So who are the most engaged employees in America? And where do they live? Ultimately, female Baby Boomer managers with high school diplomas who live in Montana, in their first six months of work have the highest engagement! I’m not saying that if you meet a woman fitting this description that she’ll be the happiest person in America…but according to statistics, we can go there for at least today. Let’s take a look at the most highly engaged employee categories based on Gallup survey data in the American workplace:
The states with the highest engagement are: Montana, Mississippi and Louisiana, each with 4-7% higher engagement than the current national average. Meanwhile those with the lowest are District of Columbia, New York, Minnesota and Connecticut, all of which have at least 3% more actively disengaged employees than the national average.
Employees with a college degree have lower engagement than do workers whose education level doesn’t exceed a high school diploma. According to Gallup, this indicates that employers aren’t maximizing their investment in these more highly educated employees. How can we engage those who invested their time and money into time at a university? One solution is – look at their strengths.
Furthermore, employees are the most engaged in their first six months of work, or once at the executive level, after ten years of work. What matters here is that organizations make the effort to keep employees in their “honeymoon” engagement level. New employees are excited to come to work, they’re learning new things, and making new connections in the organization. Can’t we replicate that for our more tenured folks?
Another interesting finding from Gallup’s more recent data is that the Millennial generation are the least engaged. While they are currently the least numerous in the American workplace, they will soon be the largest percentage of our population due to sheer numbers. With Baby Boomers eligible for retirement we will see a dramatic increase in the percentage of Millennials in the workforce – this will cause a shift from the highest percentage of the workforce being the most tenured to the least tenured immediately, as Generation Xers are much fewer in population. Our question here should be: are Millennials not engaged because they’re simply the youngest and the least experienced, or perhaps the least loyal? Or it could be due to the results from another Gallup survey reporting that Millenials’ strengths are not being harnessed on a daily basis. What can you do to manage your Millennials differently knowing this information?
One of the most interesting groups to note is that managers are the most actively engaged employees in the American workplace. What is it that managers have at the middle level of the organization that those higher and lower do not? My thought is that managers have a prime seat to understand the mission, vision, and values of an organization and to have the gratification of seeing their efforts, delegation, development, and coaching achieving the big picture.
There’s no one right way to engage everyone — no one-size-fits-all approach. Every employee has his or her own learning style, communication style, appreciation style, personality, background, strengths, opportunities for growth, hang-ups, and preferences. Get to know your folks. The better you know them, the better you’ll engage them. The more you engage them, the more productive your team will be! And remember, engagement = a special kind of happiness! We can all use more happy in our lives!
Soon, we’ll look together at drivers of employee engagement, which will perhaps shed some more light on things. Until we meet again, check out this video made by my Managing Director, Krisa Delacruz, on employee engagement!