Is Your City One of the Top Ten for Most Engaged Employees?

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Employee engagement firm Quantum Workplace recently issued its annual report on employee engagement, and the results are interesting for anyone curious about how their city stacks up as a building ground for employee engagement.

Beyond the city competition, there’s plenty of insightful data on all aspects of employee engagement within this report. The survey pulled feedback from more than 500,000 employees across more than 8700 companies in the U.S. The results showed that employee engagement is closely correlated with organizations that show increased business performance in these five metrics:

  1. Profit  (73% of employees engaged)

  2. Revenue  (73% of employees engaged)

  3. Market Share  (74% of employees engaged)

  4. Stock Value  (73% of employees engaged)

  5. Employee Retention  (67% of employees engaged)

The report also identified three key challenges that lie ahead of any organization that hopes to have a highly engaged workforce: the growing gap between hourly and salaried employees; low engagement threatens retention; and failed change management puts engagement at risk.

Engagement is driven by feelings of support and belief in future success, according to the report. The top drivers of engagement were found to be as follows:

  1. My job allows me to utilize my strengths

  2. I trust our senior leaders to lead the company to future success.

  3. The senior leaders of the organization value people as their most important resource.

  4. If I contribute to the organization's success, I know I will be recognized.

  5. My opinions seem to count at work.

  6. I believe this organization will be successful in the future.

Another interesting finding is that despite employees being better paid and provided better benefits than the same survey last year, employees are still unsatisfied in large numbers. From my vantage point, I see this as further evidence that building a strong corporate culture is an essential part of the positive employee experience.

The survey also found that as company sizes increase, employee engagement decreases, and after mergers engagement also drops. The nonprofit sector is facing particularly tough challenges when it comes to employee engagement, with nonprofits being outscored in every survey item except “I find my job interesting and challenging.” And this engagement gap is increasing.

The report listed 17 industries according to engagement levels. At the top of the list are logistics, construction, professional services, real estate and technology. At the very bottom of the list is government, followed by utilities, healthcare and manufacturing.

New employees are the most engaged, while those that have been employed between 1 and 2 years saw a decline in engagement. Engagement also continues to increase with rank, with executives at the top of the list of most engaged employees (91.8%), the falling steadily as you continue through each rank, with individual contributors the least engaged at 65.2%. The survey shows that lower level employees need to be heard - “My opinions count at work” was one of the top drivers of engagement and yet individual contributors have the lowest favorability towards that item.

Sales departments are the most engaged for the second year in a row, with HR close behind. Manufacturing and production saw the biggest declines in engagement. Amongst demographics, Baby Boomers are still the most engaged and Millennials seek growth and development. Across all groups “my job allows me to utilize my strengths” has become increasingly more important over the past two years.

So now let’s take a look at the top ten cities with the most engaged employees, starting at #10 (drumroll, please):

  1. Denver  (70.83% engaged employees)

  2. Nashville  (71.30% engaged employees)

  3. Charlotte  (71.71% engaged employees)

  4. DC  (72.49% engaged employees)

  5. Atlanta  (73% engaged employees)

  6. Sacramento  (73.21% engaged employees)

  7. Miami   (73.32% engaged employees)

  8. Huntsville  (74.59% engaged employees)

  9. Austin   (75.68% engaged employees)

  10. Chicago   (77.27% engaged employees)

What’s interesting here is that the Northeast has declined in employee engagement, falling to last place amongst regions. The Northeast was the only region to see a drop in favorability in the following items: “My job allows me to utilize my strengths;” “The senior leaders of this organization demonstrate integrity”; and “I believe this organization will be successful in the future.” The South is the region in first place of most engaged employees.  

All of this data is only as useful as what you do with it to improve employee engagement in your own organization. There are so many different elements to a positive employee experience; since I look at everything through the lens of the connection between cultures of giving back and increased engagement, I read this data in a certain way and see the opportunities for how a strong corporate volunteer and giving program addresses some of the drivers of engagement.

What opportunities for improving employee engagement do you see in your own organization?

Ryan Scott