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New research reveals falling employee confidence threatens business resiliency

From economic volatility to the rapid advancement of technology, today’s environment is in flux. This dynamic creates new risks, but it also creates exciting opportunities. By building business resilience, leaders can strike the right balance between risk and opportunity to fuel future growth. It’s about having the organizational mindset and muscle to take advantage of the unexpected—and flex fast for what’s next.

At Eagle Hill Consulting, we help organizations build business resiliency with intention through scenario planning, organizational design, customer experience, and technology enablement. Yet even leaders who champion business resilience often don’t prioritize one of the most critical dimensions: the workforce. 

Is your business resilient? Ask your employees

Employee confidence in an organization’s leadership and future are key indicators of business resiliency. That’s why when leaders overlook the workforce, they can’t fully understand business resilience. Do employees think leaders are taking the right actions to boost competitiveness? Do they see a path for organizational growth, and in turn, a path for their own career growth? In essence, tracking employee confidence is a proxy for tracking how well (or not) an organization is using disruption to fuel growth.

A data-powered view of employee confidence

We are making it easier for leaders to monitor shifts in employee confidence by tracking it quarterly as one of four indicators making up the Eagle Hill Consulting Employee Retention Index

The latest Retention Index (Q1-2024) shows that employees’ confidence in their organization and leaders has gone from the leading indicator to the weakest for two consecutive quarters (Figure 1). This is a clear threat to business resiliency. 

Figure 1: The Organizational Confidence Indicator has moved from a place of strength to a weakness

In fact, the organizational confidence indicator has been unstable since the beginning of 2023. Since that time, it’s been on a downward trajectory and over the last two quarters it’s the sole indicator dragging down the Retention Index.

While the organizational confidence indicator rebounded slightly in Q1-2024, our data reveals a troubling picture of employee confidence overall—and a clear need for organizations to act now to improve it.


Just 51% of U.S. employees have confidence in their organization’s future.

Source: The Eagle Hill Consulting Employee Retention Index, Q1-2024


Only 52% are confident in their organization’s leadership.

Source: The Eagle Hill Consulting Employee Retention Index, Q1-2024


Close to half feel they have better opportunities outside of their current organization.

Source: The Eagle Hill Consulting Employee Retention Index, Q1-2024


Burnout remains a challenge—45% of employees report feeling burnout at work. 

Source: Eagle Hill Consulting Workforce Burnout Survey, 2023

The Employee Retention Index signals turning points in workforce retention by tracking sentiment of U.S. employees across four proven drivers of retention: organizational confidence, culture, compensation, and job market opportunity.

How to boost employee confidence to build business resilience 

Improving employee confidence in leadership and the overall organization is foundational to business resiliency. Doing this takes a multidimensional approach involving communications, connection and engagement, and feedback. Here are four fundamentals for success.

Be transparent in communications to increase trust. Uncertainty increases employees’ anxiety. To diffuse it and build trust and confidence, leaders should communicate clearly and regularly across all levels of management and channels. Leadership should articulate the business outlook and what decisions, changes, or actions are being considered. Be transparent even when you don’t have complete answers, providing point-in-time pictures of your solutions or plans. Sharing this information can reduce anxiety and stop it from rippling across the organization, while giving employees confidence that the organization can manage through adversity. As part of this, it’s key to maintain an open-door policy, encourage open communication, and be receptive to employees’ questions.

Solicit employee input on how to foster greater connection. As uncertainly grows among employees, stalwart leaders will create organizational cultures that support employees during times of ambiguity. Listening to employees’ perspectives uncovers areas for improvement across different employee segments and incorporating their input into decision-making boosts employee confidence. Organizations should solicit employee input on the extent to which they feel connected to their work (having sense of satisfaction and purpose day-to-day), connected to people (building relationships with peers, teams, managers, and leaders), and connected to the culture (feeling that their personal values align with the mission, values, and norms). By evaluating employee connection holistically, organizations can better pinpoint what’s working, where there are gaps, and which strategies will be most effective in boosting employee connection and confidence. 

Build team camaraderie and a sense of belonging. When employees feel like they belong to a team, they develop stronger ties and confidence in their affiliation with the organization. Creating a culture of belonging requires shared ownership and commitment from people leaders, team managers, and team members. Leaders should seek employee input on team goals, norms and rituals, and create opportunities to help teams build stronger connections with each other as well as with the organization’s culture, mission, and values. As leaders acknowledge external and internal challenges, they should emphasize the message that the organization as a whole is in it together. Remind team members often of their shared objectives and celebrate team successes and milestones along the way.

Articulate and align the organization’s “true north.” A strong organizational vision, mission, and core values provide employees with a sense of purpose and direction, help them find meaning and fulfillment in their work, and contribute to a sense of community and shared identity. In today’s quickly changing world, it is key to periodically confirm the relevance of these fundamentals and ensure they are guiding organizational decisions. Doing so shapes how you organize and communicate information so that employees who may feel adrift get solid direction. Any changes to values or vision should reflect perspectives from leaders and frontline employees, as well as from across external stakeholders. Strong change management and communications are essential to support shared responsibility for working towards your vision.

Every successful organization needs to have business resiliency as a core competency. Any leader who wants to build a strong foundation for business resilience should start with strengthening employee confidence—because resilience starts with people.