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Surveys find younger workers are disengaged

Written on Apr 21, 2023

Young employees are more checked out at work, and as the generation born between 1997 and 2012 continues to join the workforce and grow professionally, workplace experts believe there are some ways employers can step up to engage them and retain them better. 

Young workers have experienced a drop in engagement, according to a January 2023 Gallup poll. In 2020, overall employee engagement dropped four points, to 32% active engagement, with young millennials and Gen Z experiencing a bigger drop off than older workers. According to the report, this disengagement comes from younger workers feeling less cared about, lacking someone who encourages their development and feeling as though they have no opportunities to grow at work. 

Gen Z is more likely than older generations to quit their jobs without another lined up, according to a 2023 report from Oliver Wyman Forum, so engaging them effectively is imperative. The study also found that 70% of workers who consider themselves loyal are still actively or passively looking for work elsewhere. 

Younger employees don’t have to be in the office to be engaged. A Gallup poll found that remote, in-person, and hybrid workers all experienced a decrease in engagement. For Fiverr, a company with employees in 10 countries from Israel to India, as well as the US, a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators is key to consistent engagement. 

Intrinsic motivators may include a pat on the back or a note to acknowledge a job well done or express how appreciated an employee is. But the extrinsic motivators go further with actual gifts or customized care packages. 

Gen Z also wants to have purpose and be able to see how their work is impacting the organization (or world) at large, according to surveys. Visibility, projects and initiatives they can own are key.