Gallup recently released its State of the Global Workplace 2023 Report, an annual look at employee engagement and workplace trends around the globe. According to the study, only 31% of U.S. and Canadian employees are engaged – which means that 69% of employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged. And with Gallup’s estimate that low engagement costs the global economy $8.8 trillion, not addressing engagement comes at a high cost.
Here are some workplace trends and key findings from Gallup’s 2023 report and what they mean for your company:
- The majority of the world’s employees are “quiet quitting.”
You’ve probably heard this term by now, but what does it actually mean? Basically, quiet quitting is just another name for being disengaged; it refers to employees who are putting in the minimum effort required to get by and who don’t feel connected to the organization beyond a paycheck. Gallup found that 52% of U.S. and Canadian employees are quiet quitting. But quiet quitters aren’t the only problem. The study found that another 17% of U.S. and Canadian employees are “loud quitting.” Loud quitting refers to those who are actively disengaged – employees who aren’t being quiet about their displeasure and are taking actions that can directly harm the organization.
What this means for you: Quiet and loud quitters may make up a large percentage of your employee base, but remember, they haven’t actually quit – which means you still have a chance to re-engage them. Listen to your employees – whether through a company-wide survey, focus groups or one-on-ones with their managers – and learn what changes could be made. Do they feel valued by the company and supported by their manager? Do they see opportunities for growth? Does your current culture align with their values and desired ways of working? These are all foundational yet critical elements for engagement that could be missing.
- Employee stress remains at a record-high level.
Globally, 44% of employees said they experienced a lot of daily stress, a repeat of the 2021 record high. In the U.S. and Canada, that number increases to 52% – a tie with East Asia for the highest level of stress across all regions. While the report doesn’t get into the specifics of what’s stressing out employees lately (I’m sure we can all think of many possibilities), it does share that engagement has an impact here: when employees are engaged at work, they report feeling significantly less stressed (30%) compared to those who are actively disengaged (56%). And, the study found that engagement has 3.8 times as much influence on employee stress as work location – meaning that feeling engaged makes a bigger difference in reducing stress than where they are sitting.
What this means for you: The pandemic may have come to end, but your employees’ stress has not. Whether the stress is stemming from work or their personal life, stress can lead to employees feeling burnt out – which can push them into quiet quitting, loud quitting or for-real quitting. Organizations can help prevent this by providing ways for employees to reduce or manage their stress, such as activities focused on well-being and work-life balance; by ensuring they have the appropriate level of support and resources to do their job; and by making sure that their time in the office is well spent so that it enhances their engagement.
- “Quiet quitting” employees know what they would change about their workplace.
When Gallup asked the quiet quitters what they would change about their workplace to make it better, 41% mentioned engagement or culture. They referenced things like recognition, autonomy, learning opportunities, respect, and stronger guidance. Another 28% mentioned pay and benefits, including support with childcare and transportation costs. And 16% of quiet quitters mentioned well-being, referencing things like more breaks and more consideration for employees’ health.
What this means for you: While companies can’t always change the pay and benefits offered, they can change what employees experience from an engagement, culture and well-being perspective. But engagement doesn’t happen on its own, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Every moment of an employee’s experience has the potential to impact their engagement – but those moments must be created intentionally by leaders and managers. A manager can make or break an employee’s engagement: Gallup reports that 70% of team engagement is attributable to the manager. Take a good look at the managers in your organization – do you have the right people in those roles? Are you providing them with the training and resources they need to become good managers? And just as important, are your leaders modeling the right behaviors for them? Don’t forget: engagement starts at the top.
From shifting employee expectations to new workplace trends and phrases, the world of work is constantly changing. By keeping a pulse on your employees’ needs, challenges and preferences, and intentionally building an employee experience that aligns to them, you can make sure your employees stay engaged – and stay put.
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