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Employee engagement is on the rise across Asia Pacific



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Good news for bosses in Asia Pacific – not only are more employees striving to work harder in their jobs, but there has also been an increase in the number of staff willing to stay in their companies and speak well about its culture and processes.

Combining the above factors together, a new report by Aon Hewitt has found that employee engagement levels in the region were higher in 2013 as compared to 2012.

Surveying 2.42 million employees across nearly 3,000 companies in the region, the report found nine out of 12 countries saw an increase in engagement levels in 2013, and the region’s overall employee engagement score increased by three percentage points to 61%, the same as the global engagement score.

Of the nine countries that showed improvements in engagement levels in 2013, Singapore saw the highest increase with a gain of seven percentage points (to 64% in 2013, from 57% in 2012), surpassing the 2013 Asia Pacific average of 61%.

“All of Singapore’s top engagement drivers of 2012 saw improvements in perception in 2013, resulting in some movement in the top drivers,” the report stated.

“While career opportunities, innovation and work tasks consistently remain as the top drivers of employee engagement, managing performance and communication became top drivers for the first time in 2013. Recognition, organisational reputation and innovation made significant gains in perception scores in 2013, while communication saw a decrease of 5%.”

Malaysia was also highlighted in the survey among countries with substantial increases in employee engagement levels (6%). The report credited the rise to the country’s new political stability, along with increased spending on people-related programs, for Malaysia’s positively impacted engagement levels.

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“We believe that increasing the retirement age has had a positive impact on overall engagement due to the significantly higher engagement levels among the Baby Boomers generation,” the report stated.

While Hong Kong’s overall engagement levels were on the rise, the report warned, however, that the percentage of highly engaged employees in Hong Kong was still far below the Asia Pacific average of 21%. Low levels of retention in the organisation and poor communication between employers and staff were cited as possible underlying reasons for the country’s under-performance.

“Engagement drivers differ substantially by country,” Gabriela Domicelj, regional engagement practice leader, Asia Pacific, at Aon Hewitt, said.

“Operating in this complex environment presents a challenge for leaders trying to drive high levels of employee engagement. Organisations that invest in understanding and managing the key drivers of employee engagement across their multiple constituencies will be able to drive performance in more efficient and effective ways.”

 Image: Shutterstock

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