, it’s critical to truly hear your employees’ voices. A report from Salesforce found that diverse companies that hear out their employees see a major boost in financial performance. Therefore, by inviting more people to the table, eliminating bias and establishing a diverse and inclusive community, companies can get a leg up against their competition.
10. Nearly 90% of workers at companies with well-being initiatives are more likely to recommend their company as a good place to work
According to a report published by the American Psychological Association, a determining factor in the success of wellness programs is the involvement and commitment of senior leadership. At a business where employees view leadership as uncommitted to their well-being, barely 17% of employees would recommend their respective employer as a good place to work. It goes to show that when your own employees aren’t speaking highly about a business, you lose out on great talent.
To sum up . . .
With many more statistics that prove the value of employee engagement, it’s easy to see why more companies are beginning to invest in programs to increase employee engagement. Harvard Business Review even states that engaged organizations have double the success rate compared to less engaged organizations. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, investing in well-rounded, all-inclusive employee engagement tactics spells out true financial success for your company.