Disengagement varies across diverse groups

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HR managers might have to consider reinventing their approach to diversity after a recent study found that there are distinct gaps in employee engagement between different groups.

The Involvement and Participation Association (IPA) examined six UK organizations in the public and private sector and found some significant disparities.

Somewhat surprisingly, the report found that young people are the most engaged, with levels decreasing gradually until the age of 65, when it rises again. Researchers suggest this may be due to disengaged staff opting for retirement.

Women, as a whole, tend to be more engaged than their male counterparts although they’re less confident that their input is valued and appreciated.
However, disabled employees are among the most disengaged.

The report revealed that disabled workers are significantly less engaged than employees without a disability – in the NHS, disabled staff scored 3.59 for engagement, compared to 3.77 for non-disabled staff and in the Civil Service, disabled employees scored 34%, compared to 43% for non-disabled staff.

“It’s increasingly clear that employee engagement is vital for organisational success,” says Nita Clarke, director of the IPA and co-chair of the Engage for Success taskforce.

“Employers need to see engaging with their staff as a top priority and they must make sure they give their employees a voice,” she continued.

In addition to the findings, the IPA report also offered employers a number of recommendations:
  • Understand the full diversity of the workforce and examine any variations in engagement.
  • Address any issues by consulting with employees
  • Support line managers to engage all staff and give managers appropriate training to raise their awareness of diversity and inclusion
  • Understand that employee networks can play a critical role
  • See diversity and inclusion and employee engagement as ‘two sides of the same coin’, rather than keeping them separate
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