Almost Half of South Korean Workers Are Disenchanted or Disengaged From Their Jobs
The findings from Towers Perrin’s just-released 2007-2008 study of the South Korean workforce, Turbocharging the Talent Pipeline: Total Rewards Strategies for Uncertain Times, show that flagging employee engagement is a key issue for employers in this country. Research results reflect feedback from over 88,000 employees in 18 countries worldwide.
The fundamental requirement for organizations seeking to thrive in South Korea's challenging business environment is motivated employees — their energy, ingenuity and engagement on the job. People represent a source of critical skills and knowledge, as well as sustainable competitive advantage.
In addition to the positive impact on financial performance, high levels of employee engagement promote workforce stability, a key objective among South Korean employers. That's why the high incidence of employee disengagement is so alarming:
- Barely 8% of South Korean workers consider themselves fully engaged, far below the global average of 21%.
- Of the 18 countries represented in our study, only Japan at 3% and Hong Kong at 5% recorded lower levels of employee engagement.
- 47% of Korean workers (almost one in two) have already "checked out" to some extent.
Senior Leaders Take Note
South Korean employers clearly are not harnessing the full power of their workforce or achieving the performance lift and solid financial results that high levels of employee engagement can deliver.
Keys to Workforce Engagement
- It's the organization itself, not intrinsic personal or work experience factors, that has the strongest positive impact on employee engagement.
- Employees are eager to invest more of themselves to help their employer succeed — if they see the personal ROI.
- There is no one-size-fits-all model for a high-performance culture. The "right" high-performance environment is built around attributes needed to support the company's business strategy, goals and competitive focus.
- Senior management needs to adopt a more inspirational and engaging style of leadership. Less than one in three workers gave senior management a favorable rating for communicating openly and honestly.
Bottom line: Engaged employees are made, not born. Smart companies are finding ways to develop and leverage this underutilized resource.