Surprise… Despite (or due to) being a technology hub in SE Asia, Singapore’s employee engagement level is dismal.

New research released today by Qualtrics has offered some insights on employee engagement in Singapore and around the region.

The study pegged the average employee engagement score across Singapore at 47%, behind the global average of 53%, with India (79%), Thailand (72%) and Hong Kong (63%) returning the highest scores.

When employee feedback is well-received and acted on, the score rises significantly to 83% or falls by over half to 34% when feedback is not acted on.

The frequency at which feedback is collected and acted on also impacts employee engagement. Qualtrics found employee engagement is 67% when feedback is collected and acted on at least every three months. When the frequency is only one to two times a year the engagement drops to 50%.

Said Stephen Choo, EX Senior Solutions Strategist APJ, Qualtrics: “Our study shows that asking for employee feedback and the frequency with which organisations ask, have a direct impact on employee engagement scores. However, what moves the needle is whether employees feel the company turns their feedback into tangible actions.”

Research from Qualtrics partner Korn Ferry shows that highly-engaged employees are more likely to exceed performance expectations, and their employers benefit from 2.5 times more revenue growth and 40% less churn.

“The positive impact of high employee engagement cannot be overlooked. Modern employee experience programs make it easier and faster than ever for businesses to consistently listen and act on employee feedback, ensuring decisions are always made with people in front of mind,” added Choo.

More on the employee experience in Singapore

Almost two-thirds (64%) of workers in Singapore believe it is very important that employers listen to their feedback. Businesses providing a feedback programme achieve an engagement score of 55%, compared to 33% for those that do not.  

Among the top drivers of employee engagement in Singapore are a clear link between the work and the company’s strategic objectives, confidence in senior leadership to make the right decisions, managers who help employees with career developmentopportunities for learning and development, and recognition for good work.

“This latest study outlines key focus areas for businesses to improve their employee experience, and the actions required to provide every employee with a voice, especially during times of transformation. It’s critical for businesses to regularly ask feedback, listen, and most importantly act on it,” said Choo.

Increasing employee tenure

When it comes to changing employers, 18% of workers in Singapore intend to stay with their current employer for less than a year. The number of employees looking to change jobs more than doubles (38%) when the period polled is two years.

This is in line with the global average, where 18% of workers intend to remain with their current employer for less than a year. The regions with the highest attrition levels are Australia & New Zealand (23%) and the United Kingdom (23%). In contrast, Germany (13%), Japan (11%), and Thailand (6%) enjoy the lowest attrition risk.

Employee engagement tends to increase the longer an employee remains at the company in Singapore, peaking around four years. However, engagement drivers change over time, reflecting the need to continually understand and act on important issues.

The key engagement driver for employees with less than two years of tenure is a link between work and the company’s objectives. Engagement for employees with 4+ years of tenure is mostly driven by confidence in senior leadership.

“With an increasingly demographically diverse workforce, there will be different expectations from employees across different age groups. Leaders and managers must invest in their employees’ career development, quickly resolve workplace issues and understand what matters most to teams at different stages of the employee lifecycle. This helps companies to retain exceptional talent and reduce employee churn, making it a win-win situation for everyone,” said Choo.