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Despite Low Engagement Levels, Some Workers Are Staying Put

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Fewer workers are seeking new jobs in 2019 than they were a year ago.

This is according research conducted by Achievers, an employee engagement platform provider, which found that 34.7% of workers plan to look for a new job in 2019, down drastically from 74% in Achievers’ 2018 report.

The figure is relatively surprising, given that 70.1% of the more than 800 North American respondents do not consider themselves very engaged. Additionally, 18.6% of respondents haven’t decided if they'll look for a new job yet.

“Employee engagement is arguably one of the hardest business challenges, as it's so individualized and constantly changing,” said Dr. Natalie Baumgartner, chief workforce scientist at Achievers. “What struck me in the data is how differently each respondent prioritized their work experience and the huge opportunity to improve employee listening to understand engagement at an individual level.”

Key takeaways from the 2019 Achievers report:

Employee engagement is lacking, but workers aren't running for the door

  • When asked how engaged they were in their current job, the most common response was “average engagement, but open to new opportunities” (31.6%).
  • Just 20.8% consider themselves “very engaged,” while 16.3% are fully disengaged. 31.3% said they’re “engaged but feel my company could do more to improve employee experience.”
  • When asked the main reason they would change jobs, only 14% said they'd leave because “I'm not engaged,” meaning many employees are sticking around despite average to no engagement.
  • Instead, the top motives for people leaving their job were financial in nature — a pay raise (54.2%), career advancement (37.8%) and better corporate benefits (20.7%).

Employee experience needs to be prioritized by senior leadership

  • Even the 31.3% who considered themselves engaged said their employer could do more to improve the employee experience.
  • Most see leadership as ineffective at improving company culture — just 9% called them very committed to improving company culture and employee experience.
  • A combined 38% have either never heard senior leadership talk about culture or said “they talk about it, but there's no action to back it up” and 31.4% call senior leadership “average — they're reactive but not proactive.”

Recognition is a powerful engagement tool, but underused by managers and companies

  • Over one-quarter of respondents (26%) ranked “recognition for my work” in their top three important factors for staying with their current employer, but nearly 1 in 5 (17%) said their manager/employer was “horrible — they never recognize my work” and the largest group of respondents (43%) ranked their manager/employer as just “OK” (recognizing them annually or quarterly at least).
  • Just 10.8% of workers call their manager/employer “awesome” and are recognized weekly and 29.4% call them “pretty good” and are recognized at least once a month.

Employers are missing an opportunity to personalize engagement by soliciting employee feedback

  • 16.3% called their manager/employer “horrible” at soliciting feedback on their employee experience and 40% rated them just “OK — they ask for feedback only once or twice a year.”
  • When it came to acting on feedback, workers ranked managers/employers even worse. 42.3% said they're “OK — they make a few changes based on it,” but 21.4% said they're “horrible — they never do anything with feedback.”

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