Employee engagement statistics in 2021 – 50 eye-opening facts

April 9, 2021

How employees feel about their job affects their performance. Employees who show up to work with an engaged and constructive attitude will stay longer and do a better job. There is plenty of research to support the connection between employee engagement, performance, and employee retention.

In this article, we’ve rounded up 50 interesting facts about employee engagement and listed the sources. Some of these facts are truly eye-opening and should serve as a wake-up call for any executive who is still ambivalent about the importance of working proactively with employee engagement.

Related reading: Employee Engagement Survey Questions – what to ask and why

50 facts and statistics about employee engagement

  1. Only around 35% of employees feel highly involved in, enthusiastic, and committed to their work, according to a recent Gallup report.

  2. A workforce of highly engaged people increases productivity by 17% and reduces absenteeism by 41%.

  3. For several years, the top priority challenges for HR managers have been employee turnover and employee engagement. 47% of HR leaders rank their challenges this way, according to the “Designing Work Cultures for the Human Era” report.

  4. To make your employees feel engaged in the company is essential if you want them to stay. Considering 81% of businesses think that staff turnover is a “costly problem”, retaining them seems like a good idea.

  5. Employees who are insecure about their work situation and the stability of it show 37% less engagement. Prevent this by presenting a clear plan to your employees and let them know how their future in the company might look like.

  6. 47% of employees who leave their job does so because of issues with the company culture.

  7. Disengaged employees are costing companies up to $550 billion a year, according to a study by The Engagement Institute. 

  8. 20% of our activity accounts for 80% of our results. To measure performance based on how much time we spend in the office is not very relevant.

  9. One trillion dollars. That's the amount of money United States businesses lose yearly because of voluntary employee turnover. Turnover that often could have been prevented with better focus on keeping employees engaged and committed.

  10. Only one out of three employees are truly engaged in their job according to a Gallup report. They also lack faith in their company leaders, which becomes clear when seeing that only “13% of employees strongly agree that the leadership of their organization communicates effectively with the rest of the organization”, “15% of employees strongly agree that the leadership of their organization makes them enthusiastic about the future”, and “22% of employees strongly agree that the leadership of their organization has a clear direction for the organization”.

  11. A recent study shows that one of the main reasons for employee turnover is of financial nature. People are tempted to leave their job if they’re offered "better corporate benefits" (20.7%), "a pay raise" (54.2%), or "career advancement" (37.8%).

  12. A majority of the companies engaged in a recent study don’t have programs to reward employee performance and support wellbeing. Only 47% of these companies offer development programs and training for their employees.

  13. 48% of employees who leave their job do so because the role did not meet the initial expectations and they were dissatisfied with what the job actually turned out to be like.

  14. Generation Z, age 18 to 24, are even more likely to leave their job because it didn’t meet their expectations. 73% of the employees in that age group confirms that to be the reason for them leaving.

  15. Well-being is important if you ask employees. A recent report shows that 41% of the questioned employees would agree to a 10% cut on their salary to work for a company that cares about employee wellbeing.

  16. 51% of employees who did leave their job state that in the three months before leaving, no leader or manager spoke to them about their future within the company or work satisfaction.

  17. Having a good relationship with your manager is a huge factor when it comes to work satisfaction and employee experience. An article in Forbes reveals that over 40% of employees choose to quit their job because of a bad manager.

  18. According to an SHRM/Globoforce survey, only 51% of all HR leaders think that their ongoing performance appraisal process provides accurate results. However, when conducting the reviews more frequently these 51% increase by 1.5 times. This means that HR leaders feel that more frequent appraisal talks offer better and more accurate results.

  19. Employee engagement is important if your company aims for a low turnover rate. In highly engaged organizations, the turnover rate is about 59% lower than in businesses with lower employee engagement.

  20. The Staples Workplace Survey shows that as much as 90% of the employees feel they’d be more motivated and increase their work morale if the arrangements were more flexible.

  21. Recruitment company Robert Half reports that as much as 83% of the people leaving their job are not offered an exit interview. This means companies are missing out on valuable information about why employees are leaving the company. 

  22. Employee engagement should not only be observed and measured by the HR department and on a yearly basis. 89% of HR-leaders confirm the best outcome when employee engagement is implemented in the overall business strategy and measured regularly. 

