Dr. Bob’s Reads: Why is U.S. Employee Engagement Trending Positive?

My purpose is to help all people flourish by creating and supporting healthy organizations.  As a part of this purpose, I am committed to finding and sharing best practices and resources regarding purpose-driven leaders, teams and organizations.

Today’s resource is an article entitled “4 Factors Driving Record-High Employee Engagement in U.S.” written by Jim Harter, Gallup Chief Scientist, Workplace Management and Wellbeing.  Published on 2/4/20, Harter focuses on (1) the impact of high engagement and (2) what has led to improvements in engagement.

Key takeaways:

“Gallup found that in 2019, the percentage of “engaged” U.S. workers reached 35% – a new high since Gallup began tracking employee engagement in 2000.”

“Team members with higher levels of engagement:

  • Produce substantially better outcomes,
  • Treat customers better and attract new ones,
  • Are more likely to remain with their organization,
  • Are healthier than those less engaged and
  • Less likely to experience burnout.”


“Changes in the economy and slight improvements in some employee benefits are not the primary drivers of improved engagement.  Gallup’s research indicates that changes in employee engagement are best attributed to changes in how organizations develop employees.”

During the past two decades, many organizations’ have raised their engagement levels in excess of 50%.  “These organizations have focused on creating high-development cultures, where people can see how their work impacts the organization and its customers.”

Employees of organizations with high-development cultures “have the opportunities to develop their strengths and purpose into a career.”

Attributes of organizations with high-development cultures:

  • Well-defined purpose – why it exists and how it wants to be known
  • Top executives initiate they effort – they model the leadership behavior they want
  • Help people managers move from a mindset of “boss” to “coach”
  • See employee recognition as a means to reinforce their shared purpose and values
  • A belief that not everyone should be a manager – no employee should feel like their progress depends on being promoted to manager
  • Clear expectations, ongoing coaching conversations and accountability


Bottom Line

Gallup’s findings confirm both Purpose & Performance Group’s approach and results.  Behind many of our clients’ successes is (1) a courageous, purpose-driven leader who models the way, (2) an authentic, shared purpose that drives the engagement, fulfillment, health and momentum necessary for the sustainable success of all stakeholders, (3) a growth mindset focused on helping all employees to continue develop and (4) an intentional investment in helping employees connect their careers and contributions at work to their passion and the greater good.

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