The February 2015 survey results were released March 9. They indicate that employee engagement rose from an average of 31.7% in January to an average of 32.9% in February.
This latest high point is the biggest number Gallup has logged in the past three years and it stands 1.5 percentage points above reported engagement in February 2014.
The Gallup survey is based on daily tracking interviews that were held with 5,993 employed adults across the country.
The telephone interviews were conducted between Feb. 1-28, 2015, involving a random sample of respondents in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The Big Picture
While the numbers are up to a three-year high, Gallup researchers point out that roughly half (50.3%) of American employees report they are “not engaged” in the work they do.
A total of 16.8% report being “actively disengaged.” It must be noted, however, that engagement levels have never broken the 50% mark since Gallup began its daily survey in January 2011.
The peak engagement level was logged at 33.8% in March 2011. Overall, engagement has averaged less than 33% since Gallup began the survey.
Employee engagement is a key factor that Gallup tracks because it sees this as a major indicator of business success.
Gallup researchers have uncovered close ties between engagement and such important business issues as productivity, profitability and turnover.
Explaining the Rise
Gallup researchers point to a number of factors that may explain the recent rises in overall employee engagement. The continuing decline in the number of people who are unemployed or underemployed is one possible contributing factor.
“As the job market becomes more competitive, it is possible that companies are putting more effort into engaging their current workers,” Gallup noted.
With more new employees on company payrolls, a “honeymoon effect” may also be a partial contributing factor to the rise. Gallup research in the past indicates that new employees tend to be more highly engaged in their work than long-term employees.
Since more new employees are joining the workforce, they could be driving the engagement numbers to higher levels, Gallup reports.
Whatever the reason for the February gain, Gallup does point out the upward trend does seem to be losing its steam. Engagement for the first week of March has stayed below 30%, researchers noted.