Every company strives for high-engagement levels among its employees. Employees who are passionate about their jobs and organizations are happier, more productive and tend to stay at a company longer. But what actually causes employee engagement, and just how many of them are actually engaged in their work?
The Marcus Buckingham Co. (TMBC), a provider of employee engagement solutions, recently released its first StandOut Global Engagement Index, which assessed workforce engagement in companies across 13 countries. Survey respondents were asked to rank how strongly they agreed or disagreed with eight engagement-related statements in four key areas, taken from TMBC'S Engagement Pulse whitepaper:
- Purpose – Understanding the company's mission and your role in it.
- Excellence – Feeling like you can succeed because of your strengths and shared values.
- Support – Having a team that helps you and recognizes your work.
- Future – Envisioning growth for both the company and your career.
In every single country surveyed, the biggest driver of full employee engagement was the ability to use one's strengths at work. Secondary factors varied by country. For example, employees in America, Japan and Germany were more likely to agree with being enthusiastic about their company's mission, while those in Britain and India placed more importance on being surrounded by teammates who shared their values. Other highly agreed-with statements included "My teammates have my back" and "I have great confidence in my company's future." [How to Use Big Data for Employee Engagement]
The survey also revealed a troubling fact for employers: The number of "fully engaged" employees — that is, those who strongly agreed with each of the eight statements posed in the survey — was surprisingly low across the board. The percentages ranged from 13 percent (Argentina and Spain) to just 19 percent (U.S. and China).
"Despite China and the U.S. leading the pack in terms of the most fully engaged workforces, even in those countries less than a quarter of employees are wholly committed," Jason Averbook, CEO of TMBC, said in a statement. "[Companies need] country-specific resources — not a one-size-fits-all approach — to drive up the percent of fully engaged workforces, team by team and country by country."
Marcus Buckingham, the founder of TMBC, believes that the onus of raising employee engagement rates lies squarely on a company's leaders, who must have the proper resources to create an engaged team.
"Engagement is low because team leaders — not programs and policies — build engagement, and unfortunately organizations don't give team leaders either the training or the tools to succeed in engaging their teams," Buckingham told Business News Daily "We will see engagement levels rise only when we properly equip local team leaders."
TMBC's Engagement Pulse whitepaper made the following recommendations for team leaders to help drive engagement:
- Engage team members in the mission of the organization.
- Provide clear expectations.
- Strengthen shared values
- Understand person-job fit characteristics for each employee.
- Build team camaraderie, trust and communication.
- Recognize good work.
- Remove job ambiguity and invest in growth opportunities for each team member.
This survey was based on the responses of 1,000 global employees. To download the full details of the Global Engagement Index, visit TMBC's website.