Employee Engagement in 2021: How was it?

It’s nearly the of February already! Wasn’t it Christmas only yesterday? Where is the time going…? Anyway, before 2021 is considered too irrelevant to talk about, I thought I’d share some stat’s and benchmarks for employee engagement, to see how things have really been going out there…

By: James Blair on

Only half of our workers feel engaged

According to The Circular Board, a Qualtrics study found the employee engagement rate in the UK to be at 50%. Yep, you read the right. Only half of our workers are engaged. For comparison’s sake, the figure for engagement around the world is quoted at 68%. It’s around 60% in Europe.

But there is some good news…

That same research found that companies that are effective at turning workers’ feedback into action have an employee engagement score of 80%. (Companies that don’t, on the other hand, have an engagement rate of just 40%.)

In fact, the importance and benefits of having a leadership team that listens are echoed repeatedly. Two-thirds of all workers believe that it’s very important for their leaders to listen to their feedback.

According to a report by Achievers, companies with highly engaged teams experience a 25% - 59% decrease in turnover. That’s a big range, but it represents something between a ‘significant’ and ‘huge’ benefit to the business. Highly engaged teams also generate 41% lower absenteeism.

They also, rather unsurprisingly, found that employers with highly-rated cultures of recognition are 2.5 times more likely to see high levels of engagement than those that don’t.

Recognition makes a huge difference

Recognition should be frequent, specific and sincere. This is even more important to our Gen’s Y and Z colleagues (who place greater emphasis on wellbeing, work/life balance, feedback and recognition) than those who came before. It should also occur at and between employees at every level. Peer-to-peer recognition is as beneficial as top-down recognition, especially when trying to build a culture of embedded appreciation.

According to the Achievers’ report, 90% of workers claim that receiving recognition motivates them to work harder.

All of this just shows how important ongoing and robust communication and recognition are. It proves the necessity and value of our internal comms strategies, and how they must include scope for listening at every turn.

True engagement is also about workers feeling aligned with their employer’s values, vision and purpose. Back to those stat’s: the Achievers’ report claims that employees whose values are closely aligned with those of their employer are five times more likely to be engaged. This is why robust communications with your teams about your purpose, vision and values are so important. This shouldn’t be a one-off drop. Employees need to feel in touch with and updated on the current performance and direction of travel. And, once again, this is particularly true for our Millennials and Gen-Z workers, who want to work for an organisation with a clear mission and need to feel a higher sense of purpose towards the work they’re doing.

As I promised stat’s at the start of this piece, let’s end with a few more facts and figures…

  • Employers that practice social recognition are four times more likely to see improved process. (Achievers)
  • Highly engaged teams sell 20% more than those with low engagement. (PeopleMetrics)
  • Disengaged employees have a 60% higher error rate than those who feel engaged. (Achievers)
  • Burned-out employees are 63% more likely to take a sick day and 2.6 times more likely to look for a new job. (Gallup)
  • Disengaged employees cost the UK between £52–70 billion per year in lost productivity (Achievers)