Modern Work

Has the Pandemic Improved Employee Engagement?

By Shawn Smith,

Published on Sep 13, 2021   —   2 min read

Early this morning I was reading through some news articles when I hit a favourite of mine from Axios. If you aren't familair with who Axois are - they are media outlet but don't think of them as just the usual media crowd. They do things a little differently. Take a look and tell me what you think.

The discussion, as it was a live stream, was centred around The Great Resignation. Maybe a little stark to have alongside my morning coffee. One area that really had me thinking was employee engagement, or putting it another way their emotional attachment to their work and workplace.

To put some numbers around it, employee engagement in 2000 it was 26% and today it has risen to 36% - the highest since Gallup has been tracking it. Even before the pandemic it had a slight increase. Surprised? I certainly was, and I re-checked them a few times to make sure.

Further findings from research were;

  • Management strategies are changing. So instead of promoting the best person in their job to being the boss businesses now take management very seriously,  eg. promoting a person in a technical role to a people manager as they might not have those skills to really manage people. They now look to people with these skills or properly upskill were required.
  • 40% of people are actively looking for a new job. This number has not changed throughout the pandemic and oddly enough was at the same level in 2019.

What do employees expect from their employer?

  • Pay. This was always going to be an obvious one. Employees will seek change when there is a 20% or more increase - even those who are engaged.
  • Of the disengaged employees, 75% are currently looking for a new role.

And this is where things really get interesting. The 3 main drivers as to why people are wanting to change are;

  1. Development. Employee opportunities to develop into a new role or grow in their existing role.
  2. Mission and Purpose. Do employees feel attached to the mission and purpose of the organisation. Only 33% seem to agree that they are.
  3. Relationships. Employees are wanting to build relaionships across the business and feel connected. Within another study, interpersonal relationships can  mean more to the employee than pay.

These contribute to the stickiness of the employee.

As we all know, work from home has become a somewhat normal expectation from employees with about 2/10 say they'd like to work from home for ever. Another 3/10 say they'd like to work go into an office. That now leaves the middle 5/10 and they would like to do a bit of both.

Another study showed that there are many people that would take up to a 30% pay-cut to ensure that they could remain working from home entirely.

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