By now, we all know that engaged employees are more productive. But did you know it’s estimated that low engagement costs the global economy $8.8 trillion? And to add some perspective, that number is a whopping 9% of global GDP.
In their recently released 2023 Global Workplace Report, Gallup found one clear answer to several trends impacting employee engagement and what leaders can do: change how their people are managed.
Important Takeaways From the 2023 Global Workplace Report
“Poor management leads to lost customers and lost profits, but it also leads to miserable lives. This research into wellbeing at work finds that having a job you hate is worse than being unemployed — and those negative emotions end up at home, impacting relationships with family. If you’re not thriving at work, you’re unlikely to be thriving at life.”
The data from this year’s report clearly points to the difference that skillful leadership can make in engaging employees. And leaders should first focus on what Gallup CEO Jon Clifton calls your most “winnable employees,” the six in 10 employees who are quietly quitting.
Quiet quitters are employees who disengage from their work but don't overtly express their dissatisfaction or quit their jobs. They may continue to fulfill their job responsibilities, but their motivation, enthusiasm, and commitment to their work are in decline.
With just a few changes in the workplace, this majority group of employees can be inspired and motivated if they have leaders who know how to coach and manage them in the right way.
Below are a few important takeaways from the 2023 Global Workplace Report, along with strategies we recommend for improving engagement focus and effort in your organization:
1. 23% of the world’s employees were engaged at work in 2022
23% of the world’s employees were engaged at work in 2022, the highest level since Gallup began measuring global engagement in 2009. Be sure you are regularly taking a pulse on engagement in your workplace, whether through an employee survey, focus groups, performance metrics, or other feedback tools.
You can find a quick self-inventory checklist here to grade your company culture and help you make a long-term impact on engagement and productivity.
2. The majority of the world’s employees are “quiet quitting,” with 59% reporting as not engaged
When asked, “What would you change about your workplace to make it better?” an overwhelming 41% responded that they would change the engagement or culture, and included comments such as:
- I would like it if the managers were more approachable and we could talk openly.
- They should grant more autonomy in the work to stimulate everyone’s creativity.
- I would like to learn more things, but the work I do is quite repetitive.
- I just wish they respected me more.
- Giving everyone a fair chance of getting promoted.
- Clearer goals and stronger guidance.
- For everyone to get recognized for their contributions.
Here are a few case studies of companies that successfully made changes to their engagement and culture and the measurable impact and results.
3. Employee stress remained at a record-high level
Although the world has recovered from the worst of the pandemic, employee stress remained at a record-high level. Alarmingly, the US had the highest regional percentage of daily stress (tied with East Asia).
Several warning signs point to increased stress in the workplace:
- Changes in behavior
- Increased absenteeism
- Decreased performance
- Physical symptoms
- Withdrawal or changes in relationships
- Lack of focus or concentration
Find tips here for helping employees manage stress and improve workplace wellness.
4. The manager is the cornerstone of engagement
The manager is the cornerstone of engagement, with 70% of team engagement attributable to the manager. But many managers are quietly quitting, too, and they need support and tools to build great teams and bring out the best in their employees.
That could include investing in a formal engagement program or a culture boost initiative such as leadership development training, a team building series, or individual leadership coaching to provide support for those who are leading your workforce.
Learn more about how to support your leaders here.
This year, more than ever, the data shows that when you support leaders with getting the culture piece right, your employees become invested in the mission, engage their talents, and reach their full potential. When we change the way people are managed, we turn quiet quitting into thriving at work!