Top Stories


    Dec 06, 2013

    3 in 4 don't feel engaged at work

    THREE in four workers here feel unmotivated and are "sleepwalking" through their workday, according to a survey conducted by Gallup.

    And what is more startling in the survey findings is that one in seven are so unhappy that they are "more or less out to damage their company" through acts like malingering or even stealing.

    "Close to two million people (in Singapore) are just showing up at work every day, doing what they need to do, but not feeling emotionally invested in their companies," said Gallup's Singapore and Southeast Asia Manager, Mr Leong Chee Tung, who presented the findings at a talk yesterday.

    In contrast, only less than one in 10 workers here are "engaged" at work, that is, they feel passionate about their company and are committed to their work.

    In the poll of some 600 Singapore workers conducted last year, respondents were asked a series of questions. These include whether their bosses had praised them for doing good work or talked to them about their career progression.

    The Singapore survey was part of a global study of 142 countries.

    The ratio of "disengaged workers" here - 76 per cent - was one of the highest in the world. Singapore fared worse than countries such as the United States (52 per cent) and Britain (57 per cent).

    Similarly, the ratio of "engaged workers" here - 9 per cent - also paled in comparison to the global average of 13 per cent.

    Mr Leong said the findings should be a cause for concern for employers as disengaged employees affect company productivity and performance.

    This being so, they should take concrete steps to engage their staff, he added. Among the things that firms can do is to hire or assign managers who can motivate workers to perform better, Gallup said in its report.

    The findings came as a surprise to human-resource consultants.

    "I believe that the majority of employees in Singapore are aligned with their companies, thereby driving our GDP growth. Our growth cannot be premised on a weak workforce," said Mr David Leong, managing director of recruitment firm PeopleWorldwide Consulting.

    Given the tight labour market here, he added it is unlikely that firms would risk losing their workers by not engaging them.

    Mr Kurt Wee, the newly appointed president of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, said bosses must take the initiative in the engagement process. "Workers look to their bosses for leadership and bosses must show by example that they value their workers."

    The Gallup findings struck a chord with former security guard Vincent Pereira.

    The 40-year-old had worked for two security firms in the last nine months and resigned from both because he felt he had been mistreated.

    "The firms did not care about our health, delayed paying salaries and treated us like dirt," said Mr Pereira. "Who would want to work for companies like that?"