64 per cent of U.K. HR professionals admit that employee engagement levels at their organisations have either remained stagnant or worsened over the past 12 months, with just 36 per cent saying that employee engagement has improved, painting a worrying picture for the current state of the UK workforce. 

These are the findings from WorkBuzz’s State of Employee Engagement Report 2023/24 which is based on insights from over 400 U.K. HR professionals. The report reveals that engagement is experiencing a downwards trend with 24 per cent of HR professionals admitting that engagement at their organisations has declined.

Twelve months’ ago the figure stood at just 18 per cent. This correlates with the U.K’s cost-of-living crisis as well as a drop in employee listening. In fact, just 17 per cent of organisations are using regular ‘pulse surveys’ to temperature check employee sentiment on a monthly or quarterly basis – down from a third (33 per cent) in 2022.

Steven Frost, CEO of employee engagement specialist, WorkBuzz, commented:

Against a backdrop of a cost-of-living crisis, organisations are focusing on shorter term and ‘harder’ business outcomes like retention, performance and productivity. Plus, organisations seem to be listening to their employees less frequently. This is counterintuitive of course, because when employees feel listened to, they are more likely to stay in their jobs for longer and be high performing.

Steven Frost, CEO of WorkBuzz

The report advises HR professionals to position employee listening as a way of driving retention and business performance, rather than as a soft engagement initiative. For instance, engagement surveys can delve into whether employees may be considering leaving the organisation and why, helping to understand the root causes of employees’ disengagement so that action plans can be put in place.

Frost says,

The only sustainable way to retain great people that choose to go the extra mile is by creating a thriving culture. Neglecting the employee voice risks undermining this, especially in a rapidly changing world with evolving employee expectations and a wave of new AI-technology. When times are tough, it’s crucial to spend more time rather than less time listening to your employees as they’ll often provide the answers to your organisation’s toughest business challenges.

Ultimately, the report is fairly concerning for the U.K., revealing that 64% of HR professionals acknowledge a decline or stagnation in engagement. To navigate these challenges, organisations can proactively foster a positive work environment by prioritising frequent and meaningful employee listening. Beyond measurement, leverage engagement surveys for actionable insights, directing efforts toward targeted improvements.

To read the full ‘The State of Employee Engagement 2023/24’ report, you can download it here.

Joanne Swann, Content Manager, WorkWellPro
Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.