Do you enjoy working at your current organization ?

by rohit on September 22, 2009

Whether your answer is a yes, a no or a maybe, you will find this post interesting 🙂

The economy’s been moribund

With the downturn in the economy over the last year, the job market has shrunk. It’s common to get calls from friends, old colleagues and even strangers (online), all looking for help.

My friends in HR tell me the downturn’s also resulted in a somewhat lower churn in organizations. People who are unhappy and would otherwise have jumped, have decided to wait it out at their current job till things improve.

Employee dissatisfaction is universal ?

The greater story waiting to be told though is the incipient dissatisfaction that I see afflicting almost every other working person I meet. Not many are really excited about or committed to the organization they work for. And this is not a trend for 2009 and not confined to India. The malaise of the ‘disengaged’ employee is global and has been with us for some time.

Global Workforce Study & “the engaged employee”

Here are the findings from a survey by Towers Perrin, a consulting company, conducted in May-Jun 2007 among 88,000 employees working in large and medium-sized companies in 19 countries. This is the third such survey the company has conducted, the earlier ones being held in 2003 and 2005. Findings :

Globally, organizations are facing what Towers-Perrins calls an “engagement gap.” Only 21% of the above employees surveyed were fully ‘engaged’ i.e. giving their time, energy, creativity and knowledge to their work.

Employee engagement : Towers Perrins Global Workforce Study 2007-08

Employee engagement : Towers Perrins Global Workforce Study 2007-08

Worse, 38% were either wholly or partly ‘disengaged’, which means either of two things. Either they do not know the right things to do to add value to the company or they are doing just the minimum to get by. The balance 41% (100- 21-38) were in the middle i.e. partly engaged, partly disengaged.

The survey had 100 “head”, “hands” and “heart” questions to identify whether employees were engaged. Do employees connect with their company’s goals and values (“head”), are they willing to put in a great deal of extra effort to help the company succeed (“hands”) and do they have an emotional connect such as pride with the organization (“heart”)  ?

The study also shows that there is a correlation between financial performance and employee engagement.

What causes an “engaged employee”

Employee expectation : The driving factors for higher employee engagement were identified. They centred around leadership, in particular whether senior management has the genuine interests of the employees at heart, whether they are open and transparent, etc.

Reality : Only 10% of employees surveyed said their company’s leaders feel that they are “the most important part of the organization”. In fact, a larger part (15%) said that their leaders think that “employees actually don’t matter”.

The difference between above employee expectation and reality, speculates the report, could be because many organizations today are so large that their senior honchos are not able to ‘connect’ i.e. form a “bond” with their multifarious employees. Another reason is that several leaders need training in interpersonal behaviour such as empathy and communication skills. This is because many have come up through specific disciplines such as finance, engineering or law where they were required to exercise mainly their rational / analytical skills, not “soft” skills.

Career growth opportunities and company’s reputation are also important factors in creating an engaged employee, but having leaders who care about employees is ahead.

Findings from India

India was one of the 19 countries in the survey, and it had a sample size of over 4,600.

The factors affecting engagement vary by country. Thus, while on an overall or global basis “senior management interested in my well-being” was the no. 1 factor causing an engaged employee, it was actually the no. 1 factor in only 7 of the 19 countries in the survey.

Indeed, in India, the top factor was “Input into decision-making in my department.” Employees of Indian firms are looking for more autonomy at work. Sounds familiar ? 🙂

Get the full report here. India’s data is on page 25.

India, Brazil and Mexico also have more “engaged employees” than the other 16 countries in the survey. See highights here. This seems to be a case of developing countries being able to provide higher growth opportunities, leading to higher employee engagement. The 16 other countries are all mature, developed markets (with the possible exception of Russia).

Even in India, however, there is scope for improvement in the engagement score. There are only 36% engaged employees (as against 21% globally).

What can make employees at Indian firms more engaged ?

While in developed markets, the key issue in creating employee enagagement seems to be trust (hence the answer “senior management which is interested in my well-being”) , in India it seems more  a case of maturity of management style.  Indian managers are not delegating enough cf. “input into decision making in my department” is the no.1  factor blocking higher employee engagement.

Has management practise in India really evolved ?

Stay tuned to this blog for more on organizations and the world of work…

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Vinaytosh Mishra October 13, 2009 at 10:22 am

Hi Rohit Sir,

“Indian managers are not delegating enough cf. “input into decision making in my department” is the no.1 factor blocking higher employee engagement.”

It’s very true .The loyalty with a firm without sufficient career prospect is thing of past…For skilled employee there are enough opportunity…In future employees are going to be more demanding.

I would like to share a simple example:

” Once a friend of mine told he is demotivated because he is not allowed to participate in crucial meetings.. althougn he was marketing head..The reply of management was: Are you a stakeholder?

Lolz…If a senior employee is not a stakeholder can an organisation grow?

The need of our is to educate the leaders about employee engagement…They think they know every aspect of business because they are running business from few years…They use jargons like ROI and Stakeholder etc to exploit the employee and never have any intention to empower employees..This Narcissism can be fatal for these organisations..


Umang Agrawal October 13, 2009 at 12:48 pm


I agree with the fact the Employee Engagement depends a lot on the decision making powers that an employee has.

Another factor according to me, that affects Employee engagement, is Sharing of Responbility.
It has been observed often that in times of crisis, the responsibilty is not taken by some of the Senior Management, whereas the vice-versa might happen at times of appraisal.

This definitely affects the Employee expectations thus influencing the Engagememt.


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