Leaders have been concerned about employee engagement during the recession—and for good reason. Mass layoffs, pay freezes, furloughs, cuts in benefits, fewer people to do the work, and general instability all seem likely to make people less engaged in their work, as well as less happy overall. Leaders acting on this typical assumption may be missing the true engagement challenge that is coming in the years ahead.
The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) finds that declining employee engagement has been less of an issue than expected over the past two years. Data from CCL’s World Leadership Survey show that employee engagement actually increased when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was down and layoffs were up. (Yes, you read that correctly.)