Good news! According to the research firm Modern Survey, employee engagement is at an eight-year high in 2014; in fact, it's at its highest since they began their annual survey in 2007 of 1,000 full-time employees at more than 100 companies. Companies like Modern Survey and Gallup have been trumpeting the benefits of engagement for years, so many organizations have given it serious effort.
Company efforts have gone beyond company-wide "empowerment sessions," where everyone gets things like rocks, light-up bouncy-balls, and identical plants to emphasize their status as a team (and yes, I've heard of or experienced all of these and more). Now leadership focuses on decreasing turnover rates, bridging skills gaps, offering continued learning experiences, and allowing greater workplace flexibility. When handled properly, all these efforts make workers more willing to engage.
How 'Bout That Unemployment Rate!
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate dipped below 5.9% in September 2014--the lowest point in six years, down from 7.2% a year before. As of mid-October, new unemployment claims had dipped to a 14-year low. This may contribute to the increased engagement Modern Survey has recorded. You might think engagement would increase when jobs are scarce; however, people tend to be more worried when they know they can easily be replaced. A fearful employee isn't apt to engage; it's far easier when you're not concerned about keeping your job.
Why It All Matters
All this engagement looks like it might be paying off, which is great for productivity. When employees enjoy their jobs enough to give it their all--and pour their discretionary time and effort into it--productivity soars. This can translate into greater company profits. As a leader, focus on the areas that boost engagement:
What have you been doing lately to ensure greater engagement?
© 2014 Laura Stack. Laura Stack, MBA, is America's Premier Expert in Productivity™.