Just two-thirds of worldwide employees are engaged
Depressed Employee Engagement Stunts Global Business Performance
- Just two-thirds of worldwide employees are engaged
- Firms lose ground to highest performing organizations
- Company loyalty hits five-year low
- More than 40 per cent of workforce intends to leave within five years
Global firms’ performance continues to be stunted, with more than a third of employees across the world unwilling and unable to go the extra mile for their organization, according to new research from global management consultancy Hay Group.
The study shows that this year on average 66 per cent of workers feel engaged– rebounding marginally over the last twelve months, but still falling significantly behind the world’s highest performing companies (which boast engagement levels of 75 per cent).
More than a third of employees also reported that they are unable to perform optimally, with an average of 33 per cent of workers claiming that barriers put in place by the organization are preventing them from excelling at work.
Hay Group examined annual engagement and enablement levels in 1,610 organizations across 46 countries, representing almost five million employees.
Worldwide employee engagement levels have made only a tentative recovery from last year’s five-year low. Global engagement levels had been falling consistently since 2007, reaching just two-thirds (65 per cent) last year.
Mark Royal, senior principal at Hay Group and author of The Enemy of Engagement, comments: “Over the past few years we have seen employee engagement across the world decline or stagnate at 2008 levels – well behind the best performing companies – at the very point when organizations around the world are needing to deliver better performance.”
Employee Engagement Stagnates
Europe and Pacific face the greatest threat from employee disengagement, with engagement levels falling to a five-year low of just 63 per cent of the workforce. Levels of engagement in Asia also stand at 63 per cent, although this represents a minor rise of one percentage point over the last twelve months.
In the Middle East, engagement has stagnated at 64 per cent, with no change since the height of recession in 2008.
South America Leads Engagement Stakes
The Americas present a brighter picture. Engagement levels in South American firms now stand at nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of the workforce, on par with 2008. Engagement in North America has fallen by three percentage points since 2009, but still remains ahead of global averages at 69 per cent.
An impressive three quarters (74 per cent) of South American workers feel motivated to go beyond their formal job responsibilities, compared with just 66 per cent of employees in Europe and the Middle East.
South America also enjoys the highest levels of employee pride, with more than four in five employees (86 per cent) feeling proud to work for their companies.
Firms Holding Employees Back
Hay Group’s unique data also shows that employees across the globe are not properly supported at work – and are unable to perform to their full potential as a result.
Fewer than two thirds of employees around the world (62 per cent) feel that conditions at work allow them to be as productive as they could be. This falls to a low 58 per cent in Europe and the Middle East.
Even in South America – where the majority of employees feel motivated to go beyond their formal job responsibilities (74 per cent) – only 61 per cent feel as if their companies provide the right environment for them to perform at their best. This is a trend evident across all global regions.
Mark Royal comments: “We are seeing a stubborn gap between the discretionary effort employees across the world are willing to put into their work and the level of support available to help them excel. For organizations looking to harness the full productivity of their workforce, leaving this pool of motivation untapped is a wasted opportunity. “To truly drive productivity, business leaders must understand the role they have to play in enabling high levels of performance – removing the barriers that are holding their employees and their organizations back.”
Company Loyalty Plummets
Long-term commitment is a casualty of low levels of employee engagement and employee enablement according to Hay Group’s research, with commitment levels falling to a five-year low in every major region.
More than two-fifths (44 per cent) of the global workforce intend to leave their employers within five years, with more than one in five employees (21 per cent) intending to leave in less than two years. Employee commitment is highest in North America with three in five employees (62 per cent) intending to stay with their employer for five years or more. However, commitment has declined by five per cent since last year.
Commitment is lowest in Pacific, with 54 per cent of the workforce intending to leave their companies within five years.
Mark Royal comments: “Low engagement and enablement levels are depressing company performance worldwide. However, an important challenge to business is the looming threat of increased employee turnover. “While tight labor market conditions have reduced staff churn, there is a build up of restless and frustrated employees, which now amounts to more than two fifths of companies’ workers. “A small improvement in the labor market is likely to provoke a dramatic rise in employee mobility. Unfortunately, it is often the best performing, highest potential workers who are prepared to vote with their feet if the organization doesn’t give them what they need to deliver.”
Notes to Editors
- Engagement is the result organizations achieve when they stimulate employees' enthusiasm for their work and direct it toward organizational success. It includes: ·
- Commitment. Employees are proud to work for the organization, would recommend it as a place to work and express an intention to stay.
- Discretionary effort. Employees are willing to 'go the extra mile' to help the organization succeed.
2. Employees are 'enabled' when jobs and work environments support them to channel their enthusiasm into productive action. Enablement includes:
- Optimized roles. Jobs make good use of skills and abilities and work is challenging and interesting.
- Supportive environments. The workplace is free from significant barriers to getting the job done and employees feel as productive as they can be.
About the study
The study is based on information from Hay Group’s Insight database, which includes information from 1,610 organizations across 46 countries, representing 4,55,9762 employees.