Decades of research have shown that employee engagement is linked to organizational performance, including in government. Engaged employees find their work meaningful and rewarding. As a result, they are more likely to deliver results for their organization, its leaders, co-workers and other stakeholders. In government, a high level of employee engagement can enable public sector organizations to achieve strategic goals, deliver responsive service to citizens, stimulate innovation and retain valued employees. Improving government performance in these ways can also help increase public confidence in and satisfaction with government.
To expand our knowledge of employee engagement in the U.S. workforce, the CPS HR Institute for Public Sector Employee Engagement commissioned a national poll to assess the level of engagement in the public and private sectors. The authors found that employee engagement is significantly higher among private sector firms than in government – 44 percent of private sector employees are fully engaged, compared to 38 percent of public sector employees. In government, we found wide variation by level. In local government, 44 percent of employees are fully engaged, which equals the private sector percentage and is significantly higher than the fully engaged levels of federal (34 percent) and state (29 percent) governments. The study also shows a positive relationship between engagement and employee perceptions of organizational performance. Fully engaged public and private sector employees are significantly more likely (up to three times more likely, depending on sector) to believe their organizations are successful.