Two-thirds of workers disengaged, exodus looming
Employees who don't have a clear understanding of "what is expected of them and what they are accountable for" are unlikely to care about their employer's success, says Right Management's Bridget Beattie, who warns that nearly two in three workers are at risk of fleeing their jobs within the next 12 months.
"People systems" and leaders falling shortBeattie's comments follow the release of Organisational Effectiveness and Employee Engagement, a Right Management report based on a survey of nearly 29,000 workers from around the world.
It reveals that fewer than one in two employees believe they work in an organisation with the "people systems" and leaders capable of driving the "right behaviours", and only 54 per cent think their company has a "positive culture".
In Australia, some 36 per cent of workers are "committed to making the organisation a success", compared to 11 per cent in Japan, 43 per cent in New Zealand and 44 per cent in the US.
The transport, storage and communication sector has the lowest engagement levels (at 30%), followed by manufacturing (32%) and the retail trade (33%).
Mining has the highest engagement rates (48%), followed, at a distant second, by finance, insurance and business services (38%).
Tellingly, the survey also reveals a strong relationship between high levels of disengagement and low levels of perceived customer satisfaction, making it particularly difficult for employers to execute or achieve "steady business results".
Employers must strive to "engage and delight"Employers must continuously "search for new and better ways to engage employees" and "delight customers and stakeholders", the report states.
But business leaders "have a long way to go to align and engage their employees to their strategy".
According to Beattie, engagement levels in Australia have been steadily declining over the last four years (from 38.1% in 2005 to 35.7% in December 2008).
"This decline in engagement isn't surprising, given the sense of dislocation during the global financial crisis," she says.
"However, it is concerning. Research has consistently shown that employee engagement is powerfully linked to a range of success factors, including productivity, customer satisfaction and staff retention.
"Employers battling their way out of the downturn really need to get it right. When the economy is tight... companies are even more dependent on the discretionary effort of their people; they need them to do more than simply turn up."
Beattie says employers must:
Achieving a truly engaged workforce, it says, hinges on "investing in the selection and development of capable leaders, employees' learning and development and getting reward systems right".
Employers must strive for "a 'fit for purpose' organisational structure where people understand what is expected of them and what they are accountable for".
This, in turn, should create a positive workplace culture, it says, in which the "systems, symbols and behaviours that leaders and other employees are exposed to" are aligned with the business strategy.
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