Employee loyalty down globally

Employee loyalty is falling globally, according to Mercer’s new What’s Working survey.

Of the nearly 30,000 employees in 17 geographic markets between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2011, the amount of workers considering leaving their jobs has increased since the last survey in each market, which takes place between 2003 and 2006, before the economic downturn. For most of these markets, the increases are represented by 10 percentage points or even more while in the United States, the increase amounts to 9 points, from 23 percent in 2005 to 32 percent in 2010.

“For U.S.-based multinationals, these findings are concerning, as lackluster engagement is no longer just a U.S. phenomenon,” says Mindy Fox, a senior partner at Mercer and the firm’s U.S. region leader. “Widespread apathy and high turnover can be detrimental to an organization’s business performance, especially in the difficult economic environment we’re experiencing as companies are looking to drive productivity and efficiencies.”

“The overall employment deal is in a state of flux around the world, with employees rethinking what they want out of the employment relationship,” says Pete Foley, Ph.D., principal at Mercer and North American Employee Research Leader. “Our research shows that, despite the ongoing economic uncertainty, more employees would consider leaving today for a better opportunity.”

According to the survey, there are shifting views regarding other work force issues that affect engagement, as well. Global views on pay and performance issues improved, but views on employee benefits declined. For each market, views were mixed on subjects such as career opportunity and leadership.

The survey also shows that nonfinancial factors largely impact employee motivation and engagement. This could be helpful to employers facing budget issues. Global respondents say being treated with respect is the main factor, which is followed by work-life balance, type of work, quality of co-workers and quality of leadership.

Although other financial factors, including both benefits and incentive pay, are typically crucial to other facets of the employment deal, the survey reveals that they are considered less important by employees when it comes to their everyday motivation and engagement at work.

“Employee engagement reflects the total work experience, and a big part of it is how you are treated, what kind of work you do and how you feel about your co-workers, bosses and the general work environment,” says Colleen O’Neill, Ph.D., senior partner at Mercer and the firm’s talent leader in the United States and Canada.

“Without a doubt, financial factors like pay and benefits are a vital part of the employment deal, especially in the U.S., but employers need to consider and manage the full range of factors to ensure that their work force is engaged,” O’Neill says. “When financial resources are limited, organizations can leverage these nonfinancial factors to effectively boost employee commitment and productivity.”


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