Kenexa, a leading provider of recruitment and retention solutions, revealed results of the Kenexa Research Institute’s (KRI) recent employee opinion study for the UK.
The results indicate that the UK is behind India, the USA, Canada, Russia, Germany and Spain when it comes to country-level employee engagement index scores but it is ahead of France, Italy and Japan.
The data come from an analysis of the WorkTrends database, an annual survey of more than 25,000 employees in 18 countries.
The research examines the impact of employee engagement, the factors that drive engagement higher and what employees want from their managers.
Engagement contributes to increased job satisfaction, employee retention, advocacy and pride, all of which can have a positive impact on an organisation’s culture. However, the employee engagement index score for UK employees is only 54%.
“The factors that impede engagement are an employee’s sense of the lack of a promising future in the organisation, their work contributions going unrecognised and being surrounded by unmotivated co-workers,” said Jack Wiley, executive director, Kenexa Research Institute.
“Without engagement, the manager’s job is much harder because it involves pulling the team along, rather than guiding individuals. To improve their engagement levels, UK organisations should develop the skills of their managers and put more emphasis on talent management and creating defined career paths.”
According to the survey, UK employees want exciting work, an organisation that can offer them a promising future, work/life balance, a safe environment, and an opportunity to improve their skills.
“Excitement relates to the work itself, the people involved and the extent to which employees can meet their career goals,” said Dr Wiley.
The research also highlights steps that managers can take to improve employee engagement and the effectiveness of their teams.
These include: treating employees fairly; keeping commitments; evaluating performance fairly; implementing useful suggestions; resolving problems quickly; communicating openly; having confidence in senior leaders; discussing ethical issues without negative consequences; having a promising future; and providing satisfactory recognition.
“Never underestimate the impact that a manager has on his/her team’s level of engagement,” said Dr Wiley. “Managers are the face of the organisation for employees and proper management practices lead to a more engaged workforce.”
The research provides a breakdown of engagement levels by job type.
The UK figures show that 59% of senior and middle managers are engaged, ahead of professional/technical staff (57%), sales staff (55%), clerical staff (54%), supervisors (51%) and service/production staff (45%).
“To succeed, organisations need a strong financial standing and business strategy, solid growth potential, a clear vision, a set of values, well-aligned goals, satisfied customers and skilful talent,” said Dr Wiley. “When you add engagement to that mix, you can really start to achieve high performance.”