Achievers have recently announced the results of its inaugural Asia Pacific ‘Engagement and Recognition @ Work’ Report, unveiling key insights into the state of employee engagement and recognition in Singapore.

The study ran in April 2021 and surveyed 756 full-time managers and employees across different industries in Singapore to better understand their experiences and expectations around these metrics. The survey also examined the impact of the pandemic and remote working arrangements on these issues.

The findings identified a misalignment between how managers perceive their employees’ levels of engagement and recognition to be, and employees’ actual experiences in the workplace. In fact, leaders were found to consistently overstate how satisfied they think their employees are — whether in terms of onboarding processes, team meetings, or manager check-ins.

For instance, only 12 percent of employees surveyed strongly agree that they “feel engaged” in their overall work experience, compared to 19 percent of management who think their employees will strongly agree. In addition, only 9 percent of employees strongly agree that they “feel recognised” in their overall work experience, whereas 18 percent of management thinks their employees will strongly agree.

Fundamentally, this misalignment indicates that a gap exists between the ways employees and managers perceive and experience employee engagement and recognition, and that current initiatives to foster these aspects are ineffective. Managers who lack an accurate understanding of their employees’ expectations and needs risk alienating them, which may have serious business implications such as employee turnover, growth, and profitability.

“Addressing this disconnect is crucial, especially as employees continue to split their time between home and the office and lose out on the opportunity to have face-to-face connections,” said Matt Seadon, Managing Director, APAC, Achievers.

Indeed, according to the research, 42 percent of organisations reported lower engagement when employees work from home. This is a warning sign for organisations not to overlook employee engagement and recognition as a matter of strategic importance as they continue to manage the impact of a remote or hybrid workforce.

“What companies need to do is to spotlight any areas of improvement and refocus their workplace strategy in order to create a culture where employees can truly thrive. This could include implementing proper feedback mechanisms, improving information flow, or introducing managerial training and tools, so they can make better and more impactful business decisions moving forward,” Seadon added.

Dr Natalie Baumgartner, Chief Workforce Scientist, Achievers, said, “The report has revealed that managers in Singapore are not getting the full picture when it comes to workplace engagement and recognition. Such findings are not uncommon as leaders want to believe that they are doing a good job, but if they are lacking actual data to understand and identify these issues effectively, it could potentially lead to broader business implications, such as impacted productivity and retention. This is why we urge companies to work closely with their stakeholders and plug these gaps quickly.”


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