We were immediately taken aback when we took a look at how the U.S.’s workforce engagement statistics differed from international numbers. 32% of U.S. employees are engaged at work. This number lowers drastically to 13% worldwide. source
Advances in technology and differing cultural values may be to blame
Why is employee engagement so low internationally? There are many factors that are contributing to these numbers. Some of the most apparent answers could be the advances in technology that are threatening job security or different cultures that instill particular values that are being challenged in today’s changing work landscape.
Engagement’s key indicator
The key indicator of engagement also differs internationally. In the U.S., an employee is more likely to be engaged if they are onboard with the company’s mission. In the U.K. and India, employees are more likely to be engaged when they share the same values as their coworkers. In France, Canada, Brazil, and Argentina, employees are engaged when they believe their teammates have their back. source
Perception is reality for workers in particular regions
The perception of job creation is closely linked to an increase in employee engagement internationally. When companies are hiring in regions like Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa, employee engagement levels rise in these areas. source
Ways to improve employee engagement internationally
First, understand what drives engagement in your country and other countries your company has employees in. Also take note of the differences in engagement indicators in countries your employees came from or grew up in. This will help you cater your engagement strategies to particular regions. If you take into account the different factors that drive engagement in different countries and then combine them into one strategy, you run the risk of engaging one country and not the other, or not engaging anyone.
If you happen to be in a country in which worker engagement rises when workers see that companies are hiring, then you will want to make announcements and draw attention to the fact that your company is hiring.
If your company has employees in a country where engagement is driven by everyone believing in and working towards the company’s mission, then you will want to make the progress your company makes over time to achieving that mission clear to employees.
Management styles will need to shift as Millennials enter the workforce. Gallup suggests that “organizations should change from having command-and-control managers to high-performance coaches” in an effort to increase employee engagement and productivity. This is because Millennial workers in particular prefer to discuss their performance on an ongoing basis instead of once per year so that they can make small improvements over time. source
Lastly, make sure your employees across country lines are able to openly communicate with each other and are aware of cultural differences and how your company is catering to them in an effort to attract and retain employees.
We’re all in this together! Let’s work on making work more engaging across the world.
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