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The State Of Employee Engagement In Malaysia

What really moves the needle is whether employees feel the company turns their feedback into tangible actions

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash
  • Employee engagement in Malaysia is above (54%) the global average (53%)
  • Acting on feedback rapidly increases employee engagement (79%)
  • Three in ten (30%) of Malaysian workers will change jobs in the next two years

New research has been released by Qualtrics, the creator of the experience management category, revealed the extent at which businesses in Malaysia can boost employee engagement by acting on employee feedback.

The Qualtrics study, 2020 Employee Experience Trends: Malaysia, found the average employee engagement score across Malaysia is 54%. This is above the global average of 53%, with India (79%), Thailand (72%) and Hong Kong (63%) returning the highest scores.

Employee engagement rises significantly to 79% when employee feedback is well-received and acted on. It falls to 47% when feedback is not acted on.

The frequency at which feedback is collected and acted on also impacts employee engagement. Qualtrics found employee engagement is 62% when feedback is collected and acted on at least quarterly. When the frequency is 1-2 times a year, engagement drops to 55%

“Our study shows that asking for employee feedback and the frequency with which organisations ask have a direct impact on employee engagement scores. However, what really moves the needle is whether employees feel the company turns their feedback into tangible actions,” said Stephen Choo, EX Senior Solutions Strategist APJ, Qualtrics.

Research from Qualtrics partner Korn Ferry shows highly engaged employees are more likely to exceed performance expectations, and their employers benefit from 2.5 times more revenue growth and 40% less churn. 

“The positive impact of high employee engagement cannot be overlooked. Modern employee experience programmes make it easier and faster than ever for businesses to consistently listen and act on employee feedback, ensuring decisions are always made with people in front of mind,” added Choo.

The drivers of great employee experience in Malaysia

Two-thirds (67%) of workers in Malaysia believe that it is very important that employers listen to their feedback. Businesses providing a feedback programme achieve an engagement score of 58%, as compared to 42% for those who do not. 

Among the top drivers of employee engagement in Malaysia are recognition for good work, a clear link between the work and the company’s strategic objectives, opportunities for learning and development, managers who help employees with career development and confidence in senior leadership to make the right decisions.

“This latest Qualtrics study outlines key focus areas for businesses to improve their employee experience, and the actions required to provide every employee with a voice, especially during times of transformation. It’s critical for businesses to regularly ask for feedback, listen, and most importantly act on it,” added Choo.

Increasing employee tenure

When it comes to changing employers, 16% of workers in Malaysia intend to stay with their current employer for less than a year. The number of employees looking to change jobs almost doubles (30%) when the period is extended to two years.

This is lower than the global average, where 18% of workers who intend to remain with their current employer for less than a year. The regions with the highest attrition levels are Australia & New Zealand (23%) and the United Kingdom (23%). Other regions above the average include the USA (21%), Eastern Europe (21%), and Canada (19%). In contrast, Germany (13%), Japan (11%), and Thailand (6%) enjoy the lowest attrition risk.

Employee engagement tends to increase the longer an employee remains at the company in Malaysia, peaking around four years. However, engagement drivers change over time, reflecting the need to continually understand and act on important issues.

The key engagement driver for employees with less than two years tenure is training. Engagement for employees with 4+ years of tenure is mostly driven by a clear link between the work and the company’s strategic objectives.

“As Malaysia steers towards building a digital economy, it’s important for companies to create an agile workforce. Leaders and managers must invest in their employees’ career development, quickly resolve workplace issues and understand what matters most to teams at different stages of the employee lifecycle. This helps companies to retain exceptional talent and reduce employee churn, making it a win-win situation for everyone,” said Choo. 

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