More than half of Aussie employees are ‘de-motivated’

by Iain Hopkins11 Apr 2013

Every second employee in Australia and New Zealand works in a ‘de-energising’ organisational climate, according to research.

A recent report from Hay Group* paints a poor report card on the state of engagement between organisations, its managers and employees. The problem, it was found, is that direct managers continually fail to provide an environment that drives employees to succeed.

“Given the research found only 48% of employees find their work climate energising and engaging, one must conclude that the health of relations between employees and managers is cause for concern,” Wendy Montague from Hay Group said.

Low engagement levels have a significant impact not only the productivity of an organisation but the overall competitiveness of the ANZ region. Employee performance has been found to account for a differential in business results of up to 30%, so creating an energising work environment which encourages employees to put in that little bit extra can mean the difference between achieving an average or a high-performing organisation.

On the upside, the research highlighted some key strengths of Australian and New Zealand managers, and 73% of employees said they are given the autonomy they need to get on with their work, reflecting a degree of trust for employees to take initiative and use their own judgment. 

The research also revealed 62% of employees feel dedicated to their work and their company which is good news for organisations that have weathered the difficult economy over the past years.

It was found that the biggest gaps exist between the actual and the desired work environment; clarity; standards and rewards.

Clarity: The largest gap between the ‘actual’ and the ‘ideal’ when it comes to the employee’s view of the organisational climate is in the dimension of clarity. Clarity has two aspects for employees – the first is how well an individual understands how their role  relates to ‘the big picture’, the goals and direction of the company; and the second aspect is how well do they  know what is expected of them in the role. If someone is unclear about what is expected of them in their role, how can they deliver? Only by understanding what their role is and what is expected, can an employee actively drive and achieve the broader company purpose.

Standards: Managers can establish high standards of performance and work behaviours in their teams by involving team members in suggesting, setting, reviewing and amending individual and team goals. People perform at their best when they are encouraged to improve their performance and aim higher to reach challenging yet achievable goals. When an organisation and its leaders have a vision for improvement and bringing out the best in people, this provides the inspiration and drive for employees to turn vision into reality.

Rewards related to performance: It is critical for managers to give consistent, constructive feedback to individuals and the team in order to ensure that all team members know what high performance looks like. The recent research showed that providing feedback and coaching to employees wasn’t part of the behavioural repertoire of many ANZ leaders with many managers finding it difficult to address performance, either positive or negative, as well as providing developmental feedback to their staff. Managers need to start introducing reward engagement practices in to the workplace in order to motivate their employees to deliver stronger performances day in and day out.

The six dimensions of organisational climate

  1. Flexibility. There are no unnecessary rules, procedures, policies, or practices. New ideas are easily accepted.
  2. Responsibility. Employees are given authority to accomplish tasks without having to constantly check for approval.
  3. Standards. Challenging but attainable goals are set for the organisation and its employees
  4. Rewards. Employees are recognised and rewarded for good performance.
  5. Clarity. Everyone within the organisation knows what is expected of him or her.
  6. Team Commitment. People are proud to belong to the organisation.

*More than 3,100 managers from across Australia and New Zealand and 15,400 employees that report directly into these managers participated in the research.


  • by Dr Tim Baker 11/04/2013 4:55:47 PM

    Some interesting and revealing results here. However I question whether engagement can be linked to productivity. You can be engaged and not productive and similarly be disengaged and productive.

  • by Phil B 15/04/2013 10:11:16 AM

    Or both can be caused by a third factor - disengagement and low productivity arising from long hours, bullying or limited job and task control for example.

  • by Heidi Alexandra Pollard 16/04/2013 10:49:18 AM

    I'm with you on this Phil B - People join a company but leave their manager. What we need is more expander leaders who take the time to understand their employees unique strengths and then create an environment that allows them to use those strengths without restriction and punishmnt

Most Read