SOURCE: Kenexa

September 11, 2008 11:00 ET

The Kenexa Research Institute Reveals Exactly How Engaged Employees Are -- and What Exactly "Employee Engagement" Means

Four Critical Drivers of Employee Engagement Identified

WAYNE, PA--(Marketwire - September 11, 2008) - Research recently released by the Kenexa (NASDAQ: KNXA) Research Institute (KRI) provides insights on the current state of employee engagement around the world and offers organizations initial steps to raise employee engagement levels. In its annual WorkTrends™ Report, KRI found the average Employee Engagement Index (EEI) score is 57 percent across all surveyed countries. The EEI score for India, the top-ranked country, is almost twice that of Japan's, the lowest ranked country.

In general, EEI scores for North American employees are higher than EEI scores for European workers -- the Netherlands is the exception. Outside of India, other Asian and Middle Eastern countries score lower on the EEI. As economies strengthen in other low-ranking countries like Russia and China, EEI scores could increase in future surveys.

The Kenexa Employee Engagement Index is comprised of four key components -- pride, satisfaction, advocacy and retention. Employee engagement, therefore, is not strictly happiness, excitement or the willingness to work long hours. Engaged employees align with their organization's goals and are personally vested in the outcomes.

"Through analysis of the WorkTrends data, we've identified four primary and universal drivers of employee engagement. Employees are engaged by leaders who inspire confidence in the future; managers who respect and appreciate their employees; exciting work that employees know how to do; and employers who display a genuine responsibility to employees and communities," said Jack Wiley, executive director, Kenexa Research Institute.

Wiley continued, "Organizations can make changes to align with these critical drivers. Doing so makes good business sense because it not only improves employee engagement but also drives higher quality and customer satisfaction, revenue growth, and the company's profitability. Time and time again we see that an engaged workforce delivers superior business results."

According to the WorkTrends data, if employees are confident in their senior leaders and the future of their employer, their EEI scores are four to five times higher than those of employees who lack this confidence. Confidence levels correlate with fast-growing economies -- India, Mexico and Australia all have experienced recent economic growth and their employee engagement index scores are among the highest.

The WorkTrends data on managers' effectiveness also is enlightening: The EEI score of those employees who rate their manager as effective is 68 percent. This compares to the EEI score -- a measly 12 percent -- of those who rate their manager as ineffective. Clearly, the "manager as a conduit" notion plays an important role in building employee engagement.

The report also indicates that 57 percent of employees are excited about their work, and employees who work in a strong training and development culture are almost five times more likely to be satisfied with their organization. In addition, corporate responsibility plays a key role in employee engagement. Today's workers are evaluating their organization's mission and want to know that they are working for an organization that is committed to serving others. In particular, employees between 18 and 29 years old and those over 63 are the most likely to report that their employers' corporate responsibility efforts increase their overall satisfaction.

The 2008 WorkTrends Report analyzes data from KRI's WorkTrends database -- an online survey of workers from 14 countries. In addition to employee engagement, the WorkTrends survey, which contains 110 items, covers a wide range of employee topics from turnover intention to "green" initiatives. Additional questions ask about organizational activities, such as the incidence of layoffs or off-shoring.

For the 2008 report, another five countries were pilot tested in the Middle Eastern region for 2009 normative purposes, including Bahrain, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar. These countries' 2008 and 2009 data will be combined and released in 2009.

For information about purchasing the 2008 WorkTrends Report, "Engaging the Employee," visit www.kenexa.com.

About WorkTrends™

The Kenexa WorkTrends database is a comprehensive normative database of employee opinions on topics including leadership, employee engagement and customer orientation. Comparisons are available for workers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

About Kenexa

Kenexa (NASDAQ: KNXA) is a global leader in building the world's greatest workforces using a combination of software, employee research science and business process optimization. Kenexa's global solutions include applicant tracking, onboarding, recruitment process outsourcing, employment branding, skills and behavioral assessments, structured interviews, performance management, multi-rater feedback surveys, employee engagement surveys and HR Analytics. Kenexa is headquartered in Wayne, Pa. (outside Philadelphia). Additional information about Kenexa and its global products and services can be accessed at www.kenexa.com.