Staff engagement in S'pore below global average: Report

Lunch crowd in the Central Business District (CBD) area on Jan 17, 2020.
Lunch crowd in the Central Business District (CBD) area on Jan 17, 2020.PHOTO: ST FILE

Employee engagement in Singapore lags behind the global average, according to a study out yesterday.

It also found that nearly 20 per cent of workers polled here intend to leave their jobs in less than a year.

The study was conducted over 18 days and included 13,551 respondents aged 18 years or older and in employment across 17 countries and regions. About 500 respondents were from Singapore.

The report scored Singapore's employee engagement at 47 per cent, based on metrics such as opportunities for growth and development, manager effectiveness, and support and resources.

This was lower than other countries such as Britain, Malaysia, the United States and India.

Measures such as having a feedback programme and acting on feedback boosted employee engagement, the report from experience management firm Qualtrics said.

Dr Stephen Choo, its employee experience senior solutions strategist for Asia-Pacific and Japan, said: "Our study shows that asking for employee feedback and the frequency with which organisations ask have a direct impact on employee engagement scores.

"However, what really moves the needle is whether employees feel the company turns their feedback into tangible actions."

The report noted that the top drivers of employee engagement in Singapore were a clear link between the work and the company's strategic objectives, confidence in senior leadership to make the right decisions, managers who help with career development, opportunities for development and recognition for good work.

Dr Choo said: "The... study outlines key focus areas for businesses to improve their employee experience and the actions required to provide every employee with a voice, especially in times of transformation.

"It's critical for businesses to regularly ask (for) feedback, listen and, most importantly, act on it."

ACTING ON FEEDBACK

It's critical for businesses to regularly ask (for) feedback, listen and, most importantly, act on it.

DR STEPHEN CHOO, Qualtrics' employee experience senior solutions strategist for Asia-Pacific and Japan.

Nearly 20 per cent of those surveyed here also said they intended to stay with their current employer for less than a year, while 38 per cent said they would look for a new job within two years.

The report said: "This means a company needs to replace more than a third of its workforce every two years - a significant cost to the business.

"Boosting engagement can reduce churn, and managers have a key role in driving improvements."

FastJobs senior account manager Melvin Wong said: "We observe that there is now less stigma against people who change jobs regularly, and, in fact, changing jobs every two to three years can be positively interpreted that the job-seeker is adaptable and can bring diversity of ideas to the table."

Mr Mayank Parekh, chief executive of the Institute for Human Resource Professionals, said: "With the rapid digitisation and changing business models, it is imperative for organisations to regularly refresh the range of jobs and upskill their workforce.

"Talents will gravitate towards organisations that provide opportunities for learning and development, and help with their career development."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2020, with the headline 'Staff engagement in S'pore below global average: Report'. Print Edition | Subscribe