Global Survey Fast Tracks Employee Engagement To Top Of The Business Agenda

posted 11/15/2012



Adding fuel to the fire of the hot topic that is employee engagement, the results of a global survey[1] released this week have revealed a world of under-engaged employees.

Specifically, the survey of 33,000 full-time employees in 28 countries has revealed an average Global Engagement Index score of 57%. Lifting a little on last year ‘s score of 54% (though still down on 2009 and 2010) the result is not bad per se, but certainly presents room for improvement – and an opportunity for employers to grasp a powerful and in-reach competitive advantage.

Breaking down the often-woolly science of employee engagement into a series of contextual and can-do layers, the Kenexa High Performance Institute’s survey also delivers compelling and actionable insight for companies wanting to tap the full performance capability of their workers.

According to the survey data, employee engagement levels are significantly impacted by:

  • “Best Practice” workplace initiatives such as communication and adherence to a clear mission statement, the collation and communication of employee opinion surveys and customer feedback, quality improvement and cross- training and regular performance appraisals. The more, the merrier – and more engaged.
  • Senior Management competence, integrity and most particularly - benevolence, with demonstrated concern for employee morale and wellbeing correlating with higher engagement.
  • Team dynamics and employees feeling like a genuine member of a greater collective.
  • Position in the workplace hierarchy, with engagement levels sliding from top (management) to bottom (entry level).

Per industry, employees involved in Electronics and Computer Manufacturing presented as the most engaged, with public sector, healthcare services and retail/wholesale trade employees, the least.

Geographically speaking, Indian and Japanese employees bookend the Employee Engagement Index scores in first and last place, respectively. Denmark and Mexico rank high-moderate, followed by reasonably-engaged Netherlands, US, Canada, Australia, China, Spain, New Zealand, Brazil, Turkey, Switzerland, South Africa, UAE, Finland, Sweden, Argentina, Ireland, Italy. Featuring low-moderate engagement scores are Indonesia, UK, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France and Korea.

Placing at the lower end of the spectrum and weathering an economic recession, the United Kingdom’s alarming employee engagement deficit has become a front-and-centre national priority. In an effort to boost employee engagement levels and national economic performance, a high-level task force of business leaders has been assembled (titled Engage for Success) and earlier this week, a website (www.engageforsuccess.org) designed to inspire and assist businesses across the nation to take practical employee engagement action, launched.

Chief advocate, British Prime Minister David Cameron has encouraged all companies to get involved in the Engage for Success movement “to get UK workers more involved in the decision making of their companies and feel more passionate about their work”.

“With only a third of UK workers saying they feel engaged, I encourage all companies to get involved in this important initiative”[2] he has urged.

Beyond British borders, this sentiment – and the case for engaged employees - rings true for business leaders worldwide. Before looking to human capital restructure or cost-cutting to improve bottom line performance, companies would do well to first focus on engaging and eliciting the full potential of its existing employee base.

Notably, a workplace health and wellbeing platform can also go a long way towards supporting employee engagement levels. In the context of the workplace indicators identified in the Kenexa Employee Engagement study outlines above, an effective, all-inclusive and team-based wellbeing program – such as the Global Corporate Challenge® (GCC) - supports each of the four traits outlined above:

  • “Best Practice” workplace initiatives: Clear goal setting and support to achieve an aspirational, achievable mission effectively boosts employee motivation levels and morale, both of which are critical to engagement.

After participating in the GCC this year, 59% of employees described morale in their organisation as good or excellent.

  • Senior Management benevolence: when an employer genuinely and demonstrably prioritises the health and wellbeing of its workforce, employees feel valued - another critical element to engagement.

After completing GCC 2012, 59% of participants reported being more aware of their employer’s commitment to employee health and wellbeing.

  • Team dynamics: Belonging to a team and working together towards a common goal aids the forging of (cross-functional) relationships and social connections, creating and strengthening the peer-support network which fosters engagement.

This year, 74% of employees who participated in the GCC reported good or excellent-grade team working relationships after program completion.

  • Position in the workplace hierarchy: uniting employees towards a shared goal outside of workplace hierarchy effectively breaks down hierarchical barriers and promotes confidence self-esteem, both potent engagement ingredients.

57% of GCC 2012 participants reported a greater personal connection to their colleagues post-program completion.

Employees respond positively to organisations who invest in their health and wellbeing and in turn, an engaged workforce supports improved business outcomes including higher-level employee commitment, retention and productivity.

To see how the GCC has facilitated improved employee engagement levels and flow-on business outcomes for a variety of organisations, please visit our Client Success page.


[1] The Many Contexts of Employee Engagement, Kenexa High Performance Institute. November 2012
[2] Engage For Success Press Release, Engage For Success. November 12, 2012

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