Insight Engagement and wellbeing

15 Employee engagement statistics that will make you rethink your engagement strategy

Written by intelliHR on 28 Nov 2018

The term “employee engagement” gets thrown around so much that it sometimes detracts from its true meaning. Engagement is far more than ping pong tables or giving everyone an extra week of annual leave – it’s about motivating your people to do their best work. In this article, we’re covering everything you need to know to develop a solid employee engagement strategy including key employee engagement statistics, the three pillars of employee engagement, and how to measure engagement.

Motivated employees are 31% more productive and sell 37% more compared to less motivated peers.

– University of California

Three pillars of employee engagement

After almost three decades of leadership, the collective experience in the team here at intelliHR has uncovered three pillars of genuine employee engagement that we aim to help all organizations foster.

1. Alignment

80% of employees feel more engaged when their work is consistent with the values and mission of the company.IBM

Engagement starts with alignment. Where does each employee fit in your organization? Your people need a place to fit in and feel like they are part of the bigger picture, and understand how they personally contribute to their organization’s future direction. They want to know that their everyday activity is making progress towards the company’s mission. Beyond knowing they have a meaningful place within the organization, this alignment should not strongly conflict with their own personal goals, attitudes, values, and beliefs.

2. Contribution

Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.Salesforce

Once your people have a place in your organization they also need to know that they can make a meaningful contribution to the wider company goals. Consider if employees are able to see the impact their work is having on the bigger picture. Knowing that they are making a difference instills a sense of achievement that is so essential to staying engaged.

3. Relationships

Half of employees would sacrifice their salary, as much as 29% of it, to work a job they enjoy.Kforce

Finally, the relationships your people form at work are the remaining piece of the puzzle. Ultimately, people must be able to work with their team harmoniously and enjoy coming to work each day.

Almost 8 in 10 employees said they’re likely to leave in search of another position after just one bad day on the job. Addison Group

Now we know what engagement really means, but why should we care?

1. Engaged employees are more motivated and productive

Consider these employee engagement statistics:

  • Companies with engaged employees pull in 2.5x more revenues compared to competitors with low engagement levels. Hay Group
  • Motivated employees are 31% more productive, sell 37% more, and are three times more creative compared to those who lack motivation in their role. University of California

Employee engagement really does have a direct impact on the bottom line. Not only does it have an impact – but more than 30% additional productivity and sales is quite significant. What business wouldn’t want that?

2. Actively disengaged employees have 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and make 60% more errors – Gallup

So not only do engaged employees perform better, but we also see the reverse effects when people are disengaged at work. The increased likelihood of accidents and errors that come with disengagement are exposing businesses to serious risk and financial loss. This is coupled with lost productivity due to absenteeism, further eroding profitability.

Want to know how much turnover is really costing? Use our free Employee Turnover Calculator to find out what disengagement might be costing you.

3. Organizations with low engagement scores have 18% lower productivity, 16% lower profitability and 65% lower share price over time Gallup

Further supporting the above findings, companies with poor engagement not only have lower profitability and productivity, but these snowballing problems have also been shown to have a compounding effect on share price over time.

4. Organizations with highly engaged employees receive twice as many job applications Gallup

Anyone who has been involved in the hiring process will know that the best talent can be hard to find, and even harder to retain, particularly in specialist roles. This figure shows that switched on professionals are seeking out roles in organizations with a good reputation for being a great place to work. Building a gooe company culture and positive work environment with happy and engaged staff will help you expand and improve the quality of your talent pool.

5. 70% of an employee’s motivation is influenced by their manager.– Gallup

Turns out the age-old adage, “people don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses” is backed by science. Leaders charged with the responsibility to oversee direct reports have a significant influence on their team member’s performance and job satisfaction. Part of this can be attributed to how managers impact on an employee’s attachment (or lack thereof) to the organization. This is explored in Anthony Sork’s concept of ‘Attachment Theory’.

6. Within 120 Days, new hires will have fully decided if they are going to stay in an organization long-term, based on the relationships they have formed Sork Human Capital

As we mentioned above, strong relationships at work are absolutely essential to not only retaining people but helping them perform faster. It takes significant time (up to 2 years) and money (up to $100,000 or more) to get an employee performing at their peak. By fostering an engaged workforce, and ensuring managers have a healthy relationship with their direct reports, we can speed up the path to peak performance, and keep people performing over time.

This is all determined by what happens within an employee’s first 120 days which is why an effective onboarding process is so crucial to success.

