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New Employee Engagement Trends for 2017 (and Beyond)


You’ve likely seen a host of employee engagement trends and predictions, most of which lead to the same conclusion:

The American workplace remains largely disengaged.

Here’s the catch: Those reports tell only part of the story. The generalized, poll-based employee engagement statistics you’ve seen might relate to your own workforce.

But what’s happening within organizations where engagement initiatives are in full swing? Where leadership is in the midst of measuring, scoring, and analyzing engagement levels in real time? Where employers are actively working to understand employees’ emotional and intellectual connections to their companies?

This is where the real benchmarks begin.

Our new report, Employee Engagement Trends and Indexes: Q3 2017, provides true benchmarks from organizations with dedicated employee engagement programs—and thus offers insights that can be used to guide efforts across industries and company types.

For example, we discovered that:

Challenges in creating connections may be tied to tenure.

Research has long shown that strong social connections at the office can boost productivity and passion, yet forming friendships and finding common ground is a challenge for many employees. Our trends and indexes reveal a pattern that points to the bigger picture

“Friendship” and “shared values” were among the most frequently cited areas of discontent identified in our analysis.

But that’s not all.

Our initial results indicate the problem may be tied to tenure. Employees in our sample who have been working at the same company for more than 10 years are the least likely to feel connected to coworkers. On the other end of the spectrum, newer (and often younger) employees report high levels of friendship at work—but still struggle to find common ground with colleagues when it comes to beliefs and values.

Watch for this trend within your workforce:
These findings reflect a larger trend where, for the first time in history, some companies have as many as five generations working side-by-side. The increasingly multigenerational makeup of the workforce may increase the likelihood that colleagues won’t see eye to eye, so be on the lookout for related issues you may need to address.

Professional development is increasingly important to employees.

Among the many employee engagement drivers measured by the Emplify Insights™ solution is professional development. It’s defined as the presence of someone who promotes and encourages an employee’s professional development.

Our analysis reveals two sets of employees who score “low” when it comes to this key driver. Again, the results correlate to tenure.

The first group consists of employees with the longest tenures of 20+ years with the same company. The second group is employees who have been with the same company for two to three years.

What these findings mean for you:
While you may be aware of the need for mentorship among entry-level employees, it’s equally important to recognize company veterans’ desire to learn and grow in advanced stages of their careers.

Confidence in employers remains high.

Thankfully, “authenticity” and “fairness” were found to be the two highest drivers of engagement across all companies and industries. This means the employees surveyed by Emplify Insights™ have a sense that leadership is honest about the business and themselves, and that the treatment of individuals within the organization is fair.

Apply this trend across your departments:
Together, the presence of feelings of authenticity and fairness serve as an important foundation for making improvements in other areas—whether that means identifying opportunities for growth and development, fostering more meaningful connections among employees, or addressing another critical issue that’s keeping true engagement at bay. It’s an important metric to incorporate into any employee engagement surveys and measurement tools you use.

Eager for more benchmarks from companies with employee engagement initiatives in place? These trends are far from the only insights revealed in our latest research. Download your complimentary copy of Employee Engagement Trends and Indexes: Q3 2017 to see:

  • Employee engagement benchmarks by industry
  • Best practices for applying trends within your own organization
  • Takeaway tips for addressing common engagement issues

Because we believe in the significant value gleaned from this research, there’s no charge to access the report.

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