The 2023 Employee Engagement Report: The Year of Manager Impact

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As 2023 winds down, we’re taking the time to look back at the success the past year has brought for raising engagement and employee satisfaction with our clients. While the year witnessed the complexities of hybrid work, the anxieties of layoffs, and a pervasive sense of flux, one critical metric defied the odds – loyalty and collaboration soared. In this companion piece to our leadership report, we’ll be diving into our data to understand what is driving engagement now, and where it’s headed into 2024.

This isn't mere conjecture; it's the resounding conclusion drawn from analyzing hundreds of thousands of employee engagement data points. Companies, navigating uncharted territory, are embracing new models of work, prioritizing meaningful feedback, and cultivating a stronger sense of belonging than ever before.

The question now looms: what's propelling this surge, and how do we harness this momentum of employee engagement in 2024? Buckle up, because we're embarking on a data-driven journey into the heart of 2023's engagement landscape.

Manager behaviors are positively impacting engagement.

The relationship between management and engagement has long been known, but difficult to prove with the absence of the right tools. Rhabit continuously measures engagement sentiments, microsampling workforces every week to collect engagement sentiments about job satisfaction, opportunities for growth, DEI, and more. 

In previous years, we consistently saw improvement in sentiments related to company loyalty and interpersonal engagement, for example, “I have at least one person I would call an actual friend in my company.” but this year saw previously underperforming engagement sentiments about manager feedback and autonomy.

We’re encouraged by the rise in these engagement scores, as it indicates that the leader behaviors that contribute to loyalty, autonomy, and trust are improving, positively impacting the morale of their employees.

The top 5 Rhabit Engagement Sentiments in 2023 were:

1. “I want to help my company succeed.” (97%)

The resounding agreement with this statement reinforces a strong foundation of company culture. The shared commitment to organizational success is a sanity check that affirms the health of workplace environments among Rhabit clients.

2. “I can make meaningful decisions about how I do my job.” (92%)

Empowerment and autonomy are the cornerstones of a motivated workforce. Rhabit celebrates the high score on this statement, recognizing that when employees feel they have a say in their work, engagement and motivation thrive.

3. “People in my team/department cooperate with each other to get the job done.” (92%)

Collaboration is a linchpin for productivity, and the acknowledgment that teams cooperate effectively underscores the importance of teamwork in achieving common goals.

4. “I receive useful and constructive feedback from my manager.” (91%)

The feedback loop is essential for growth and development. Rhabit takes a well-deserved bow for the high score on this statement, showcasing the effectiveness of feedback mechanisms within client organizations.

5. “I have at least one person I would call an actual friend in my company.” (91%)

Studies have shown that employees who have someone they consider a friend in the workplace are more engaged, more productive, and more likely to share ideas. 

Learning and Development budgets were impacted in 2023 - and it shows.

As companies shifted focus in 2023, many L&D and Human Resources leaders found their development budgets pared down from previous years. Rhabit often saw sentiments like, “In my company, I have ongoing opportunities to learn and grow” in the top-performing engagement sentiments, however this year, alongside other development-based sentiments, we’ve seen an unexpected decline. 

With Rhabit’s infallible data, L&D managers have the data to make a compelling case for executives to reinvest in development for 2024.

The Bottom 5 Rhabit Engagement Sentiments in 2023 were: Identifying Opportunities for Growth

1. “Training is provided to me to enable me to do my job well” (65%)

Despite progress in various areas, the perennial struggle with providing adequate training persists. This statistic calls for a collective industry effort to prioritize and enhance training programs for employees.

2. “In my company I have ongoing opportunities to learn and grow.” (75%)

Upskilling remains a challenge for many organizations, a poignant reality in a competitive job market. Companies must reassess their strategies to ensure continuous learning and growth opportunities for their workforce.

3. “My company keeps me well informed about changes in the organization that affect me or my work group.” (78%)

Communication is the lifeblood of an organization, and the room for improvement in keeping employees informed about organizational changes indicates a need for enhanced communication strategies.

4. “My company recognizes me for doing my job well.” (78%)

Recognition is a powerful motivator. While commendable, there's room for improvement in ensuring that employees feel adequately recognized for their contributions.

5. “I would recommend employment at this company to my friends or family.” (78%)

Employee advocacy is a crucial indicator of overall job satisfaction. The moderate score on this statement suggests that organizations need to focus on creating workplaces that employees are proud to endorse.

Most Improved and Declined Engagement Sentiments: Unveiling the Trends

Most Improved Employee Engagement Sentiment in 2023: 

"My company provides sufficient feedback about how well I am doing." (5%)

The significant positive shift in this sentiment reflects an encouraging trend. Regular and constructive feedback fosters a culture of continuous improvement and employee development.

Most Declined Employee Engagement Sentiment in 2023: 

"My leaders make me feel like I am part of the group." (-11%)

The largest drop in this sentiment emphasizes the critical role leaders play in shaping a sense of belonging. Organizations must prioritize strategies that strengthen the connection between leaders and their teams.

The Future of Employee Listening and Engagement

As we reflect on the year that was, the insights from Rhabit Analytics underscore both successes and areas for improvement in the realm of employee engagement. The Year of Trust and Inclusion has laid a foundation for progress, urging organizations to focus on building robust training programs, fostering continuous learning, and enhancing communication strategies. By addressing these challenges head-on, workplaces can strive for greater employee satisfaction, productivity, and a culture that stands the test of time. 

Rhabit provides organizations with continuous listening data and customized dashboards with real-time sentiment analysis so leaders can have a constant line of sight into the health of their culture. If you’d like to learn more about how Rhabit can give you the most powerful employee listening experience on the market today, for a surprisingly budget-friendly price, book a time to meet with our team. 

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