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Study Shows Global Decline in Employee Retention and Engagement


By Hallmark Business Connections | December 14, 2012 | Engage Employees

In the 2011/2012 Kenexa® High Performance Institute WorkTrends™ Report, the overall decline in employee engagement is reflected on a global scale. This index is conducted on a yearly basis and defines engagement as employee satisfaction with the workplace to the extent that an individual will not want to look for work elsewhere.

Though the U.S. showed a high level of employee engagement overall (58 percent), the average of the six major economies surveyed (U.S., U.K., India, Brazil, China, and Germany) came out to 54 percent, down 6 percent from 2010. In addition to showing employee engagement trends by country, the study also broke down the different components of engagement—advocacy, satisfaction, pride in company, etc. According to the data, employee retention saw the biggest decrease over the past year, falling from 56 to 47 percent, and contributed to the overall average decline in employee engagement.

Kenexa® claims the state of the global economy is related to these statistics, but that the battle isn’t over yet. “While the statistical picture looks bleak, there are some organizations that are bucking the trend and driving Employee Engagement Index scores higher. This is a worthwhile endeavor, since numerous studies have shown that employee engagement is positively related to organizational performance.” Companies that take notice of the decline in employee retention and make a conscious effort to change organizational practices are positioning themselves for increased employee engagement in the future.

Kenexa’s recent findings on the declining levels of engagement around the globe offer a great perspective for business leaders to evaluate their current engagement strategies in light of an uncertain global economy.  The report findings show a consistent decline in engagement levels across the largest global economies, industries, and job types. The authors of the study suggest that the lack of confidence resulting from the turbulent global economy could be a leading contributor to the overall decline in engagement levels around the globe. Yet, there are organizations operating in these same environments that are bucking the trend and increasing engagement levels, despite the added pressures of a turbulent economy.

This report highlights some of the primary drivers that influence employee engagement: 1) The ability to influence work/life balance, 2) organizational management practices/effectiveness, and 3) training/professional development. In light of the economic challenges, business leaders looking to increase employee engagement to help navigate their company through sluggish economies must evaluate how they’re addressing these three drivers. Within each driver, there are many levers at their disposal to actively influence the engagement levels within their company, department or team. Regardless of which levers are pulled, leaders must use each opportunity to personally connect with employees in meaningful, memorable ways.

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