Employee engagement has risen in the past year, according to data from the Temkin Group, covering more than 2,400 US workers at for-profit companies. The Index found a  number of traits that engaged employees share and Temkin Group also offers suggestions to companies seeking to improve their own employee engagement.

Employee Engagement Up

Employee engagement rose by more than 20 percent from Q3 2011, when 47 percent of employees said they were moderately or highly engaged, to Q3 2012, when 57 percent of employees reported moderate or high levels of engagement. The "Temkin Employee Engagement Index (TEEI)" measures employee agreement with three critical statements -- I understand the overall mission of my company, my company asks for my feedback and acts upon my input, and my company provides me with the training and tools to be successful.

Why should companies be so concerned about employee engagement? Let’s look at some of the benefits engaged employees bring to their employers and their employers’ customers:

  • Companies with strong financial results report an average of 75 percent engaged employees --compared to their peers with weak financial results who only report an average employee engagement rate of 47 percent.
  • Engaged employees are more than twice as likely as non-engaged employees to go the “extra mile” at work with activities such as staying late, helping a colleague and recommending improvements.
  • Virtually all (96 percent) engaged employees always or almost always try their hardest -- compared to 71 percent of their non-engaged coworkers.
  • Three-quarters (75 percent) of employees in companies reporting better-than-average customer experience levels are highly or moderately engaged, more than twice the 34 percent of employees in companies with average or below-average customer experience levels who are highly or moderately engaged.


Not All Employees Are Created Equal

Not surprisingly, engaged employees stand out from their peers with a number of characteristics. For starters, there are differences in engagement by industry -- a leading 62 percent of professional, scientific and technical services workers are moderately or highly engaged while a bottom 50 percent of retail workers report moderate or high engagement. Employee engagement also varies by company size -- 60 percent of workers at companies with 100 employees or less are moderately or highly engaged compared to 48 percent of workers at companies with 10,000 employees or more. Interestingly, employees at companies of all sizes except 10 workers or less had higher engagement rates in 2013 than 2012.

Other traits that indicate an employee is more likely to be engaged include interacting with customers (63 percent of frontline employees but only 40 percent of employees that never interact with customers are engaged), holding an executive position (63 percent), being 65 and older (67 percent) or younger than 25 (60 percent), earning more than US$ 100,000 a year (63 percent), being male (58 percent), holding a postgraduate degree (60 percent), being African-American (64 percent), financial security (70 percent), health (62 percent), physical fitness (64 percent) and happiness (63 percent).

Follow the ‘Five Is’

Temkin Group recommends any company looking to boost or maintain high levels of employee engagement to follow the “Five Is” -- Inform, Inspire, Instruct, Involve and Incent. Inform means ensuring workers understand the corporate vision and values as well as customer perception, Inspire means connecting employees to the company so they take pride and initiative, Instruct means offering employees resources to properly represent the corporate brand, Involve means actively collecting and using employee feedback in corporate decision-making and Incent means employees should receive rewards for positive behaviors.