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Rules of Engagement: Workers Seem More Engaged Now Vs. Three Years Ago, But Executives Worry It's Still Not Enough

five businesspeople are discussing something on a meetingFirst the good news: Sixty percent of CFOs interviewed for a Robert Half survey think their workers are more engaged on the job compared to three years ago. The not-so-good news? The majority (52 percent) are concerned this may still be insufficient.

Recent findings from a separate study help to underscore the point that executives should not take employee engagement—or loyalty—for granted. About one third of professionals surveyed for a study on worker satisfaction and engagement from Robert Half and Happiness Works indicated that they are considering leaving their jobs in the next six months.

CFOs were asked, “Compared to three years ago, do you think employees are more or less engaged at work?” Their responses:

Significantly more engaged 12%
Somewhat more engaged 48%
Somewhat less engaged 25%
Significantly less engaged 4%
No change 11%

CFOs were also asked, “How concerned are you about your employees’ level of engagement at work?” Their responses*:

Significantly concerned 10%
Somewhat concerned 42%
Not too concerned 31%
Not at all concerned 16%
*Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.

“Engaged employees are more productive employees,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half, in a news release. “They typically are also more dedicated team members and less likely to jump ship. This is an especially important consideration for businesses in the current environment of low unemployment and a shortage of skilled workers.”

Added McDonald, “Employees are more likely to be engaged when they are given new challenges and regular performance feedback. They will also find more meaning and motivation in their work when they understand how their contributions fit with the overall goals of the business.”

Where Engagement Is Highest

The CFO survey from Robert Half also offers insight on which U.S. cities have the most engaged workers. According to the research, the top five cities are: 1) Los Angeles, 2) San Francisco, 3) Chicago, Phoenix and St. Louis (tied).

Robert Half offers these five suggestions to help improve employee engagement:

  1. Give individuals a glimpse of their future. Check in with team members about possible career paths at your company, including potential advancement opportunities and milestones needed to achieve them. Individuals want to know where they’re headed and how you will help them get there.
  2. Promote creativity and innovation. The Robert Half and Happiness Works research found the ability to do interesting and meaningful work is a key factor in employee happiness. Encourage your staff to pursue new projects — and explore new pathways — at your company they are likely to find fulfilling.
  3. Keep lines of communication open. Employees are inclined to feel more connected to their jobs when they have productive work relationships with their managers. Remain accessible to your team and let them know they can come to you with questions and concerns.
  4. Take an interest in your employees’ work—and their lives. Every worker is an individual. Make a point to learn about and support staff members’ professional goals and aspirations, as well as their passions outside the office.
  5. Ensure your firm is always staffed appropriately. When employees are overworked, they are less likely to feel motivated and engaged. Make sure your company has access to skilled temporary professionals who can support your team when business demands escalate and during prolonged hiring processes.

Robert Half

The survey was developed by Robert Half and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on telephone interviews with more than 2,200 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

Source: PR Newswire; edited by Richard Carufel

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