Are You Killing IC Employee Engagement? Employee Engagement Stats You Should Know.

employee engagement Jun 10, 2024

According to Right Management’s 2024 State of Careers, the majority of leaders from a variety of industries believe that their teams are engaged. However, the results they found in their research showed that this was a huge misconception. Out of the 1,002 employees surveyed, only 48% of them considered themselves engaged. Meanwhile, 29% of the whole group said they were actively disengaged. What’s going on?

It’s clear there is a large gap between leaders and their teams when it comes to engagement perceptions. Right Management’s research piece calls it the Engagement Illusion. So, how do we approach IC employee engagement? It’s time to take a look at the research to look at what you should do right now to protect your organization from turnover and lost productivity.

Research Data

It’s always a good idea to examine the data behind a research study. Here’s some quick highlights of what made the Right Management 2024 State of Careers Engagement Illusion study possible:

People surveyed:

  • 401 leaders
  • 1,002 employees


  • 75% from United States
  • 25% from Canada

Results were weighted.

Company size: every company surveyed had more than 1,000 employees.

There were a wide variety of industries examined.

The survey is from January 2024.

Not every research study will reflect the state of your organization. It’s a good idea to survey your own teams to see how engaged they are so you can take informed action. One of the best ways to regularly check the pulse of your hybrid team is with tools like CultureBot that can help your managers use regular surveys right on Slack. These surveys can keep your leadership team informed about how your teams are feeling at any given moment.

Expectation vs Reality

So, how many of those leaders overestimated their organization’s engagement levels? Out of the 401 leaders surveyed, 83% of them believed their teams were fully engaged.

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From Right Management’s 2024 State of Careers (p. 3)

Where leaders expected only 6% of workers to be disengaged, the reality was that it was nearly a third. Only 48% of workers reported that they were fully engaged, as opposed to the 83% predicted by leaders. 29% of those workers say they are disengaged, and

Morale Suffers as a Result

This miscalculation by leaders has serious consequences on IC employee engagement. Disengagement results in a loss in employee morale. According to the survey, many employees would choose a different role if they were given an opportunity.

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From Right Management’s 2024 State of Careers (p. 4)

There are a lot of other interesting insights that they found in this topic as well. One of the widest contrasts in the data is leadership’s misconception of how likely employees are to say they love the work they do. Employers misjudged this by 38%. Leadership expected that over 90% of employees would say they enjoy their work, but only a little under 55% of employees agreed.

Another interesting one is employee motivation. Although leadership believed that a little over 90% of employees are motivated at work, only a little under 70% of employees agreed — a difference of 22%.

However, leadership and employees are pretty close to agreeing on a few topics. They are generally in agreement about how much employees enjoy interacting with their colleagues, whether the organization is financially successful, and employee productivity. Each of these topics had less than 10% of difference between employees and leaders.

Employee Loyalty and Retention

Employers don’t just underestimate employee engagement: they also underestimate employee loyalty. Although three quarters of employees surveyed said they were planning to stay in their role for the foreseeable future, half of them were still open to taking another job elsewhere if the conditions were right.

The same goes for internal growth. Employers overestimated by 39% the number of employees looking for other roles in their organization. In reality, only half of the employees were looking for advancement roles.

Improving internal mobility is critical to approaching this problem. You should also make your employees aware of internal opportunities when they become available. You can also celebrate promotions with your team by using Slack tools like CultureBot to make someone’s internal mobility feel special. Celebrating it can also inspire the rest of your team to seek those opportunities as well. CultureBot’s custom shoutouts features are perfect for this situation to help you better achieve your IC employee engagement goals.

Data from Right Management’s 2024 State of Careers (p. 5)

Distribution of Roles and Job Perceptions

There is some interesting distribution in the report about how different roles feel about their jobs.

Data from Right Management’s 2024 State of Careers (p. 8)

According to this chart, it’s clear that senior organization members like Directors and Vice Presidents are satisfied with their jobs, dedicated to their companies and feel secure in their careers and value. Employees with less rank tend to be more unsure.

This information may be a good starting place to narrow your focus when working to improve IC employee engagement.

Focus on Middle Employees

The results of the survey revealed an interesting insight: a gap in engagement based on tenure. Employees between 3 and 5 years of working at your organization will be more likely to seek new opportunities. Meanwhile, new hires and the most senior members of your organization are the most engaged and satisfied.

From Right Management’s 2024 State of Careers (p. 8)

As seen in the chart above from the study, those between 3-5 years of experience at a company are the ones most likely to actively be seeking a new job. 35% of these middle employees in the study are open to new opportunities. Those with higher seniority, over 10 years, are the least likely to look for a new job. Only 20% of these senior professionals are open to new opportunities. This is likely because they are happy with the security and compensation of their role. It’s a bit of a mixed bag for all the other categories, sitting between 31% and 26%.

If new hires are more optimistic about their future, and senior professionals are satisfied with the positions they’ve earned, it’s those middle employees that are the most uncertain about the future of their careers. As a result, they will be more disengaged than others on your team.

How to Engage Middle Employees

There are several ways to approach this problem:

  • Invest in employee development:  a driving force of career uncertainty is that employees want more skills and resume building opportunities to make them a stronger candidate. Give them those opportunities and they will feel more secure. Over 60% of engaged employees feel their organization invests in learning and development.
  • Meet employee expectations: make sure you are meeting the needs of your employees with not just pay and benefits, but also their career needs and ambitions. Employees also want to be challenged in ways that they feel contribute to their growth. Note how in the chart below, very few disengaged employees feel that they are being challenged at work.
  • Focus on career development: offer training courses, share promotional opportunities, mock interviews, and other career development benefits. Over 40% of engaged employees feel their organization provides them with career developmental support.
  • Hold leadership accountable: your leadership team is responsible for driving engagement, productivity, and loyalty. Give them the tools and freedom to take the necessary action to keep their teams engaged to reduce your turnover and save lost productivity.
  • Focus on middle employees: center your attention on this group because they are the most likely to have career uncertainty. Giving this group in particular the career development tools they need to succeed can have a significant impact when reducing your turnover and improving engagement.
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From Right Management’s 2024 State of Careers (p. 4)

One of the widest differences between engaged and disengaged employees according to the study is whether employees feel that they are being challenged at work, a difference of around 30%. Another major difference is whether or not employees feel that their organization invests in learning and development with a difference of 25%.

One of the most important parts of this chart to consider is whether employees feel that a business has a formal career development pathway. Even engaged employees weren’t very likely to report this benefit, since only around a third of them felt this way. As the weakest of the engaged statistics on this chart, it’s important to consider that perhaps none of the businesses in the study have a strong focus on career development opportunities. That could be an opportunity for businesses to greatly improve their employee engagement and retention by offering more career development pathways.

Combating the Engagement Crisis

If you want to fight back against disengagement in your organization, it’s time to prioritize the people that make your teams happen. Invest in fostering engagement and loyalty. Remember, employees want to be loyal given the right support system from your leadership team. Leverage every tool you can to make that happen. CultureBot is one of the best tools at your disposal for a hybrid team using Slack. Use custom shout outs and bring your teams closer together with automatic conversation starters, custom celebrations and activities, all in Slack. Schedule a free demo today to see it in action for yourself.


Oswald Reaves

A serial startup founder and entrepreneur, Oswald is a co-founder of the Slack-based employee experience and team engagement platform, CultureBot . Oswald is originally from North Carolina.