Incentra Insights

The Global Crisis in Employee Engagement

Posted by David Chittock on May 13, 2015 11:50:00 AM

Companies are Failing to Engage Today's Workforce


I recently read a troubling report regarding employee engagement.  In a study of human capital trends around the world, Deloitte found that companies are struggling to engage their modern, 21st century workforce.  Surveying over 2,500 organizations in 90 countries, Deloitte concluded that this is a worldwide issue.  Gallup's research confirms that only 13% of employees globally are actively engaged at work, and more than twice that number are so disengaged they are likely to spread negativity to others.


Some Unsettling Numbers


The report includes the following grim statistics:

  • 86% of business and HR leaders believe they do not have an adequate leadership pipeline (38% see it as an urgent problem)

  • 79% believe they have a significant retention and engagement problem (26% see it as urgent)

  • 77% do not feel they have the right HR skills to address the issue (25% urgent)

  • 75% are struggling to attract and recruit the top people they need (24% urgent)

  •  Only 6% believe their current process for managing performance is worth the time, 58% called their process “weak,” with North American companies 20% worse than the rest of the world.


So What in the World is Going On?


Deloitte concluded that the global work ethic is undergoing a fundamental change. Workers today are seeking more than just a steady job.  They want to be treated equitably and fairly in a workplace that is growing increasingly diverse. They are demanding more interesting and meaningful work. They are expecting their employer to make work more rewarding and satisfying.  Millennials, in particular, want more creative jobs and a more entrepreneurial environment. Everyone wants work to be easier, less punishing, and more stimulating. Studies show that nearly 26% of the US workforce is going to change jobs this year, and these are typically the most highly skilled and motivated people. Deloitte found that “retention” was the #2 issue in its study.


Another Contributing Cause - Employees are Overwhelmed


Today’s employees are beleaguered by a number of factors that also give rise to disengagement. According to Deloitte, 2/3 of today’s employees feel “overwhelmed.” They are working much harder for longer hours and, and because of the proliferation of technology, finding it much more difficult to maintain a healthy work/life balance. They are continually distracted by a barrage of texts, alerts, emails, voicemails, conferences, and meetings.  Recent research shows that average office workers can only focus for seven minutes at a time before they either switch windows or check Facebook.  65% of business and HR leaders rate this an important or urgent challenge, yet fewer than 10% of organizations know what to do about it.


Need to Redefine Employee Engagement


In the light of all these facts, it’s obvious that the concepts, practices, and attitudes regarding employee engagement need to be totally re-examined, re-defined, and brought into the 21st. century.  Annual surveys and yearly recognition events are just not going to cut it in today’s world.  In our next post, we’ll discuss some realistic remedies for solving the global employee disengagement problem and how you can turn things around for your organization.  Stay tuned!

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Categories: Employee Engagement