WeSpire released our sixth annual State of Employee Engagement report. Every year, we survey over 1,500 employees in the United States to learn more about what the companies they work for are doing to drive engagement, particularly in positive impact initiatives like sustainability, social impact, wellbeing and positive workplace culture.
This year’s survey validated the importance of having an clear, well-understood employee engagement strategy, particularly for large companies. Let’s start with the reality that only 36% of companies have a strategy at all (or at least a strategy that is evident to their employees). Those that have a strategy have very significant differences, over 20 percentage points, in the percentage of employees who feel inspired by their jobs and who feel like their talents are being utilized to their fullest potential. They have 12 percentage point fewer employees actively looking for new jobs. The data on disengagement is even more striking. Large companies without an engagement strategy have 14 times the number of highly disengaged employees than those without a strategy. We’ve learned that a discussion with WeSpire often catalyzes to a company to develop a more integrated, unified engagement strategy across different program areas. It’s one of the reasons we launched a new services team that helps companies evaluate and/or develop their engagement strategy, often prior to implementing our platform.
The second aspect of the survey that’s always interesting are the engagement program trends. Which programs do employees believe their companies offer? What do they participate in? This distinction is important relative to other research data because it’s from the perspective of the employee. So a program may exist on a list on the Intranet somewhere, but are employees really using it? Is management talking about it? We’ve found that when an employee is asked why they didn’t participate in a specific engagement initiative, as many as 70% will say they didn’t know about it. We think asking employees what’s offered distinguishes ‘check the box’ type programs that may exist, but aren’t used, from those that are truly impactful and supported.
Last year’s growth came primarily in recognition programs and diversity and inclusion programs. Diversity and inclusion was no surprise to the team at WeSpire as a number of our clients began using the platform for diversity and inclusion last year and as a result, diversity and inclusion became a core category of our new positive workplace culture module.
Both wellbeing and sustainability showed small declines, which is concerning given the excellent data that shows the positive impact of that sustainability programs have on overall engagement rates. Wellbeing was slightly surprising given other predictions that the industry will be growing by about 7% per year, but may be related to some recent legal rulings and/or changes to the ACA. The national movement, #MakeAmericaWell, sparked by the CEO of Mindbody Online’s letter to CEOs to increase investment in worker wellbeing, will hopefully be one of a number of factors to reverse this trend (Note: WeSpire has signed on as a partner in this movement).
Finally, the report highlighted the criticality of effective communication with only 23% of employees rating their company as highly effective when communicating about their program. We do believe that the link between having a program and building awareness and participation for it is one of the hardest parts of ensuring success. It’s one of the reasons that our Customer Success team works so closely with our customers on their communication and enrollment strategies and why our platform has a number of automated communications, employee to employee communications and program manager to employee communications tools to drive impact.
We hope that you find this year’s report as interesting as we did and would love to hear what comments or questions you might have after reading it. If you haven’t read it yet, download away!