A recent Gallup survey on employee engagement paints a bleak picture for companies with remote employees. While overall engagement levels have seen a slight uptick, a growing number of remote employees feel disconnected to their company’s mission and purpose. In fact, employees who are exclusively remote reported the lowest engagement levels since 2011.
In this post, we’ll go over the key results of Gallup’s recent survey, including what companies are getting right about hybrid work and where many are going wrong. We’ll also break down what workplace leaders can do to drive employee engagement and better business outcomes.
Remote employee engagement ties a record low
The results of Gallup’s latest survey on employee engagement make one thing clear: while some companies have made strides to cultivate a more engaged workforce, far too many have not.
Midway through 2023, the overall number of engaged employees—those who are enthusiastic about their work and the workplace—increased to 34%. That’s up two percentage points from the previous year. Here’s what these employees say is going right, according to Gallup:
- Understanding what’s expected of them at work
- Having what they need to successfully do their work
- Having the opportunity to do their best work each day
That’s the good news. On the flip side, the survey revealed that hybrid and exclusively remote employees have an “eroding connection” to their company’s mission or purpose. This is especially true of employees who are fully remote: only 28% feel strongly connected.
According to Gallup, this means many employees increasingly see their relationship to their employer as “gig-like” and are “less loyal—which has possible implications on customer and employee retention, productivity, and quality of work.”
With the potential to cause significant business challenges, many companies have decided to draw a line in the sand on their onsite policies. Notably, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy recently shared that it’s “past the time [for employees] to disagree and commit” with their in-office policy, which requires corporate employees to work onsite three days a week. Companies see a lot of value in their employees coming together in the workplace and some, like Amazon, are willing to risk retention to reap the benefits of in-person work.
The key to fostering employee engagement? Investing in the workplace
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. While some companies still struggle to bring employees back onsite, others have seen success. In fact, the employees of a large American manufacturing company actually want to work onsite.
What’s working for them? A unique return-to-office approach that requires their 1,300 corporate employees to be onsite during 22 of the company’s “core weeks”—pivotal times specific to their organization. The policy is designed to bring employees together to collaborate and engage in person. So far, it works: The headquarters currently buzzes at 70-80% capacity and employees are more engaged when they’re in the physical workplace, logging additional hours of work.
So, how do you foster more employee engagement? The answer is by creating an environment where employees feel supported and are motivated to do their best work. To achieve this, leaders should consider the following strategies:
- Establish a clear onsite policy: Clearly define the company’s expectations for employees working onsite. Address how often employees should come into the workplace, when, and why, providing employees with a transparent framework for their onsite engagement.
- Provide seamless workplace tools: Equipping employees with intuitive workplace tools and a unified platform to execute onsite tasks—such as signing in, booking onsite spaces, and managing packages—can enhance their overall workplace experience.
- Design a layout that works for employees: Utilize occupancy and space usage data to anticipate employee needs and design a workspace that fosters collaboration, community-building, and productivity.
- Offer a variety of space types: Experimenting with office design is essential to ensure that employees have a fulfilling experience when they come to the workplace. Offer a variety of space types to make the workplace an inviting and productive space.
As the workplace and flexible working models continue to evolve, nailing these strategies will be critical in guiding companies to increase employee engagement and business success. After all, if employees enjoy the workplace, then they’ll be more likely to feel connected to their company’s culture and mission—and actually want to work onsite.
The simple truth is this: hybrid employee engagement won’t grow without calculated effort. By investing in the workplace and the tools that support it, companies can create a space where employees gather to collaborate, build community, and help drive business success.
Need guidance on how to effectively manage your workplace? Reach out to our team to discuss how you can streamline your operations and create a hybrid workplace experience your employees love.