American workers were less engaged in 2021, according to a new Gallup study. This is the first time the statistic has dipped in a decade, in the midst of the Great Resignation and the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare workers in particular felt disconnected from their work, feeling unsupported, unheard, and unprepared.
Gallup researchers, however, do offer up some strategies that leaders can implement to help employees feel excited and involved in the workplace:
- Make sure employees have the tools they need for success. Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest. It’s important for employees to have a stable base to do their best work, even under shifting conditions. This means knowing and understanding tasks and having the right equipment to get them done.
- Communication is key. Information can get muddled as it moves from the top through an organization, causing confusion and stress along the way. Organizational direction—and potential changes—should be clear and conveyable to ensure continued engagement.
- Support your managers. If team leaders are burned out, it’s likely their employees will be, too. Take time to meet with managers and discuss their professional growth and strategies, and to ensure they feel supported in their own work.
- Go beyond engagement. As the line between work and life becomes more and more blurred, it’s important to consider employees’ overall well-being. If workers are stressed in other areas of their lives—socially, financially, physically—that could factor into their experience at work.
Gallup’s study found that organizations that maintained a focus on these basic considerations had increased employee engagement in the past year, even when overall engagement fell. It goes to show that a strong foundation can help organizations and employees weather the most unprecedented of times.