The State of Employee Engagement in 2021: 4 Key Takeaways

In 2021, as organizations continued to navigate the challenges brought on by the pandemic and the changing landscape of work, employee engagement remained a top priority for HR professionals and business leaders. A recent survey conducted by HR.com shed light on the current state of employee engagement and provided valuable insights into how companies can improve engagement levels in the face of the Great Resignation.

1. Employee Engagement Levels in 2021

The HR.com survey revealed that employee engagement levels have remained relatively stable in 2021, with 36% of organizations reporting high engagement levels, 48% reporting moderate engagement, and 16% reporting low engagement. While these numbers are encouraging, there is still room for improvement, especially considering the impact of engagement on key metrics such as productivity, retention, and customer satisfaction.

2. The Impact of Prioritizing Employee Engagement

Organizations that prioritize employee engagement consistently outperform those that do not. The survey found that companies with high engagement levels reported 18% higher productivity, 23% higher profitability, and 43% lower turnover rates compared to those with low engagement. These findings underscore the importance of investing in employee engagement initiatives and making it a strategic priority for the organization.

3. Measuring Employee Engagement: Methods and Challenges

Measuring employee engagement is crucial for understanding the effectiveness of engagement initiatives and identifying areas for improvement. The most common methods for measuring engagement include employee surveys (80%), one-on-one meetings (62%), and performance reviews (50%). However, HR professionals face several challenges in this process, such as getting honest feedback from employees (45%), interpreting the results (39%), and acting on the feedback (37%).

To overcome these challenges, organizations can:

  • Ensure anonymity in surveys to encourage honest feedback

  • Use a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to gain a comprehensive understanding of engagement levels

  • Communicate the results and action plans to employees to demonstrate the organization's commitment to improvement

Organizations with high engagement levels share several common characteristics, such as:

  • Strong leadership and communication

  • A culture of recognition and appreciation

  • Opportunities for growth and development

  • A focus on work-life balance and employee well-being

To improve employee engagement, HR professionals can leverage various resources and tools, such as:

  • Employee recognition platforms

  • Learning and development programs

  • Employee feedback and communication tools

  • Wellness and mental health support initiatives

Addressing Employee Engagement in the Current Labor Market

In the current labor market, characterized by the Great Resignation, organizations must prioritize employee engagement to attract and retain top talent. Some strategies for addressing engagement in this context include:

  • Offering flexible work arrangements and supporting remote work

  • Investing in employee development and career growth opportunities

  • Fostering a culture of inclusivity and belonging

  • Regularly seeking and acting on employee feedback

By implementing these strategies and continuously monitoring and improving engagement levels, organizations can navigate the challenges of the current labor market and build a highly engaged, productive, and loyal workforce.

In conclusion, employee engagement remains a critical factor in organizational success, and the findings from the HR.com survey provide valuable insights into the current state of engagement and the steps organizations can take to improve it. By prioritizing engagement, measuring it effectively, and leveraging the right resources and tools, companies can create a thriving workplace culture that benefits both employees and the bottom line.

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