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Towers Perrin Global Workforce Study [Cont]

Winning Strategies for a Global Workforce,Attracting, Retaining and Engaging Employees for Competitive Advantage:

Engagement also has little to do with economic conditions in the country where an

employee works. Only 8% of Chinese employees in our survey are highly engaged, despite ó or because of ó China's fast-growth economy and the stress it puts on people. In Germany's slowing economy, by contrast, almost twice as many employees (15%) are highly engaged.

"We now know that engagement transcends geographic, economic and even cultural differences," noted Lowman. "Highly engaged people -- regardless of where they work -- have a similar set of emotional

and rational connections to their jobs. Where differences do come into play, however, is in the relative importance and focus both employees and employers put on these elements."

"This presents two challenges for employers," Lowman continued. "One is understanding, in concrete terms, the nature of the work experience needed to achieve higher levels of engagement. The second is identifying the unique people practices and programs required to shape that experience -- from management style and behavior to communication and culture; from career and performance management to rewards."

"The people practices that matter most to employees in one country won't necessarily be as important to employees in another country," Gebauer noted. "For example, training and development programs appear to be critical in Brazil, but less so in Germany or the Netherlands. Benefits play an important role in engaging employees in Ireland, but not in most other countries."

"These differences are particularly important to understand as demographic shifts and differing business and labor cost structures force more companies to relocate operations, export jobs and/or import workers. Most will do all three. This means most employers, not just the huge multinationals, will have to manage a global workforce. Their success in doing that will depend on their ability to engage people locally. Our data suggest big challenges loom."

Low Confidence in Management's Ability to Inspire and Lead The survey also shows that employees donít have strong confidence in senior managementís ability to inspire and lead. For instance:

  • Just 41% think their senior management supports new ideas and new ways of doing things.
  • Only 40% think their senior management acts in a way that's consistent with their values.
  • Just 37% think senior management tries to be visible and accessible to employees.
  • Only 36% think senior management effectively communicates the reasons for important business decisions.
  • And a mere third believe senior management communicates openly and honestly to employees.

"These findings are particularly worrisome because leadership in the workplace is one of the key drivers of employee engagement. Employees are looking for guidance, direction, vision and clarity ó from both top management and their direct supervisors ó and they donít believe either are delivering to the extent they would like," Gebauer said.

"Equally disturbing, we've seen findings like these in our studies for a number of years now. This isn't because companies don't care about the issue or recognize how important it is. Rather, it speaks to the complexity of the challenge it presents. The fact is that itís hard to create a work environment that encourages people to give their all on a sustained basis," Gebauer continued. "Every day we learn more about what it takes to do that and the level of commitment required from senior leaders."

See also country and region-specific reports:

Asia

Managing the Workforce for Competitive Advantage: What it Take to Attract, Retain and Engage Employees Today

Canada

Europe

Latin America

Managing the Workforce for Competitive Advantage: What it Take to Attract, Retain and Engage Employees Today

United States

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