Number of Actively Disengaged Workforce Drops to Lowest in a Decade

Organizations continue to bleed on frontline productivity due to growing number of actively disengaged workforce. In 2022, the number of total disengaged people at workplace rose to the highest in 10 years. According to Gallup’s recent report, fully remote workers were viewed as quiet quitters, while office-going people also fell in the group of actively disengaged workforce. At office, disengagement was seen among young workers, female staff and remote-ready on-site workers. The rise in levels of disengagement could have a detrimental effect on the way workers adopt views, values and purpose laid down within an employee charter and how these are achieved in an organization with minimal friction.

“While only 32% of U.S. employees overall were engaged in 2022, there are organizations that have more than doubled this percentage.” – Gallup

When did the decline in active engagement began?

According to Gallup’s latest report, the decline in engagement among the US-based workers began somewhere in 2021. This closely coincided with the weaning in the pandemic lockdown and rebound of businesses slowly coming back to on-site operations. The report highlighted these factors for the drop in engagement in the US:

  • clarity of expectations
  • connection to the mission or purpose of the company
  • opportunities to learn and grow
  • opportunities to do what employees do best
  • feeling cared about at work

Disengaged workforce influenced the way engaged people behaved at the workplace, bringing down the percentage of “extremely satisfied” people in the organization by six-points. Employees in the new year are falling wayward in terms of meeting expectations and achieving targets, creating further disconnect with the employers.

Executives generally overestimate their effectiveness as motivators and leaders.
Executives generally overestimate their effectiveness as motivators and leaders. (McKinsey)


Disengagement was much lower among employees from different demographic groups, and therefore, requires a detailed analysis of the situation. That’s exactly what Gallup’s study sought to do.

Let’s dive in the findings.

Young Workers are Feeling Left Out and Less Cared About

Gen Z-ers are facing the heat at the workplace. Coping with workload, stress and striving for work-life balance have wound up most Gen Zers, causing them to drift from engagement levels. In the report on actively disengaged workers in the US, Gallup found startling difference in the attitudes of young workers, particularly young millennials and Gen Z-ers. Young workers not only feel less cared about at the workplace but also found fewer opportunities to learn and grow.

According to a report by Cigna, young people are struggling with work. They are in totally disarray as far as managing work and health is concerned. More than 90% of the people in the age group 18-14 feel stressed and burned out at workplace, causing them to stray from the engagement and satisfaction levels.

Young Employees are lookingfor a Whole Health Approach
Young Employees are looking for a Whole Health Approach, by Cigna


SCARF Index: Gen Zers score SCARF rating of 64.3, lower than average of 67 compared to Millennials score of 69.2


HR Tech Primer: What is Quiet Quitting?

Women are Way More Disengaged at Work than Men

Women witnessed a stronger decline in engagement than men. Individual contributors and PMs were found to be actively disengaged at workplace in the post-pandemic era. Healthcare and white-collared professionals scored low on the engagement scales and were found to be sucked into the vortex of “quiet quitting”.

When looking at engagement by level in the organization, engagement declined the most among individual contributors and project managers — the same group that saw the largest increase in the percentage who are actively disengaged. Engagement among project managers declined by six points and active disengagement increased by four points. This group also saw a decline in all 12 of Gallup’s engagement elements and overall satisfaction with their employer compared with scores from before the pandemic.

Lessons for CHROs and HR Managers Facing Workforce Productivity Crisis

Organizational culture, employee communications and people listening are essential for improving employee engagement during uncertain and disruptive times. Embracing a flexible workplace culture maintained by strong HRTech systems for KPI measurement, listening, surveys and feedback could bring productivity and engagement at the center of HR organization management. Equipped with strong people management skills and tools with stronger connection to HR technology software help HR teams focus on clear goals and outcomes. Gallup recommends doing the Culture Audit regularly to understand the current form of culture and pick a roadmap to achieve desirable culture in future. Another recommendation is to encourage workers to balance on-site days with remote working during a week. Being together in the office fuels better culture discussions and drives innovation at workplace where people brainstorm on problems and meet with plausible solutions more often.

Leadership is another area that requires to be shaped to increase engagement levels among workers. Gallup analytics have found managers can be quickly upskilled to have ongoing strengths-based conversations that bring clarity and purpose to work — which is now deteriorating in US organizations. In order to establish highest order of coordination and satisfaction levels, leadership has a very important role to play.

[To share your insights with us, please write to]