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For the first time in nearly 10 years, employee engagement has decreased, according to new insights from Quantum Workplace, with the percentage of highly engaged employees falling to 76% in 2023.

Though employees are most likely to leave for better pay (69%) or a career advancement opportunity (38%), employees who are engaged are far more likely to stay at their jobs and improve their organization’s performance:

  • Nine in 10 engaged employees say they plan to stay with their employer at least another year.
  • Highly engaged employees are 3.4 times less likely to be searching for new jobs than less engaged employees. 
  • The majority of business leaders (92%) say engaged employees boost individual, team, and business performance. 

So how can organizations start reaping the benefits of improved employee engagement?    

Prioritize communication during organizational changes

Employees say organizational changes have already motivated their coworkers to quit (62%), and 40% are considering following suit due to such changes. This turnover is prompted by challenges associated with changes, of which lack of communication, increased workloads, and job uncertainty are the most challenging. 

Most employees want to know about changes before they happen (55%), yet only 23% say that’s currently the case at their organization. Instead, many (36%) aren’t informed until changes are already happening or after changes have been implemented. 

Compared to employees who are only informed after changes take place, employees who receive communication before changes are much more likely to be highly engaged with the process (74% compared to 44%) and less likely to consider leaving due to changes (20% compared to 64%).

Provide individual goals and regular feedback

Employees who have individual goals are twice as likely to be engaged, and, if their performance goals align with their company’s goals, they’re 3.2 times more likely to be engaged. 

Recognition and feedback also promote employee engagement:

  • More than half of employees (51%) say they want more recognition, but this percentage is even higher for employees who are not highly engaged (63% compared to 45% of highly engaged employees). 
  • Employees most prefer to receive recognition for their performance and accomplishments (71%), value to the company (44%), and teamwork (43%). 
  • Employees who receive feedback weekly or monthly are far more likely to be highly engaged (74% compared to 36%), less likely to look for other jobs (8% compared to 24%), and more likely stay at their organization (81% compared 58%) than those who rarely or never receive feedback. 

Support AI use and training

Despite all the excitement surrounding AI, only 20% of employees use AI daily (8%) or weekly (12%) to support their work. Meanwhile, nearly half (49%) have never used AI while on the job. 

That doesn’t mean employees don’t see the value of AI, however. More than one in three employees (35%) believe AI will significantly change the way they work within the next five years. And although more than half (53%) are confident they won’t soon lose their jobs to AI, 45% would like more training on its use. Unfortunately, only 16% say their manager encourages them to use AI. 

See the full 2024 Employee Engagement Trends report for more insights.