Employee Engagement

Engagement Holds Steady, Despite the Recession

According to the 2009 Gallup Worker Engagement survey (see the graph on the Enterprise Engagement portal home page), the level of worker engagement held steady over the previous year, with some important nuances. There have been “significant changes in average mood by month as we’ve tracked it throughout the year,” says James K. Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist of workplace management and wellbeing.

Gallup’s tracking studies have found that people are experiencing increases in worry and stress; they are spending less time socializing; and obesity is on the rise. The more people are engaged in their work, observes Harter, the less they experience “the ups and downs.” Using its Q12 methodology, Gallup has tracked worker engagement for the past decade. Its most recent employee engagement research shows that 28% of American workers are engaged, 54% are not engaged, and 18% are actively disengaged. During the last 10 years, the percentage of engaged employees ranged from 26% to 30%, while the percentage of actively disengaged employees ranged from 15% to 20%.

Gallup defines employee engagement as the “psychological and emotional attachment people feel for their workplaces.” According to Gallup, engagement matters because disengaged employees cost the economy over $415 billion in 2009.


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