Employee engagement is spiralling – here's how HR can help

Chaotic global events are still taking their tole on workplace morale

Employee engagement is spiralling – here's how HR can help

A new report has revealed that employee engagement in organisations across the world is not as stable as it seems, thanks to various world events that made "significant impact" on workplace morale. The new study from Kincentric, a Spencer Stuart company, revealed that while the annual global employee engagement remained stable between 67% and 69%, its quarterly results are reflective of a huge difference.

In the first quarter of 2020, global employee engagement peaked at 73%, while seeing its lowest in the first quarter of 2022 – at 62%.

The results in the first quarter of 2022 "suggest a bumpy year ahead as organisations figure out how drive and sustain engagement," according to the report, adding that it will be influenced by continued Talent Uprising, external circumstances, as well as reactions to events, changes in the market, and implementation of new people strategies.

The lower employee engagement is further marked by the decreasing desire of employees to stay, according to the report, and it could continue to make turnover rates a challenge for employers.

"In North America, this element has shown a dramatic decrease since 2019," read the report, referring to the Stay element of engagement. "Europe also shows lower Stay scores, but this appears to be an ongoing struggle rather than an emerging issue."

"Employees in Asia and Latin America have historically shown a relatively stronger intent to stay, but we are now seeing shifts to lower scores in recent quarters, indicating that employee turnover will remain a challenge."

Read more: The 'dark matter' of HR is employee engagement – here's how to master it

How to improve engagement

Jeff Jolton, Managing Director, Research and Insights at Kincentric, said that while there are indicators of decreasing levels of employee engagement, there are also areas where organisations can build employee-centric systems.

"These challenges present an era of opportunity for organisational leadership and the Human Resources function as drastic changes in ways of working can impact company performance."

According to the report, there are seven key elements of change that organisations could work on to improve employee experience:

  • Recognition
  • Career development
  • Performance management
  • Effective infrastructure
  • Staffing (hiring and retaining talent)
  • Communicating vision
  • Caring leadership

"The findings indicate that no one thing alone makes for a great work experience," said Jolton.  "Rather, it is the culmination of multiple and simultaneous active Employee Experience initiatives such as recognition, career development, performance management, effective infrastructure and staffing, communicating vision, caring leadership, and a positive mindset around change that correlate positively with the degree of Employee Engagement and enable organizations to successfully engage and retain their employees."

"Now is the time for business and HR leaders to assess, determine the right steps to take for their culture, and ultimately empower and inspire their people."

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