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Lead Your Team Managing

Is Employee Commitment on the Rise?

Is Employee Commitment on the Rise?
Credit: Pressmaster/Shutterstock

There is a good chance most of your employees are not fully devoted to either you or their job, new research shows.

Only 31.5 percent of U.S. workers were committed and enthusiastic about their employers and their jobs in 2014, according to a Gallup study. In total, 51 percent of workers report they were not engaged in their jobs last year, with 17 percent saying they were "actively disengaged."

Despite the low engagement levels, the numbers are on the rise. The average percentage of engaged workers is up nearly 2 percentage points from 2013 and is at the highest number since 2000, when Gallup first began tracking engagement levels among U.S. employees.

Gallup defines engaged employees as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.

Researchers believe the rising engagement levels are due in part to an improved economy. Previous Gallup research has revealed that public perceptions of the economy and job market are growing increasingly positive following recent GDP growth and lower unemployment levels.

"Engagement began to drop in 2008 during the financial collapse and continued to fall in 2009, not showing any signs of improvement until 2011, and then reaching its current peak in 2014," the study's authors wrote.

Employers are also putting more emphasis on developing more involved workers, the study found. [No Face Time? No Problem: How to Keep Virtual Workers Engaged ]

"Employee engagement levels might be rising to some degree because managers increasingly see engaging employees as a natural part of their duties," the study's authors wrote. "Managers are giving engagement more attention than they have in the past, potentially leading to higher engagement percentages."

Those in charge are the most devoted to their jobs. The study discovered that managers, executives and officers had the highest levels of engagement, at 38 percent, in 2014.

"This group outpaced every other job category Gallup tracked and saw the greatest gains in engagement from 2013," the study's authors wrote. "At the other end of the spectrum, employees in manufacturing or production jobs recorded the lowest levels of engagement with an average of 23 percent."

Transportation and service workers were other employee groups that had engagement levels well below the national average.

Overall, millennial employees are the least involved in and enthusiastic about their job and workplace. "Although the economy is improving, workers in this generation may not be getting the jobs they had hoped for coming out of college," the study's authors wrote.

Traditionalists, those between 1922 and 1945, are the most engaged generation. Researchers attribute this to the fact that there aren't nearly as many from this generation who are still working and the few who do work do so by choice and enjoy their jobs.

The study was based on interviews of 80,837 adults, ages 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Gallup categorized workers as engaged based on their responses to key workplace elements it has found to predict important organizational performance outcomes.

Chad  Brooks
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.