France press release

26 November, 2010 - FRANCE


  • 81 per cent C-Suite executives recognise that disengaged employees are one of the biggest threats to their business
  • A third (33 per cent) of the workforce across France are engaged but feel that their company prevents them from doing more
  • C-Suite executives under-value the role line managers can play in motivating junior and mid managers

Recent research1 conducted by global management consulting firm Hay Group, reveals that over half (51 per cent) of employees across France are either not engaged or don’t have the tools to do their job properly.

The majority of board executives in France surveyed for the study recognise that disengaged employees are one of the three biggest threats to business yet very few are taking steps to address this, with 70 per cent saying that engagement is occasionally, rarely or never discussed at board level.

While 82 per cent of employees in France say that they are motivated to ‘go the extra mile’ (in other words ‘engaged’), less than two thirds (53 per cent) feel they are enabled by their organisation to do so. The survey (which defines four different employee types2) shows that this is resulting in over half the workforce falling into frustrated, ineffective and detached categories [even though they are keen to do more in their current roles].

Detached Employees
Disengaged but enabled
3 per cent

Effective Employees
Engaged and enabled
49 per cent

Ineffective Employees
Disengaged and not enabled
15 per cent

Frustrated Employees
Engaged but not enabled
33 per cent

Who is responsible for engagement in French companies?
This seems to fall between leaders and managers. Over half (53 per cent) of C-Suite executives believe they are responsible for determining levels of employee engagement. But they appear to undervalue the role middle managers can play with just 8 per cent believing middle managers are responsible. On the other hand, a third (36 per cent) of mid and junior managers, look to their line manager for personal levels of engagement and motivation with far less (20 per cent) saying the CEO / top team has an impact on their levels of engagement and motivation.

Ben Hubbard, European head of engagement at Hay Group, said, “Disengaged employees can have a detrimental effect to a business’ bottom line. Hay Group research estimates that the top organisations on both engagement and enablement achieve revenue growth 4.5 times greater than their industry peers. With this in mind companies need to optimise engagement levels, or risk suffering financially and possibly losing top talent. CEOs have an important role to play in engagement by setting clear and promising direction. The research indicates that they are taking responsibility for this but can underestimate the part that line managers play in employees’ personal levels of motivation. CEOs need to listen to the voice of their employees and invest time and money in training senior management to equip them with the skills they need to become responsible for the levels of employee engagement. If line managers sense they are not accountable for engagement it stands to reason that many of them will not go out of their way to try and boost engagement amongst their direct reports.”

C-Suite doesn’t have an accurate picture of employee motivation or how to improve it.
Worryingly, over a quarter (28 per cent) of junior and mid managers highlighted that their organisations do not measure employee engagement at all. In companies where they do use methods to measure staff motivation 68 per cent of employees either do not believe or are not sure whether this gives senior management a true picture of how motivated staff really are.

Ben Hubbard, European head of engagement at Hay Group, continued, “Since the downturn the work place landscape has changed and methods to engage staff that may have previously worked now need to be reassessed. By understanding more clearly exactly what motivates an effective employee, CEOs can move more of the workforce away from the frustrated and ineffective groups.”

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Lansons Communications
Laura Moss / Ellie Brooke
T: +44 207 3694 / 566 9715
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Notes to editors

About Hay Group
Hay Group is a global consulting firm that works with leaders to turn strategies into reality. We develop talent, organise people to be more effective, and motivate them to perform at their best. With 88 offices in 47 countries, we work with over 7,000 clients across the world. Our clients are from the public and private sector, across every major industry, and represent diverse business challenges. Our focus is on making change happen and helping organisations realise their potential.

For more information, please visit


1 The research, which spanned Europe and the Middle East (UK, Netherlands, Germany, France Spain and Saudi Arabia), assessed attitudes to engagement of 300 C-Suite executives and asked 3000 mid and junior mangers how engaged they are. Research field work amongst 3000 middle and junior managers carried out by Opinium Research from 15th July – 10th August 2010. Analysis of field work carried out by DJS Research Ltd Economist Intelligence Unit carried out a survey of 300 C-Suite executives from June - July 2010

2 Measure for engagement = stated engagement, motivation to go beyond the norm, motivation to contribute more, stated loyalty

Measure for enablement = conditions in job allowing you to be productive, company providing you with everything you need for your job

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