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Employee Engagement Remains Low – BlessingWhite 2011 Report

Submitted by  on March 1st, 2011

BlessingWhite conduct their global employee engagement study every three years. The company recently released its 2011 report. The survey was completed online by nearly 11,000 respondents working in North America, India, Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and China. People were invited to participate in mid to late 2010. Respondents included a mix of roles from executive to front-line employee and from within a range of organization sizes from small businesses to global companies.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term “employee engagement”, you may be asking what is it and why is it important. You may not be surprised to learn that the definition of employee engagement varies amongst researchers. BlessingWhite define an engaged employee as someone who is both maximally satisfied with their job and makes a substantial contribution to their organization. Why engagement is important, I’m confident, will become clear as you review the survey results with me.

What does the BlessingWhite report reveal? At a global level, 31% of employees are engaged in their jobs. India wins the highest engagement score with 37% of employees engaged. Australia/New Zealand has the second highest level of engagement with a slightly lower score of 36%. Then North America at 33%, Europe at 30%, Southeast Asia at 26% and China last at 17%. Disengagement levels followed a similar pattern, with India lowest at 12% and China demonstrating the highest level of disengagement at 29%. The overall level of disengagement across all respondents and all regions is 17%. I am pleased to see that although China is at a low level, this country’s engagement score experienced one of the most significant rises since the 2008 survey.

Interestingly, BlessingWhite also found a strong positive correlation between an individual’s level of engagement and their level in the organization. An employee’s age was also found to be positively correlated with engagement. Older workers are more engaged than their Generation Y counterparts. This finding is a welcome antidote to notions that older workers are less able to make a valuable contribution to their organization.

Another interesting finding is that after an employee sticks with the same employer for three years, their engagement level goes up the longer they stay. The relationship between engagement levels and gender and between engagement and organization size are less discernable on a global scale, although some geographical regions display a correlation.

Overall, BlessingWhite’s analysis concluded that engagement scores remained relatively stable throughout the Global Financial Crisis. How organizations responded to the recession, however, did have an impact on engagement levels. The survey revealed that layoffs, hiring and pay freezes had the greatest negative impact on an organization’s level of engagement. Conversely, a strategy of finding new business ventures had the greatest positive impact on employee engagement.

It is worth obtaining and reading the complete report as it contains separate analyses for each region: North America, India, Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia/New Zealand and China. In my next post on the BlessingWhite report, I will look at what it says about employees’ propensity to stay with their current employer. Retaining your best employees is vitally important in remaining competitive, so stay tuned.

References

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