Employee Engagement Drivers Revealed in Qualtrics’ Study


A sense of belonging and a sense of pride in the company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives soared straight to the top as key employee engagement drivers, according to Qualtrics’ survey.

The Qualtrics’ 2021 Employee Experience Trends Report surveyed more than 11,800 employees globally to examine the changes in employee experience and discover employee engagement drivers in the workplace amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualtrics’ research has revealed 73{aa282f308afcc222aaa21b0478c79e01a8fedd01972e2180867097bd93930f22} majority of employees feel a sense of belonging at their organization.

Supporting data has indicated a leap in employee engagement from 53{aa282f308afcc222aaa21b0478c79e01a8fedd01972e2180867097bd93930f22} in November 2019 to 66{aa282f308afcc222aaa21b0478c79e01a8fedd01972e2180867097bd93930f22} in November 2020.

It has also been reported that companies helping employees integrate a remote and hybrid working set-up played a crucial role in preserving their top talent. Other factors driving employee engagement are action on feedback and employee well-being initiatives.

Amid the continuing challenges in workforces imposed by the COVID-19 situation, the recently published Qualtrics’ study has determined that effective change management is essential to ensure that employees have a rewarding experience these days.

Lindsay Johnson, XM Scientist, Qualtrics, believes managers now take part in an even more important role to support their team members in overcoming challenges and adapting quickly to new environments. She maintains that:

“As the champion for their employees, managers help people understand the connection from their work to the company’s strategy, build connections to others in the organization, and recent data also suggests impacts directly on employee belonging.”

Qualtrics’ Survey: Significant Findings in Asia

Overall levels of employee engagement in Singapore rose from 47{aa282f308afcc222aaa21b0478c79e01a8fedd01972e2180867097bd93930f22} in 2019 to 56{aa282f308afcc222aaa21b0478c79e01a8fedd01972e2180867097bd93930f22} in 2020 despite the difficulties faced by governments and businesses last year. However, Singaporeans are still among the least engaged employees in the world, given that the global average also increased to 66{aa282f308afcc222aaa21b0478c79e01a8fedd01972e2180867097bd93930f22} in 2020.

Well-being, which is one of the major influencers to overall employee experience, is anticipated to be a key trend for businesses in 2021. Employees in Singapore are four times more likely to rate their well-being positively—if their sense of belonging is also fulfilled—than those who feel like they do not belong in the company (75{aa282f308afcc222aaa21b0478c79e01a8fedd01972e2180867097bd93930f22} vs. 18{aa282f308afcc222aaa21b0478c79e01a8fedd01972e2180867097bd93930f22}).

Meanwhile, results showed that engagement of employees in Hong Kong actually plunged to 57{aa282f308afcc222aaa21b0478c79e01a8fedd01972e2180867097bd93930f22} in 2020, down from 63{aa282f308afcc222aaa21b0478c79e01a8fedd01972e2180867097bd93930f22} in 2019. It has also been determined that the majority of Hong Kong employees (90{aa282f308afcc222aaa21b0478c79e01a8fedd01972e2180867097bd93930f22}) believe it is imperative their company listens to feedback – up 24{aa282f308afcc222aaa21b0478c79e01a8fedd01972e2180867097bd93930f22} from 12 months previously.

Lauren Huntington, EX Solutions Strategy, Qualtrics Southeast Asia, sheds light on the current workplace landscape in Hong Kong. She says:

“Listening, understanding, and acting on employee feedback is now critical in Hong Kong. By capturing responses from their teams across the entire employee lifecycle and in key moments that matter, businesses are able to design and improve experiences,”

Huntington adds:

“The business impact of listening and acting on feedback is huge. When organizations do take action, scores increase across employee engagement (92{aa282f308afcc222aaa21b0478c79e01a8fedd01972e2180867097bd93930f22}), wellbeing (93{aa282f308afcc222aaa21b0478c79e01a8fedd01972e2180867097bd93930f22}) and intent to stay (94{aa282f308afcc222aaa21b0478c79e01a8fedd01972e2180867097bd93930f22}).”

Employee Engagement Drivers in the Workplace

Organizations of all sizes today have learned to prioritize optimizing employee engagement and experience. The study conducted by Qualtrics, a company widely known for its culture and vision for experience management, aims to help businesses identify the key actions they can take in 2021 and significantly improve employee engagement from here on.

Findings from the report also reinforce the duty of people managers, team leaders, and HR professionals in building up the potentials of employees in terms of ways of working and collaboration. 

Huntington describes the massive shift in employee engagement drivers as unsurprising, given that the entire workforce faced unforeseen challenges during the pandemic. She notes that:

“As businesses and governments look forward to 2021 we expect to see these engagement drivers change once again as restrictions continue to change. To ensure teams are provided with the support and services they need in fast changing situations it is critical leaders are able to understand how emerging trends are reshaping the workplace, and what they can do to design and improve employee experience.”

Leading in an age of continuous transformation, Qualtrics will continue to conduct surveys like this to gather relevant data for businesses to significantly improve employee experience and drive individual performance.

An Asia Pacific-centered interactive session will be held by Qualtrics, joined by the Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP), to draw upon insights and feedback from Qualtrics’ 2021 Employee Experience Trends Report on February 24, 2021.

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