Lois Bowers headshot

Results of a new survey by Gallup finds that two-thirds of US workers did not feel engaged with their workplaces in 2023.

That is, they felt detached, had a less clear idea of what their employers’ expectations were for them, had lower levels of satisfaction with their employers, had less connection to their companies’ purposes or missions, and were less likely to believe that someone at work cared about them as people.

Overall, engagement in the workplace, according to Gallup, has been falling since 2020, 20 years after the company first began measuring it.

“Trends in employee engagement are significant because they are linked to many performance outcomes in organizations. Not engaged or actively disengaged employees account for approximately $1.9 trillion in lost productivity nationally,” Gallup said in an online post.

You may not be able to change national trends, but there are steps you can take to improve engagement at your workplace, and job clarity — “the most fundamental engagement element” — is a good place to start, according to Gallup.

If your workplace recently has restructured teams, experienced high turnover, given additional responsibilities to those who have stayed, seen changing expectations from potential employees or residents, or provided no formal training for managers, it may be time for you to make sure you take actions to increase employee job satisfaction and the likelihood that they will stay and perform their jobs well. Doing so, in turn, could lead workers to refer others to your company and save the organization the recruiting and training costs that come with turnover.

Gallup offers a checklist that employers can use to increase engagement.

When it comes to job clarity, employers can increase it, according to Gallup, by making sure employees are prepared for their responsibilities, providing meaningful feedback regularly, empowering employees to make decisions about how to perform their jobs well, including employees in goal-setting, making sure they understand what is expected of their co-workers, and having team discussions about what can be done better.

“Gallup finds that a manager having one meaningful conversation per week with each team member develops high-performance relationships more than any other leadership activity,” the organization said.

Because managers can be burned out and more disengaged than their team members, Gallup recommends listening to them, keeping them informed about what is going on in the organization, providing training and development opportunities so they have the skills needed to do their jobs, establishing a coaching program so managers feel listened to and cared about, and nurturing peer relationships and mentorship.

Lois A. Bowers is the editor of McKnight’s Senior Living. Read her other columns here. Follow her on X (formerly Twitter) at Lois_Bowers.