  23. Only 12% of employees feel very satisfied with their current role in their organization.

  24. Flexible work arrangements are a top priority for at least 67% of the employees. They would actually consider leaving their job if the arrangements and culture became more formal and fixed. 

  25. A team of highly engaged workers leads to a 21% increase in company profit. This because engaged employees show up to work every day with energy, passion, and a common goal. 

  26. 53% of employees are not engaged in their work. They might be satisfied in general but they don’t feel emotionally connected to the workplace or their job. These employees will show up and do their job, but won’t hesitate to leave if a more appealing job shows up.

  27. One out of three employees states that work causes them high or extremely high levels of stress. Working under stress like that can result in tiredness, anxiety, sleepless nights, and physical pain.

  28. Having a healthy and pleasant work culture is essential for employees to feel engaged and perform at their best. According to staff, it’s up to the manager to create that enjoyable environment. 76% of employees believe that it’s the employer who creates the work culture.

  29. Having a supportive manager that stands by your side through thick and thin will help foster a good work culture. If there are trust and transparency among the manager and staff, the odds of high employee engagement will more than double.

  30. You might think that the tough part is to find someone to hire? Actually, 63.3% of employers think that the hardest job is to retain their employees.

  31. 95% of employees notice when their mind wanders off and they become disengaged. Three things that help employees taking more responsibility for their own engagement are compelling missions and tasks, well-designed and structured jobs and trusted relationships.

  32. Great leadership is key if you want to increase employee engagement at your company. At least 70% of the team's engagement can be explained by having good quality leaders.

  33. Engagement and burnout are two variables that sometimes go hand in hand, but some can manage their high engagement and not experience burnout. 2 out of 5 employees experience high engagement and low burnout at work. Monitoring the stress levels can help companies prevent sick leave among their most valuable and engaged people.

  34. 1 out 5 employees report high engagement and high burnout. Harvard Business Review names this group “the engaged-exhausted group”. These employees were once very passionate about their job, but couldn’t really cope with the pressure. Which made them stressed, frustrated, and anxious. Employee engagement surveys and processes for follow-up are a great tool for preventing this development.

  35. A good leader is key in a well-working organization with a low turnover rate. 58% of employees say that they’ve left their job due to their manager. The most quoted reason being a lack of good communication between employees and the employer.

  36. Research shows that one of the main reasons employees want to leave their job is the lack of advancement and promotion opportunities. Your organization's top talents want to grow and move forward on their career path. Not providing your employees with this opportunity will lead to disengagement, and them looking for opportunities elsewhere.

  37. Having highly engaged employees in your organization will lead to better relationships with your customers. Companies with engaged employees show a result of 50% higher customer loyalty and 89% higher customer satisfaction.

  38. Over half of voluntary turnovers could have been prevented. 52% of these former employees say that their manager or the organization could have done things differently and made them stay.

  39. Investments in your employees’ wellness, happiness, and development are vital if you want to uphold staff retention. As many as 94% of employees would consider staying in their current position if the employer invested more, and made time for, the staff's professional development.

  40. 81% of employees state that they’re open to new work opportunities.

  41. According to research on how much employee turnover costs the company, it can be a pricey affair. Employers in the US spend 2.9 million dollars every day looking for replacement employees.

  42. Companies spend an average amount of 4,129 dollars on every new employee hire. Filling an empty position takes around 42 days. This is both time and money that instead could’ve been spent on resources to better keep your employees.

  43. When employees were asked why they choose to stay with their current job 30% said because of good benefits, 29% said their relationship with the rest of the team, and 27% stated it was because of job security.

  44. Having continuous check-ins with employees is very important to discover burnout symptoms and prevent them from escalating.

  45. 84% of highly engaged employees feel that they were recognized the last time they performed especially well. Having a strategy and the right tools is key when you want to give feedback and measure employee engagement.

  46. A report in SHRM (The Society for Human Resource Management) states that 3 out of 10 employees feel that bad work culture makes them feel irritated at home. 

  47. Research shows that employee wellbeing and good health increases employee engagement.

  48. 92% of employees state that having access to the right type of technology affects their work satisfaction positively. 

  49. 93% of employees feel that having an empathic employer would make them feel more motivated to stay within the organization.

  50. Everyone experiences a bad day at work from time to time. Would that make you look for a new job? That’s highly likely according to research stating that 80% of employees check the job market for something different after one single bad day.

Would you like to learn about how your organization could benefit from modern and regular employee engagement surveys? Talk to one of our experts!