Employee engagement study shows big differences between disabled employees, different sectors and age groups.

09 November 2014

New research into employee engagement in the workplace shows an increase in recent years, despite the recession.

The Workplace Employee Relations Study was carried out by IPA, on behalf of Acas and is the largest study of its kind in Britain.

This report – ‘MacLeod and Clarke’s Concept of Employee Engagement: An Analysis based on the Workplace Employment Relations Study’ - takes its statistics from the most recent Workplace Employee Relations Study and examined these against four enablers of engagement (strategic narrative, engaging managers, employee voice and integrity), which were set out in MacLeod and Clarke’s 2009 report ‘Engaging for success: Enhancing performance through employee engagement’.

The four enablers:
1. Strategic narrative – considers if employees understand and share the organisation’s values.

2. Engaging managers –looks at the relationship between managers and employees.

3. Employee voice – measures employee satisfaction with their involvement and influence on decision making and their manager’s attitudes towards this.

4. Integrity – Looks at whether or not the organisation lives by its own values and if managers can be relied upon to keep their promises and deal with employees honestly.

Note: The latest statistics were collated in 2011 and the previous study was in 2004.

The report found:

  • Since the last study, employee’s perceptions of all four enablers of engagement had improved overall;
  • 10% more employees said that they shared their organisation’s values;
  • The relationship between employees and their managers improved marginally by 3% over the period;
  • Although there was slight improvement in employee voice, the statistics remain worryingly low - just one in three employees said that their managers are good at allowing them to influence decision making;
  • Employees perceptions on their managers and organisations integrity improved slightly, 2% overall. However, there were marked differences between the public and private sectors – perceptions of integrity from those in the public sector was 9% lower than private sector employees.  This may have been driven by the greater impact that the recession had on the public sector in this period;
  • Employee engagement was linked to organisational success;
  • There were gaps in engagement levels:
    • Men were less engaged than women,
    • Middle-aged employees were not as engaged as either older or younger employees,
    • Disabled employees were much less engaged than other employees;
    • There were large differences in engagement levels across sectors - engagement was especially low in the utilities sector, public administration and manual work. Higher levels of engagement were found in the private sector, service sector and in professional roles.
    • Employees in large organisations are less engaged than those in smaller workplaces.

Nita Clarke OBE, Director of the IPA and co-chair of the Engage for Success taskforce commented, “It’s increasingly clear that employee engagement is vital for organisational success. Employers need to see engaging with their staff as a top priority and they must make sure they give their employees a voice”.

To view the research, click here.


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