The secret of EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT and how it translates across cultures…

With engagement levels in the UK generally reported at around 30% it’s clear that there is significant room for improvement. A key barrier is people. People create the culture where engagement can flourish and managers directly influence engagement by the way they treat their employees. While there is no magic recipe for success, there is one key ingredient for engagement: TRUST.

Looking at our 2014 data, there’s a massive gap of 45 percentage points in the levels of trust between the top and bottom performing organisations.

Tom O’Byrne, Chief Executive, Great Place to Work® UK

It’s often said that people join an organisation but leave a manager. One key ingredient for managing people effectively is trust. Trust builds and sustains the positive relationships between manager and employees (and between employees), and drives engagement. And engagement drives individual, team and business performance.

So what creates trust and engagement according to the employees:(Great Place to Work data)

1 Keeping promises or commitments
2 Actions matching words
3 Assigning and co-ordinating people well
4 Involving people in decisions that affect them
5 Genuinely seeking out and responding to suggestions and ideas
6 Showing sincere interest in employees as people
7 Showing appreciation for good work and extra effort
8 Hiring people who fit in well
9 Being competent at running the business
10 Having a clear view of where the business is going, and how to get there

Do you think employees in different countries appreciate the same values?

The company that conducted the survey, the Marcus Buckingham Company, says that the element that explained the difference in engagement across countries was whether an employee thought their personal strengths could be used at work.

That said, certain patterns were visible on the level of individual countries. In the U.S., the survey found that a key indicator of engagement was whether employees were onboard with the mission of the company. In the U.K. and India, it was about whether employees valued being around coworkers who shared their values. In France, Canada, Brazil, and Argentina, workers responded most strongly to the statement “My team mates have my back.”

There seem to be a clear divide between collectivist and individualist cultures in terms of what is needed to be engaged at work. Or does it depend on corporate culture? Most of these companies are multinational with offices all over the world.

Understanding your corporate culture and your employees is not a favour, it is your strategic advantage to stay ahead of your competition! Why?

Employee Engagement Task Force found that the top 25% most engaged companies enjoy the benefits of:

  • 18% higher productivity
  • 250% revenue growth
  • 12% greater customer advocacy
  • 50% fewer sick days
  • 87% less likely to leave organisation

…compared with the lowest 25% (Research highlights from Employee Engagement – The Evidence, Rayton, Dodge and D’Analeze, November 2012)

This is where Cultural Intelligence is crucial…understanding how cultural background and personality types influence behaviour, priorities and motivation is the basis of creating a productive, happy and profitable company.

Csaba Toth
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Csaba Toth

Founder at ICQ Global
Author of Uncommon Sense in Unusual Times, developer of the multi award-winning Global DISC model
Csaba Toth
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