Almost one in five workers feel ‘largely disinterested’ at work
A staggering 85% of South African workers believe their companies could do significantly more to engage their employees to increase motivation and performance, according to the first survey into the state of workplace engagement focusing on mid to large businesses.
Johannesburg-based communications and technology company, PDT, conducted the survey of more than 1000 respondents at a time when there is particular strain due to strikes and labour unrest. This has serious implications for business, workers, productivity and the economy.
“Employee engagement should not be confused with the social state of staff or how happy people are to sit through an 8 to 5 working day,” says Cornel van Lingen, CEO of the PDT Group. “An engaged employee is one that positively and proactively influences business operations. They are innovative, problem solvers and, as research worldwide shows, they contribute significantly to productivity and the profitability of their companies. The labour unrest we are seeing reflects that South African business has much to get right in this area.”
Internationally, the root cause of disconnect between employers and employees has been identified as poor employee engagement. Gallup estimates that unengaged, unproductive employees in the UK costs their economy $64.8 billion a year, with only 33% of workers actively engaged by their employers.
“Our survey reveals a similar pattern that we have tracked in international research,” says van Lingen. “Of the more than one thousand survey participants, almost one in five felt ‘largely disinterested’ at work, almost 70% felt their managers could provide stronger guidance and communicate better with their teams. 60% noted that their companies struggled to implement change and gain buy-in from employees. 62% lamented the lack of regular feedback on company performance against goals. This points to perceived leadership failings and an alarming lack of communication in South African businesses. This is having serious economic impact.”
“High levels of engagement directly influence productivity, staff turnover, company efficiency and other key factors,” says van Lingen. “This 2014 State of Employee Engagement Survey highlights the urgent need for local businesses to take a significantly closer look at ways in which they can improve and enjoy the benefits of successful employee engagement.”
The full results of PDT’s survey into the State of Employee Engagement in South Africa are now available for download.
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