The Engagement Dance

Survey says Indian and Mexican workers are the most involved worldwide.

India ranks first among 22 countries in terms of employee engagement with an overall favorable rating of 25%, while Mexico scored second with 19%, according to a study conducted by consulting firm Mercer LLC. The study polled 12,500 employees worldwide. The United States ranked in the middle with a 1% rating, while Japan ranked last at -23%.

Cultural disparities are major contributors to the different responses, according to a study analysis. "Even when workplace characteristics are shared, such as English as a first language, differences in national culture, the state of economic development and market conditions can have a significant influence on employee expectations and perceptions of the workplace and, subsequently, on employee engagement," says Patrick Gilbert, a principal and employee research expert at Mercer.

For instance, in the United States workers demand more respect and expect more opportunities for career advancement while French workers place a premium on work/life balance. In India, where workers appear to be the most engaged, the type of work performed and promotion opportunities seem to be the biggest motivating factors. Four-fifths of Indian workers say they would recommend their organizations as "a good place to work."

Chinese employees, which posted the third-highest level of engagement, place a premium on benefits, but workers indicate this is an area where they're increasingly dissatisfied.

Mexican employees value structured and ongoing developmental activities that will prepare them for upward mobility. Workers tend to leave their jobs more frequently for greener pastures, with one in four employees seriously considering leaving their organization.

In an earlier study conducted by professional services firm Towers Perrin and reported on here in the December 2007 IndustryWeek ("The Mexican Connection"), Mexican workers were found to be the most engaged among 18 other global workforces.

Key Employee Engagement Drivers

Globally, respect ranks as the No. 1 factor contributing to employee engagement.

Global China France Germany India Japan U.K. U.S.
Respect 125 121 133 129 104 90 144 122
Type of Work 112 75 138 113 116 107 122 112
Work/Life Balance 112 98 133 106 97 119 119 111
Provide Good Service to Customers 108 108 110 108 103 79 122 107
Base Pay 108 113 110 105 103 140 117 114
People You Work With 107 96 105 131 98 107 120 104
Benefits 94 127 81 110 94 75 76 112
Long-Term Career Potential 92 91 89 77 108 94 88 92
Learning and Development 91 83 67 80 98 86 85 82
Flexible Working 87 85 77 92 80 88 83 88
Promotion Opportunities 85 92 79 83 113 92 68 80
Variable Pay/Bonus 80 111 77 65 86 123 56 75

Note: Scores near 100 are of middle importance, scores below 100 are less important, scores above 100 are more important.
Source: Mercer

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