Learn how to get people performing at their peak sooner with these 3 ROI tips

7. People consistently perform more poorly and disengage when higher incentives are at stake. – Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Science has proven time and time again that significant monetary incentives or time pressures often result in decreased performance when it comes to tasks that require creativity or strategic thinking. As manual work becomes increasingly redundant in our workplaces, we need to use methods of motivation that are conducive to creative and strategic thinking.

A study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston looked at how performance was impacted by the size of an incentive. After testing across a series of different tasks, it was found that performance was consistently lower, the higher the incentive. Essentially, the higher the stakes, the harder it became for participants to perform.

This is not to say financial incentives are never effective to motivate employees – each individual has different motivations. What it does mean, however, is we must go beyond the traditional “carrot and stick” approach, as it doesn’t work for everyone, and may even inhibit performance. When managers take the time to invest in building relationships and getting to know their direct reports, they can better understand what motivates each individual and support their success accordingly.

So, what’s the state of engagement like right now?

If you think the majority of your workforce is fairly engaged, think again.

Only 14% of employees in Australia and New Zealand are engaged in their jobs. 71% are not engaged and as many as 15% are actively disengaged.


Knowing the positive impacts of engagement, this is a concerning percentage of workers to be actively disengaged. But it is possible to measure engagement in your own organization, and pinpoint areas for improvement. Let’s explore how this can be achieved.

How to measure and improve engagement?

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

– Peter Drucker

Besides a misconception that engagement does not impact the bottom line (which we now know is not the case), another factor that often discourages businesses from prioritizing engagement is that it can be difficult to measure.

There are a plethora of ways to improve engagement at work – but before implementing all these tactics ad hoc – it’s vital to have a system in place to actually a) measure engagement, and b) determine what areas of improvement should be focused on.

If your staff are disengaged at work, they don’t necessarily want free coffee or sleeping pods, they might just want a chance to have their ideas heard, or a health and safety hazard to be fixed. Sometimes it is these one-percent fixes that can have a huge impact on engagement. But first, we must determine what they are.

The following tools can help you identify focus areas to improve levels of employee engagement across your organization, and then measure their improvement as you make changes.

1. Continuous feedback

Long, infrequent employee engagement surveys have low completion rates and offer poor quality data as they are simply too much of a mammoth task for employees to complete. They also don’t offer insights that are timely.

By sending a quick form to staff each month to see how they are going, you can give your people the opportunity to give feedback about their experience, then use this to inform a meaningful one-on-one conversation and improve the employee experience for all.

intelliHR wellness check-in survey pulse
intelliHR lets you pulse out surveys to check-in on the wellbeing of your staff

70% of the employees say motivation and morale would increase if senior leaders said ‘thank you’ more.Reward Gateway

Learn more about intelliHR’s easy-to-use continuous feedback tools.

2. Adhoc feedback

intelliHR survey and feedback functionality not only helps measure engagement but can also be used as an ad-hoc engagement and survey tool in itself. For example, a check-in could be sent to staff asking for them to contribute any innovative ideas they may have. This gives people the opportunity to contribute more, while the organization benefits massively from receiving fresh, innovative ideas to explore. After all, no one knows what your customers want better than your staff!

3. Happiness analytics

See what is making your staff happy or unhappy, identify trends and uncover root causes to fix them. Track an overall happiness rating out of 10 across individuals, teams, business units or the whole organization over time.

96% of employees believe showing empathy is an important way to advance employee retention.Forbes

intelliHR feedback pulse survey
Sending out regular check-ins or pulse surveys can help you understand how staff are coping and working together.

Learn more about how you can measure employee satisfaction with intelliHR’s HR analytics.

4. Sentiment analysis

Monitor events that are leading to engagement or disengagement among your people. Sentiment analysis analyzes the emotional tone behind entries left in diary notes, goal comments, forms and more to uncover potential issues or areas of positive progress, helping you easily identify hidden qualitative trends.

business sentiment
intelliHR sentiment analysis analyses inputs across your whole business to determine overall sentiment or ‘mood’

RELATED: 8 Ways to measure employee engagement

Key takeaways from this article

Now that you’re across the most important employee engagement statistics, here’s what you need to take away to put together a best-practice employee engagement strategy:

  1. Engaging employees is key for a productive workplace, organizations with low engagement have high absenteeism and poor work quality.
  2. The contribution given by your employees is dependent on their perception of how meaningful their work is to the organization.
  3. If a manager is disengaging from their employee, then the employee will disengage from the business.

We hope this blog has inspired you to start paying closer attention to your employee engagement. How will you improve engagement in your organization?

intelliHR is a people management platform helping HR, leaders and managers enhance performance, culture, engagement and retention. With built-in HRIS and powerful real-time analytics, see how the platform works today.

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