Employee Engagement in the American Workplace

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This very useful report on employee engagement in the American workplace was released in 2017. Gallup developed “State of the American Workplace” using data collected from more than 195,600 U.S. employees via the Gallup Panel and Gallup Daily tracking in 2015 and 2016, and more than 31 million respondents through Gallup’s Q Client Database. First launched in 2010, this is the third iteration of the report.
Highlights include:
  • 51% of U.S. employees say they are actively looking for a new job or watching for openings.
  • 51% are not engaged in their work and haven’t been for quite some time.
  • 58% of U.S. employees say their employer offers a wellness program.
  • 53% of employees say a role that allows them to have greater work-life balance and better personal well-being is “very important” to them.
Gallup asked employees to indicate how important certain attributes are when considering whether to take a job with a different organization. They found that employees place the greatest importance on a role and organizations that offer them:
             1. the ability to do what they do best
             2. greater work-life balance and better personal well-being
             3. greater stability and job security
             4. a significant increase in income
             5. the opportunity to work for a company with a great brand or reputation

People are focused on their lives, not only their jobs. They do not want to compromise one at the expense of the other. As such, 53% of employees say a role that allows them to have greater work-life balance and better personal well-being is “very important” to them. Female employees are more likely than male employees to assign high importance to this job attribute, while millennials and Gen Xers are each more likely than baby boomers to do the same.

Work-life balance has various meanings that often include tactical and philosophical components for employees. Increasingly, people want to be able to adjust their hours and schedules as needed and work remotely when they can without compromising work quality or productivity. A Gallup study on benefits and perks finds that 51% of employees say they would switch to a job that allows them flextime, and 37% would switch to a job that allows them to work off-site at least part of the time.

That is why it’s critical for employees to know how an organization “walks the talk” on greater work-life balance and well-being. Organizations should highlight what they offer to help employees better balance work and life and improve their well-being, but they also need to make this discussion about culture. Flextime and similar perks are attractive, but they are beneficial only when employees truly feel empowered to use them.

Employer wellness efforts need to employ more effective strategies to help employees increase their level of engagement and satisfaction with their work.

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