Employee Engagement Trends: Going Beyond the Headlines

Gloomy employee engagement headlines paint a negative picture; these articles cite dismal global engagement numbers that are continually falling. Yet at OrgVitality, our broad-spanning data shows that employee engagement has remained stable over the past several years. Certainly, individual organizations show changes, both improvements and declines. However, when you look at the survey trends in the aggregate, they remain unchanged year over year. The following chart reflects our analysis of scores [1] from various large-scale global organizations over the past several years:

Diving in a little deeper, we found no meaningful changes among individual items that we use to measure engagement. Some of these items include:

1. I am seriously considering leaving my company within the next 12 months 2. There is a promising future for me at my company 3. I am proud to work at my company 4. My work gives me a feeling of personal accomplishment

The broad conclusion from our data is clear: There is no meaningful shift in the global environment causing engagement scores to shift dramatically. If organization-level scores are changing significantly, it is likely due to internal events as opposed to any social or economic force affecting the greater population. Often a change in leadership or strategic direction is responsible for these major shifts in scores over a short time. Bottom line, if your organization is struggling with falling engagement scores, you need to look internally to decipher the root causes. When created strategically, employee surveys can help uncover these issues.

For current world events to cause a seismic shift in overall trends, they would need to be something of great significance, such as a global economic recession or a robotic revolution that dramatically changes the nature of the workforce away from humans. Something of this nature may happen in the near future, but at the moment, you need to take ownership of your organizational scores and work to improve them.

At OrgVitality, we believe that employee engagement is only one piece of a larger puzzle. You can look at overall engagement, but it's more critical to look at the strategic priorities and direction of the organization. Ultimately, crafting a strategic survey and using the results to drive your improvement efforts will likely see a gain in your overall employee engagement scores as well.

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