Workforce Optimization Featured Article

Finding: Employee Engagement on the Rise, but Varies by Location

August 27, 2014

In the wake of the economic downturn that began in 2008, companies sought to avoid losing ground by cutting out unnecessary expenditures and downsizing their workforces. Once they cut all that could be cut without negatively affecting business, they began to look for new ways to improve cash flow. By improving the efficiency of their processes, they were able to do more with less.

Today, six years into what’s arguably still a slow business climate, many companies are turning to their workforces to make more of the resources they have. One of the best ways to stay ahead is to boost employee engagement, ensuring they are filling their ranks with workers who are actively engaged with their jobs. These employees produce more, innovate more, and are less likely to leave, which keeps recruiting and hiring costs down.

According to some reports, the state of employee engagement in the U.S. today is alarming, with less than one-third of employees reporting being engaged with their jobs. While this varies from industry to industry, it also changes with geographic location. According to the recent 2014 Employee Engagement Trends Report by Quantum (News - Alert) Workplace, Huntsville, Alabama, has the most engaged workforce in the country.

Data for the report was drawn from the company’s “2013 Best Places to Work” report, and was based on interviews with 400,000 respondents from almost 5,000 U.S. organizations.  In Huntsville, more than 77 percent of employees were identified as engaged with their jobs, which is far higher than the national average. In second place was the Miami-Dade region of Florida, with an engaged workforce of 74.7 percent. Nashville, Tennessee, came in third, with 74.4 percent of employees reported as engaged with their jobs.  Austin and San Antonio, Texas rounded out the top five, with 74.2 and 73.5 percent of employees, respectively, identified as engaged workers.

The good news for employers not in these locations is that across the country, the average rates of employee engagement have risen this year. The report found that employee engagement rises with the level of education workers have attained (employees with doctoral degrees reported the highest engagement levels), with averages dipping somewhat for employees with Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees.

According to the report, the traits most likely to lead to better employee engagement included a positive future outlook, confidence in the organization’s leadership and a feeling that the organization is committed to valuing its employees.

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