TalentKeepers’ 15th Annual “Workplace America” Report: Employers Don’t Always Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is Regarding Employee Engagement and Retention

Employee engagement and retention are strategic priorities for 73% of US organizations, yet budgets remain static, presenting a challenge for many organizations

April 18, 2019

WINTER PARK, Fla. — TalentKeepers today announced the release of Workplace America, its 15th annual report of employee engagement and retention trends—now the longest continuously running study of engagement and retention in the United States. Over 600 organizations participated for 2019, with 42% employing over 1,000 employees.   

The report begins with good news: employee engagement continues to be respected as a key strategy for many organizations. For five years running, over 73% of US employers rank employee engagement as a strategic priority. Yet that respect is not universally translated into dollars, with only 57% of organizations budgeting for engagement efforts. Lack of budget support could be tied to the failure of many organizations to determine the cost of replacing a well-performing employee, which only 24% have done.

Also notable this year: 70% of organizations report using engagement surveys. But not all are making the best use of these data. Just 42% of organizations are linking engagement metrics to performance metrics, a fundamental method of gaining operational and senior leadership support for engagement initiatives.

Early-tenure-turnover—employees who depart within the first 12 months—has increased a dramatic 31% in the last six years, from 52% in 2013 to 68% in 2019. Employees who quit early into their tenure cite “missed expectations” as a primary cause, which are primarily set by recruiting and onboarding messages. Yet, just 30% percent of organizations hold recruiters and trainers responsible for engagement and retention. “This is a missed opportunity for the majority of organizations,” said Christopher Mulligan, TalentKeepers CEO and author of the report. “Organizations should make engagement and retention metrics part of the talent acquisition team’s goals, including consequences with teeth.”

Operational leaders remain key factors in driving engagement, Mulligan said. “Leaders are the lens through which employees see everything else within the organization. Organizations should leverage this by measuring leaders’ effectiveness in engaging employees, training leaders in engagement skills and holding them accountable as with any other business metric.”

Regarding leadership, 49% of organizations report measuring leaders’ effectiveness in engaging their employees. Unfortunately, just 39% of organizations develop leaders’ abilities to engage their teams, while a dismal 26% hold leaders accountable for engagement.

From 2011 to 2019, job and career issues, specifically a lack of career growth opportunities, have fueled unmanaged attrition. A strong economy with record-low unemployment has enabled many employees to adopt a “grow or go” approach. Also notable: leadership issues have been steadily growing for the past seven years as a stimulus for turnover. These trends should motivate organizations to leverage leaders by having them discuss career growth aspirations with their employees.

Use this link to learn more and obtain a copy of the full report https://www.talentkeepers.com/learning-center/research/

About TalentKeepers

TalentKeepers® is celebrating 19 years of providing award-winning employee engagement and retention solutions to help organizations around the globe increase their performance. We’re a recognized leader in innovative onboarding tools, employee engagement surveys that drive growth and accountability, HRCI and SHRM certified training for HR professionals, unique eLearning leadership programs, teambuilding tools and much more. Twice we have won HR Executive Magazine’s Product of the Year award. Re-energize your efforts and expect more from your engagement and retention partner. Contact us today at solutions@talentkeepers.com


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