2018 Employee Engagement Survey

Survey Overview
StaffConnect conducted the 2018 Employee Engagement Survey to explore employee communications and engagement in the enterprise. Survey participants included CEOs and other C-level executives, HR, corporate communications, and other business/employee engagement professionals in North America and Europe. The survey was designed to reveal organizational experiences and trends regarding employee engagement, including methodologies, technologies, challenges, and goals.

The Employee Engagement Survey elicited responses across diverse industries including manufacturing, finance, retail, healthcare, and government. Key findings that emerged from the study include that many enterprises are still over-reliant on limited-reach legacy communications to share information with employees, that engagement still remains unmeasured in many organizations, and that most organizations have plans to implement initiatives to improve the employee experience in 2018.

Survey Questionnaire/Results
StaffConnect’s Employee Engagement Survey focused on 11 questions related to each organization’s current experience of employee engagement and their engagement-related plans for the future.

The top three findings of the survey revealed that:

  • Enterprise organizations are still relying primarily on email (77.94%), intranet (52.94%), newsletters (48.53%), and/or print/mailers (20.59%) to communicate with employees. Less than 2% are taking advantage of the opportunity to leverage new and innovative technologies currently available on the market, such as mobile apps.
  • When it comes to measuring levels of employee engagement over time, the success of employee engagement programs is either not being measured at all (26.47%), or measurement is being limited by use of:
    • Antiquated measurement tools
      • Paper-based surveys (73.53%)
      • Employee suggestion schemes (39.71%)
      • Reward programs (20.59%)
    • Insufficient indicators:
      • Decreased absenteeism/employee turnover rates (35.29%)
      • Increased productivity (29.41%)
      • Increased profitability (23.53%)
  • An overwhelming number of enterprise organizations are planning to improve their employees’ experience in 2018 (74.24%), while unfortunately a small percentage had no plans to do so (25.76%).

The study also highlighted that many organizations have a significant proportion of non-desk employees (NDEs). Over one-third of respondents (37.50%) indicated that they have 50% or more of their workforce in non-desk positions. Remote employee job positions were found across a wide range of industries and included roles such as field sales and delivery drivers to customer support and retail. These distributed workforces face increased challenges of effectively communicating across teams, which is a key part of creating and maintaining high engagement levels.

Less than one-third of respondents (32.35%) said that more than 75% of their workforce would recommend working for their organization. Nearly 30% indicated that half or fewer of their employees would make this recommendation, revealing that many employers can significantly improve their employees’ experience and job satisfaction levels.

While the vast majority of respondents do plan to attempt improving their workers’ experience in 2018, about one-quarter (25.76%) have no plans to do so. When comparing this finding to respondents’ answers on the tools used to gather employee feedback and how management measures the success of engagement programs, it’s clear that organizations may fall short in their desire to boost engagement if they don’t employ the right internal communication tools and measurement methodologies. Perhaps reflecting this reality, around 20% of respondents admitted that their company’s ranking on Glassdoor is below 2.5.

Survey Summary
In summarizing these findings, it’s clear that too many of today’s enterprises still primarily depend on email, intranet, newsletters, and other limited-reach legacy communications to share information with employees, rather than leveraging new innovative technologies, such as mobile apps and engagement platforms. Many NDEs have no access to a corporate email or company intranet and are likely to remain the “forgotten workforce” by being left out of the loop. When NDEs and front-line workers receive communications late or not at all due to limited-reach tools, it can lead to poor morale, decreased productivity, unhappy customers, and lower revenues and profitability.

The survey also found that despite the fact that employee engagement is clearly tied to a business’s bottom line, engagement still remains unmeasured in many organizations. What’s more, while most organizations reported plans to implement initiatives to improve the employee experience in 2018, a segment of respondents were not prioritizing this area. Notably, while the research shows that employee engagement remains high on the priority list for management—and organizations want to improve in this area—many companies will likely continue to face hurdles to success unless a shift is made to embrace innovative technologies and proper measurement tools.

Conclusion
The results of StaffConnect’s 2018 Employee Engagement Survey validated many beliefs about organizational approaches to engagement while producing some unexpected results as well. It was gratifying (and not particularly surprising) that the majority of the respondents indicated their prioritization of the employee experience as a corporate initiative, with plans in place to improve it this year. As expected, regardless of the fact that C-level executives and other professionals recognize the importance of employee engagement, most organizations lack the proper tools and methodologies to measure it. Without the ability to track and measure changes in engagement over time and understand what those shifts are attributable to, companies will continue to struggle with increasing their engagement levels and maintaining higher levels of employee engagement.

One surprise in the 2018 survey results is that many HR and Communications Departments—and even the C-suite—remain behind the times when it comes to appreciating and investing in new and innovative technologies to create competitive -advantage and achieve corporate goals. While the majority of today’s enterprise organizations appreciate and invest in mobile technologies and other innovative tools for these purposes, a very large percentage of study respondents indicated that they are still relying on email and newsletters to reach their entire workforce—both frontline and non-desk employees—despite the availability of mobile platforms that could more effectively and efficiently achieve these goals.

Without the proper mobile tools, NDEs and even front-line staff may be unable to receive the information needed to do their jobs. When remote staff and/or desk employees are unable to receive communications in a timely manner (or can’t access them at all), the likely result is that a growing percentage of an organization’s workforce will feel isolated, frustrated, and neglected—in short, not part of the team. This leads to a vicious cycle of lower employee engagement, dissatisfied employees, decreased productivity and customer service, dissatisfied customers which all impact the bottom-line.

The Employee Engagement Survey reinforces why the topic of employee engagement must be elevated to a top leadership issue across today’s most forward-thinking and successful organizations. To avoid the negative outcomes of low engagement—including lower revenue and profits—it is critical that today’s HR and Communications leaders, as well as C-level executives, define their employee engagement strategy and the role it plays as part of the overall employee experience and understands its impact on the organization. With this information, they can then align this to the goals of the business and procure the right mobile engagement platform and measurement methodology to help management continuously identify and refine areas related to engagement that need improvement.