- Cities in Texas, Oklahoma and California have most engaged workers
- Employee engagement linked to improved business outcomes
- U.S. employee engagement at 31.7% in August
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With 38.1% of its workforce engaged, San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas, ranked highest in employee engagement among metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in 2014. Greater San Antonio was followed by Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California, at 37.6% and 36.8%, respectively.
Conversely, Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, New York; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California; and Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota, ranked lowest in U.S. employee engagement this past year. The employee engagement figures for these metro areas trailed the national leader by 13 to 15 percentage points.
The 2014 employee engagement estimates are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted January 2014-December 2014, with 52,785 U.S. adults employed full or part time for an employer. MSAs that were represented by at least 300 respondents were included in the results, which includes a total of 53 metro areas.
Nationally, 31.5% of workers were engaged in 2014. Gallup's latest update on employee engagement, from August, finds that 31.7% of U.S. workers are engaged, similar to results from last year but higher than from 2011 through 2013.
Gallup categorizes workers as "engaged," "not engaged" or "actively disengaged" based on their ratings of key workplace elements that predict important organizational performance outcomes. "Engaged" employees are defined as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work. These employees are passionate and creative, and their enthusiasm fuels growth and innovation. Gallup has consistently found links between employees who are engaged in their jobs and the achievement of crucial business outcomes. Companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share and realize:
- 41% fewer quality defects
- 48% fewer safety incidents
- 28% less shrinkage
- 65% less turnover (low-turnover organizations)
- 25% less turnover (high-turnover organizations)
- 37% less absenteeism
Employees who are "not engaged" fail to bring their organizations these types of returns. Not engaged employees are essentially "checked out." They demonstrate less concern about customers, productivity and profitability. They do not own or feel passionate about their work. "Actively disengaged" employees do more than prevent their organizations from growing -- they actually try to damage them. These employees are not just unhappy at work; they deliberately undermine the accomplishments of their engaged coworkers. They monopolize managers' time, account for more quality defects and quit at a higher rate than engaged employees.
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls Highest in Active Disengagement
In 2014, Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, New York, had the lowest percentage of engaged employees for any MSA. The region also had the highest percentage of actively disengaged employees, followed by Columbus, Ohio, and Louisville-Jefferson County, Kentucky-Indiana. Workers in Richmond, Virginia; Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, reported the lowest percentages of actively disengaged employees. Nationally, 17.5% of employees were actively disengaged in 2014.
Gallup has typically found that low levels of employee engagement go hand-in-hand with high levels of active disengagement, but the two are not necessarily the same because employees who are not engaged may not necessarily be actively disengaged. For example, Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota, ranked near the bottom on employee engagement, but was in the middle of the pack on active disengagement. Also, Richmond, Virginia, had the lowest percentage of actively disengaged workers but was not among the top 10 in engagement, and San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas, with the highest level of engagement, was not among the 10 lowest on active disengagement.
Wide variation exists in employee engagement across the nation's largest metro areas. Gallup has found that employee engagement -- or a lack thereof -- can be attributed to multiple factors. For example, recent research indicates that engagement is related to economic measures such as unemployment and underemployment. After controlling for household income, metro areas where employee engagement is higher tend to also have lower unemployment and underemployment.
However, the greatest factor in understanding employee engagement is the organization's management practices. Gallup research has found that managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units. Companies must ensure that they are continuously developing managers and providing them with the necessary tools and support to engage employees.
Results for the city-by-city rankings are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted January 2014-December 2014, with a random sample of 52,785 adults employed full or part time for an employer, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of employed adults, the margin of sampling error ranges from ±2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level for metro areas with the highest sample size (4,603) to ±8 percentage points at the 95% confidence level for metro areas with the lowest sample size (300). All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.
Results for the August 2015 employee engagement figure are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted Aug. 1-31, 2015, with a random sample of 6,928 adults employed for an employer, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of employed adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.
Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.
Learn more about how Gallup Daily tracking works.