Employee engagement is up. Hybrid work – and teamwork – deserve the credit

March 26, 2024

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Engagement. It’s an important metric for employers and their employees, that emotional state of mind that prompts people to do their best work and sustain that elevated level of performance.

That’s why the ADP Research Institute has been tracking worker engagement across the globe since 2015. In 2023 alone, we surveyed more than 28,000 people in 28 countries on six continents, expanding our reach both within organizations and globally.

Our latest survey shows worker engagement on the rise. But we found big variations based on geography, remote work, and levels of teamwork. 

Location matters

The pandemic ushered in the world’s lowest level of employee engagement since our data began. In 2020, only 14 percent of workers said that they were fully engaged. 

Since then, worker engagement has ticked upward, reaching a record high of 18 percent in 2023.   

We believe this signals an enduring change in the global workforce. Last year’s return to a post-pandemic normalcy, coupled with an improved global economy and an acceptance of hybrid work, might have boosted employee engagement. 

While engagement improved at the global level, however, the situation looks quite different country by country. Economic, political, and social factors can have significant influence on employees and their work. From geopolitical issues to rapidly changing economic conditions, each country’s unique experiences affect individuals differently. 

The power of hybrid work

Hybrid work took the world by storm in recent years, but now on-site work is making a comeback. In the past year, the share of on-site workers grew by 6 percent as more organizations told their employees to show up in person. 

In 2023, for the first time since the pandemic, more than half of workers we surveyed globally were on site, a gain that came largely at the expense of remote-only work.

This shift is important, because when it comes to employee engagement, work location matters. Hybrid workers are 1.7 times more likely to be fully engaged than on-site workers, and 1.9 times more likely to be fully engaged than people who do their jobs remotely.

The importance of teams

Regardless of where people get their work done, they’re significantly more likely to be engaged on the job when they’re part of a team. And that’s good, because about 93 percent of our global respondents say they’re part of one.

The teamwork difference is particularly dramatic for on-site and hybrid workers. On-site workers who are part of a team are 3 times more likely to be highly engaged; hybrid workers on teams are 2.8 times more likely to be highly engaged.