Lessons from the most engaged

by Stephanie Zillman18 Jul 2012

The most engaged workers in Australia are perhaps not who one might expect. Yet the findings of a new report are in, and soldiers, accountants and insurance brokers all have one thing very much in common – they love their jobs.

The survey of more than 5,000 Australian employees by consultancy firm Right Management measured workers’ emotional and intellectual commitment to their job and to the success of their organisation. As a result, some key factors emerged which separated the wheat from the chaff. For example, as the industry with the highest engagement score, the secret for the armed forces lies in the sheer strength of leadership. For accountants and insurance brokers, their high engagement score is a result of varied work, client relationships, and simply, being kept busy. On the other side of the coin, HR professionals working in biotechnology, retail, agriculture, hunting, forestry, fishing industries have their work cut out – these sectors all retuned the lowest engagement scores.

Across the board, the survey revealed a more general theme in low engagement – the longer a person works for an organisation the less engaged they become. “The top reasons workers become disengaged is because they don’t feel there is a career for them in their organisation, and they don’t think their job is aligned with their strengths,” Bridget Beattie from Right Management said.

Notably, the report found that the older workers are the more likely they are to be engaged. “As you age, the data tends to suggest you work out how you want to be doing it or you make a change,”
Beattie said.

The study determined the top 10 drivers of engagement for Australian employees in 2012 – workers look to:

  1. Be committed to an organisation’s values.
  2. Feel confident in reaching long-term career goals with the organisation
  3. Customers think highly of products and services
  4. Be encouraged to take ownership of individual work.
  5. Believe current role is aligned with personal strengths
  6. Organisation allows for a reasonable work/life balance
  7. Work processes are generally well organised and efficient
  8. Sufficient incentive to perform highly
  9. Work in a safe and healthy environment
  10. Organisation actively promotes health and wellbeing

While the drivers of engagement will vary for each organisation, Australian employees want to feel rewarded for their work, clear about their career direction and proud of their employer. “Leaders and managers should be looking closely at these areas if they want to see ‘bang for buck’ in their efforts to boost engagement,” Beattie said.


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  • by Richard Frazer 18/07/2012 4:13:58 PM

    I was interested in the story on engagement however it appears inconsistent. The defence services have the highest engagement score on the basis of strong leadership but the checklist of top 10 indicators doesn't include leadership. Am I missing something?

  • by Helen 18/07/2012 4:38:22 PM

    OR work in a safe and healthy environment- not sure how that one works for the armed forces either???

  • by Sebastian Harvey 19/07/2012 11:25:27 AM

    Perhaps the leadership component is that to create engagement leaders need to support the organisation's values, provide career opportunities, provide workers with autonomy, etc. I guess you would need to read the full report to know what the leadership elements are. It would also be helpful to know what Right Management Consultants used as their definition of 'engagement'. It seems to have a different meaning every time I read it and the results need this context to be meaningful.

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