UK employers fail te engage with workers

UK workers’ levels of engagement with their employers are significantly lower than those of most of their counterparts within other European countries, according to recent research.

Consultancy Watson Wyatt suggests that this is putting UK employers and the UK economy at a considerable disadvantage.

In its Work Europe 2005 survey – which involved a representative sample of more than 8,500 private sector workers from across Europe – Watson Wyatt found that only 12% of employees in the UK could be described as fully engaged with their business.

This compared with 36% of Swiss, 24% of Irish and 18% of German employees. Only Italian employees, at 9%, were less engaged than their UK counterparts.

“Constructive employee engagement has two fundamental dimensions,” said Andrew Cocks, European head of employee research at Watson Wyatt.

“The first dimension is commitment to the organisation and a willingness to go the extra mile to help it succeed.

“The second is alignment to business objectives, with employees having a good understanding of what they need to do as individuals help the organisation to achieve its goals.

“Lack of employee engagement is not just an issue for HR professionals. Our research shows that it can hit the bottom line hard and is likely to put UK employers at a significant disadvantage to their European competitors.”

According to Watson Wyatt, one factor that has consistently been shown to be a driver of constructive employee engagement is the perception that opportunities for development and advancement exist, which can, for instance, have much greater impact than providing satisfactory base pay.

Other factors that influence engagement include explaining the reasons for major decisions to employees, how much they trust senior management and how confident they are of the company’s long-term business success.

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