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The State of Employee Engagement in Singapore: Why it Should Matter to You?


With rapid digitization and changing business models, over the years, employee engagement has gone beyond simple job satisfaction. It’s seen not just as a combination of commitment to the organisation and its values, but also a willingness to help colleagues.

Before we get into the details about the trends of employee engagement in Singapore, let’s understand the meaning. An engaged employee is one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so, takes positive action to further the organisation’s reputation and interests. Forbes.com defines employee engagement as the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals.

The bottom line is that engaged employees do better at their jobs. Mercer studied more than 40,000 employees in Singapore and found that 81% of employees are proud to work for their companies, 80% are willing to go the extra mile, 73% are satisfied with the companies they work for and 68% would recommend their companies as good places to work. Although some of these statistics are encouraging, the long-term trend is worrying.

According to a report published on February 3, 2020, employee engagement in Singapore lags behind the global average. It was found that nearly 20% of workers polled here intend to leave their jobs in less than a year.

What caused this sudden decline? And, if employee engagement is so crucial to an organisation’s success, why do so many organisations pursue it so ineffectively? A range of factors influences employee engagement and motivation. This includes leadership personality and values that contribute to the overall organisational culture. Most organisations implement engagement as a program that's ancillary to the actual business. But, by thinking about employee engagement as a planned business strategy and measuring business results, engagement becomes possible.

So, what can employers do to improve the employee experience?

1. Measure engagement using the right tools

One of the most important drivers of employee engagement is to make sure to collect data to understand where your team is at, understand what areas need to improve the most, and have a benchmark for future efforts. Using popular survey tools such as will help leaders create a more engaged workforce, simply by understanding their concerns better.

2. Provide proper training and coaching

Creating a culture that fosters continuous development and growth does more than help workers build the skills they need to do their jobs. It also helps in communicating that the organisation values its employees and believes in their potential. Take the case of Yum! Brands (parent company of Taco Bell, KFC, etc.). All corporate employees are given comprehensive mid-year development plans and 360-degree reviews to help them identify skills to improve on. That reinforces the organisation’s commitment to its workforce.

3. Get social

Engaged workers are, more often than not, emotionally invested in their jobs. They need to work, not just with nice people, but with co-workers who are equivalently engaged. In a global work culture where teamwork is emphasized more than ever before, healthy personal relationships are a key ingredient. For example, at Timberlane, woodworkers built something as simple as a beanbag toss game for employees to use during company parties – Interactive game play, one of the most basic yet effective ways to increase bonding.

4. Recognize proudly and loudly

Rewards & recognition are a very important and often trivialised or dismissed way to increase engagement. Effective recognition for an employee that follows best practices, like involving verbal or written acknowledgement from the employee's manager can work wonders. At Disney, for instance, employees are aware that customer experience is first priority, and they’re recognized for creating a magical atmosphere. That, in turn, helps them connect to their jobs.

5. Focus on feedback

You simply can’t have engagement without feedback. That means not just taking feedback from your team but also giving feedback for their work and contribution to the organisation. Constructive feedback gives employees the necessary idea to understand how their own role connects with the team and the organisation.

6. Embrace transparency

A transparent work environment fosters trust, which leads to a sense of belonging and stability. By discussing important company metrics at organization-wide meetings, answering questions and even something as simple as planning team lunches will ensure transparency and help the employees feel included in the organisation.

In conclusion, engaged employees are a key driver of success for your business. Commitment to these practices and keeping in mind the strategic objectives of the employee as well as goals of the business for the long haul will have a dramatic impact on your company and its employees.

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