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Workers’ job engagement declines, not related to work location

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Employees’ intent to stay at their jobs decreased by 37% in the last six months

According to The Conference Board, nearly a third of workers report decreased job engagement — the commitment and connection they feel to their work — but the shift to remote work spurred by the pandemic may not be the cause.

The survey found that work location — on-site, remote or a hybrid blend of the two — has no impact on self-reported engagement levels.

However, some people feel decreased engagement more than others. Women, millennials and individual contributors report lower engagement than men, older generations and executives.

A survey conducted by The Conference Board that polled more than 1,600 individuals — predominantly office workers — found that respondents weighed in on workplace culture, work location, compensation and benefits.

Robin Erickson, Ph.D., VP of Human Capital at The Conference Board commented: “Many workers have re-evaluated their priorities since the beginning of 2020 at the outset of COVID-19. Employees are not only demanding to retain the flexibility they gained from being required to work remotely, but they expect genuine and transparent communications to continue from their leaders as well.”

But even with lower levels of self-reported engagement, 82% say their level of effort remains the same or higher.

According to The Conference Board, more workers want to quit, but few have plans of actually doing so. Workers’ intent to stay at their jobs decreased by 37% in the last six months, but only 12% are actively planning to leave. Meanwhile, about 29% of workers are reconsidering their plans to quit due to the imminent recession.

Overall, the survey found that engagement levels decreased for all workers regardless of work location or schedule. However, most respondents report that having a caring, empathetic leader increased in importance to hybrid workers.

Rebecca Ray, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Human Capital at The Conference Board said: “While these results show that a likely recession may slow some of the high turnovers we’ve been seeing, engagement is eroding for many of those who remain. For businesses to truly thrive, they should focus on improving employee engagement, no matter the employee’s work location or schedule.”

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