This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

August 6, 2008

The Pitiful State of Employee Engagement

Recently, global consultants BlessingWhite released a landmark study on the State of Employee Engagement with survey results gathered from North America, the United Kingdom (and Ireland), and the Asia Pacific Region. Engaged employees are excited and use their talents and discretionary effort to make a difference for their employers.

In North America, fewer than one in three (only 29 percent) of employees are fully engaged and 19 percent are actually disengaged. The company also found a strong correlation between employee engagement and retention. An impressive 85 percent of engaged employees expect to stay with their organizations throughout 2008. Moreover, the study found that engaged employees stay for what they can contribute (they like their work), while disengaged employees stay for what they can get (job security, favorable job conditions, and growth opportunities).

The picture in the UK and Ireland is slightly worse; there less than one in four (23 percent) employees is fully engaged and nearly as many are actually disengaged. Also, fewer of the engaged employees than the North America statistics (only 76 percent) expect to stay in 2008. In this region, the most common factor influencing job satisfaction is "more opportunities to do what I do best".

In the Asia Pacific region, results vary widely with Indian workers registering as the most engaged (34 percent) and Chinese workers the least engaged (only 10 percent). Workforces in Southeast Asia are about the same as their European and Australia/New Zealand counterparts with only about one-quarter of employees fully engaged. (Unfortunately, no data are available for South America; Find an update to this information here.)

On the converse of the data, most regions report over 70 percent of today's employees are not fully engaged. This condition puts them at risk for employee turnover and their employers at risk for not being as profitable. The new generations take much more license to change jobs.

Other data from the study has revealed that the most vulnerable sectors are Technology, Communications/media, Retail/hospitality/travel, and Healthcare. Unless employers take immediate steps to engage those workers (once the world economies improve) they will be the victims of significant turnover, particularly among the younger workers.

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