2020 Global Crisis = 2021 Global Decrease in Employee Engagement July 2021

While the blanket of the pandemic in 2020 covered the Earth, not all nations and people experienced it in the same ways. From employee engagement, life evaluations, emotional roller coasters; to environmental, social, and governmental trust, the world is experiencing a new mental health pandemic. Will employee mental health get worse? Possibly…likely.

Good news… this trend can be reversed.

Measuring mental health is an avenue to begin this process. Therefore, Gallup World Poll, the only organization that has captured these statistics on how life is going for employees since 2005, in more than 160 countries, has provided current, updated data and statistics on how life is going for employees in a representative sample around the world.

Globally, employee engagement decreased by 2 percentage points from 2019 to 2020 (22% to 20%) – following a steady rise over the last decade. With the conditions of the pandemic of 2020, along with the lockdown, sickness/deaths, remote work and unemployment, it is not surprising that the global trend continued with frustrations and struggles of millions across the planet. “However, there were significant differences in how employees across regions and countries experienced 2020.”

Gallup found that roughly 7 in 10 employees are struggling or suffering, rather than thriving, in their overall lives. 80% are not engaged or are actively disengaged at work. This lack of engagement “costs the global economy US$8.1 trillion, nearly 10% of GDP, in lost productivity each year”. Hence, as employers “re-think their workplaces in 2021, they have lessons to learn from 2020. Most importantly, leaders need to recognize the influence of employee wellbeing and employee engagement on workforce resilience.”

Global employment engagement at work is at 20%. This dismal low means that a large majority of employees in the world are either watching clocks or actively opposing their employer. Employee engagement reflects the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work productivity and overall workplace. Businesses with high employee engagement “achieve higher productivity, higher customer loyalty/engagement, better safety, lower turnover and higher profitability, among other positive business outcomes”. Accordingly to Gallup’s data, those most actively engaged were females and the individuals aged 40 and older groups.

Comparatively, the US & Canada region resulted in 34% active employee engagement (14% difference globally); thus, making us the highest regional percentage of engaging employees worldwide. The US & Canada were also the second highest regions for employee thriving. On the other hand, the lowest regional percentage of engaged employees live in Western Europe.

However, Eastern Europe saw the largest regional increase in employee engagement. Latin America & the Caribbean demonstrated the largest regional decrease in employee engagement. Gallup’s data includes other areas of environmental statistics that factor into employee engagement.

If 80% of an organization’s employees are not engaged at work, the organization’s resilience during a crisis will be at high risk, and leaders will not be able to consistently reach their goals. Leaders cannot be effective when their people are not paying attention to them; therefore, the average corporations are fighting with themselves daily for minimal gains in productivity.

Engagement reflects what happens at work. Wellbeing includes work and all other experiences. As this past year showed clearly, experience outside work greatly affects work itself. All daily negative emotions (mental health, emotional strain, social isolation, financial shocks and caregiving responsibilities) all influence work performance over the long term. Over time, the negative side of these experiences can lead to employee burnout.

When employees are engaged and thriving, the risk of burnout declines distinctly. Some employers believe that they shouldn’t concern themselves with their employee’s non-work-related life experiences. This should no longer be prevalent. To be competitive and maximize business performance in today’s workplaces, employers are responsible for cultivating well-being. This requires more than policy. The managers must be transformed from “Boss” to “Coach” so they can have honest, meaningful, enriching conversations with their team members. Employees must trust that their leaders and
managers truly care about them as people.

If you are a leader/manager and would be interested in assistance with how you can coach/train your employees in today’s challenging workplace, contact Jason Ballard, Business and Executive Coach.

If you are an employee looking to improve your active engagement and/or begin thriving in your life, Coach Jason Ballard provides the skills and strategies to help you succeed!  Contact us today!