Employee engagement blog

You're Kidding Yourself if You Think Your Employees Are Engaged

Here’s a couple stats that might be disconcerting to business leaders: a recent Robert Half survey found that 38% of chief financial officers said retaining valuable staff was a top concern for the coming year, but only 13% said improving engagement and morale was a top concern.

So CFOs are concerned about turnover, but they’re less concerned about ensuring that their company's best employees are engaged. Is this an issue of worrying more about the symptoms than the core problem, or does it speak to something else entirely?

I vote for the latter.

In a survey i4cp recently conducted on employee engagement and engagement surveys (the report will be released later this spring), we asked HR professionals what percentage of their workforce they considered to be disengaged. A whopping 79% percent of respondents said they believed less than 30% of their workforces were disengaged. Just under 40% said half to three-quarters of their workforces were engaged, and only 13% said most to all of their workforces were engaged.

Yet surveys on engagement - from Gallup to i4cp and many others - have consistently reported over the years that only a third of employees are actively engaged, most are not and approximately a quarter are actively or not so actively disengaged.

The problem may very well be that while business leaders are concerned about employee turnover, they don't believe that their team/department/organization has an engagement problem. They are less concerned about fixing the problem because, for them, the problem doesn't exist.

But data shows that the problem does exist.

Much has been written on how to better retain employees so I won't get into all that here, but I'll leave you with an article I wrote almost exactly two years ago: Your Best Employees Are Going to Leave You. What CFOs, HR professionals and managers need to do is accept this statement and then ask: how do we hedge our losses?

Erik Samdahl
Erik is the head of marketing at i4cp, and has nearly 20 years in the market research and human capital research industry.