Employers have $55bn reasons to care

Australian employees are among the most engaged in the world, Gallup research released on press day has unveiled.

For every actively disengaged employee, 1.5 employees are motivated and productive, the study six months in the making has revealed.

However, the results are still far from good. Gallup estimated the annual cost of disengagement was AU$54.8bn.

State of the Global Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for Business Leaders Worldwide includes regional analyses of employee engagement data, country specific insights, a look at the impact of engagement on organisational and individual performance, and information about how companies can accelerate employee engagement.

Gallup CEO Jim Clifton said the report exposed “too many companies focus[ed] on fixing weaknesses, and this only breeds non-engagement or, worse, active disengagement”. He said “great managers” understood they needed to build on employee strengths, not correct employee weaknesses.

Globally the study revealed only 13% of employees were engaged, equating to trillions of dollars in lost productivity.

Gallup recommended a number of tips to further build engagement, including:

Aligning leadership direction – the leadership team needs to “minimise infighting and political game playing” and introduce a strengths based development approach to leadership;

Creating alignment between employees’ roles and the organisation’s overall mission– help individual employees feel their contributions connect to the wider company mission and organisational goals; and

Monitoring employees’ psychological safety – stress and depression play an active role in disengagement and reduced presenteeism. Fostering a culture of open communication and caring may help employees mental health.

The report said now, more than ever, “companies around the world will need to improve their ability to ensure that workers are in the right roles and are emotionally invested in their jobs”.

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