State of the American Workplace

| Posted in Leadership Blog


According to recent Gallup research, of the approximately 100 million people in America who hold full-time jobs:

  • 30 million (30%) are engaged and inspired at work, having exceptional managers,
  • 20 million (20%) are actively disengaged, having managers that make them miserable, and
  • 50 million (50%) are not engaged, present or are uninspired by their managers.

Furthermore, in terms of safety and healthcare costs, the research found that the top 25% of teams — those that were best managed — versus the bottom 25% in any workplace — or the worst managed — have nearly 50% fewer accidents and have 41% fewer quality defects. What’s more, teams in the top 25% versus the bottom 25% incur far less in healthcare costs. So having too few engaged employees means our workplaces are less safe, employees have more quality defects, and disengagement.

Engaged workers are the lifeblood of their organizations. They have significantly higher productivity, profitability, and customer ratings, less turnover and absenteeism, and fewer safety incidents than those in the bottom 25%.

Gallup estimates that active disengagement costs the U.S. $450 billion to $550 billion per year.

Managers who focus on their employees’ strengths can practically eliminate active disengagement and double the average of U.S. workers who are engaged nationwide.

The generations near the end of their careers tend to be more engaged than those at the beginning of their careers, according to Gallup’s research.

  • Millennials are most likely of all generations to say they will leave their jobs in the next 12 months if the job market improves. • Women have slightly higher overall engagement than men.
  • Employees with a college degree are not as likely as those with less education to report having a positive, engaging workplace experience.
  • Although certain policies such as hours worked, flextime, and vacation time do relate to employee wellbeing, engagement levels in the work environment eclipse corporate policies.
  • Only 22% of U.S. employees are engaged and thriving. When employees are engaged and thriving in their overall lives, they are more likely to maintain strong work performance — even during difficult times.
  • Only 41% of employees feel that they know what their company stands for and what makes its brand different from its competitors’ brands.
  • Engagement levels among service employees — those workers who are often on the front line serving customers — are among the lowest of any occupation Gallup measured and have declined in recent years, while engagement for every other job category increased.

Managers and employees must feel empowered by leadership to make a significant difference in their immediate environment. So what specific steps does a company need to implement to improve employee engagement?

  1. Select the right people.
  2. Engage your employees.
  3. Develop employee strengths.
  4. Enhance employee well-being.

Companies must invest in their employees’ greatest talents to optimize their performance. By creating a culture of wellbeing in their workplaces, organizations not only help their employees become more engaged, they also help them thrive. When used with an employee engagement initiative, investing in employee selection, strengths, and well-being has the power to boost the results companies would receive from increasing engagement alone.

Bottom-line: The research by the Gallup is invaluable and confirms what we know and see in our daily work with leaders across the US and beyond. At The Workplace Coach, we are uniquely positioned to help companies manage, and enhance employee engagement and well-being to better control healthcare costs, promote productivity, while attracting and retaining top talent.

Call today to discuss how we can help your organization be more engaged, innovative, and profitable.

–Dr. Rachel Elahee

*Adapted from The State of the American Workplace, Gallup 2013.