Softworks Blog

Most U.S. Workers struggling to cope with tough workplace situations

Posted by Triona Cahalane on Fri, Jul 13, 2012

In a new study by Towers Watson, it has been discovered that 63% of U.S workers are not fully engaged in their work and are struggling to cope with work situations that don't provide sufficient support. The report goes on to suggest that employees are finding it increasingly difficult to sustain the kind of positive connection to their companies that results in productivity.

workforce solutions“When workers are not fully engaged, it leads to greater performance risk for employers. It makes companies more vulnerable to lower productivity, higher inefficiency, weaker customer service, and greater rates of absenteeism and turnover,” said Julie Gebauer, managing director, Talent and Rewards, Towers Watson. “Without attention and interventions aimed at improving on-the-job support for employees and creating a sense of attachment to the organization, this trend could worsen — and directly affect business outcomes. Companies have known for years that employee engagement is important to business performance. We’re now seeing — in part because of the tough business climate — that engagement is quite fragile and will not be sustained over time without careful attention to very specific elements in the work environment.”

The study aims to understand and measure what factors contribute to sustained employee engagement in the workplace. The study engaged in a set of questions to classify respondents to their level of sustainable engagement. In general, the study highlighted that only 37% of U.S. workers are highly engaged in a sustainable way. Just over 27% are classified as unsupported and 23% are completely disengaged.   

The study also recognises attributes that are important to traditional engagement such as how supervisors support employees on the job, levels of stress and increased productivity. Other factors highlighted include the lack of emotional connection to the organisation that originates from feelings about the company such as lack of strong values plus failure to take employees interests and needs into account.

By taking actions to address identified gaps, organizations will be able to move some of the unsupported and detached to engaged -

When investigating the 27% classed as unsupported, the study has highlighted that:

  • Only 43% agreed that their managers had adequately removed barriers to helping them preform their job well.
  • Just 26% believed management invovled employees in decisions that affected them. 
  • 48% felt the amount of work they did was reasonable 

While a high percentage of workers have been classed as unresponsive or disengaged in this study, opportunity has also been identified too. The requirement to highlight and address the gaps will in turn lead to increased engagement and over improved workforce productivity. 

The study covers more than 32,000, working in large and medium organisations around a range of industries in 29 markets about the world. The U.S sample includes 3,600 employees. 

Topics: Employee Retention, Workforce Solutions