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[IWS] Towers Watson: EMPLOYEE RETENTION REMAINS A KEY CHALLENGE IN MALAYSIA [9 January 2015]

IWS Documented News Service

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Institute for Workplace Studies-----------------Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor--------------------Stuart Basefsky

New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

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This service is supported, in part, by donations. Please consider making a donation by following the instructions at http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/iws/news-bureau/support.html

 

Towers Watson

 

Press Release 9 January 2015

Employee Retention Remains A Key Challenge in Malaysia

Claim supervisors face challenges in making time to perform their most important task

http://www.towerswatson.com/en/Press/2015/01/Employee-Retention-Remains-A-Key-Challenge-in-Malaysia

 

 

·         Overall, the percentage of employees in Malaysia who are highly engaged continues to be very low at 40%, consistent with the global average, despite increasing from 36% in 2012.

·         Retention continues to be a key concern for employers in Malaysia. More employees are saying they are likely to leave their organisation within two years; now 36% versus 29% in 2012.

·         The top three engagement drivers are all new for 2014 – specifically, empowerment, goals and objectives, and workload and worklife. Image and supervisor are now ranked fourth and fifth as engagement drivers, replacing pay and benefits (fourth and fifth) from 2012, respectively.

·         The top three drivers of attraction and retention for Malaysia have remained the same since 2012. Namely, base pay/salary, job security, and learning and development for attraction; and base pay/salary, career advancement opportunities, and relationship with supervisor/manager for retention.

 

Kuala Lumpur, December 4, 2014 – As Malaysia struggles to address the war on talent, employee retention remains a key challenge as a result of a lack of sustained employee engagement, according to the biennial studies - 2014 Global Workforce Study (GWS 2014) and 2014 Talent Management & Rewards Study (TM&R 2014) by global professional services firm, Towers Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ: TW).

Overall, the percentage of employees in Malaysia who are highly engaged is still very low at 40%, consistent with the global average, despite increasing from 36% in 2012. Retention scores have also declined. More employees are saying they are likely to leave the organisation within two years; now 36% versus 29% in 2012. Additionally, 31% of highly engaged employees are reporting they are likely to leave their organisation within two years, also an increase from 30% in 2012.

The GWS 2014 surveyed over 32,000 employees globally, and the TM&R 2014 surveyed approximately 1,637 organisations globally, where Towers Watson explored employee and employer perspectives on issues shaping the employment deal. The employee-focused study offers organisations and their leadership teams important insights into elements of the work environment that help shape employee behaviour and performance in positive ways to support business growth goals. It seeks to understand what keeps employees in Malaysia engaged in their work places, and the issues they face, including what attracts them to join an organisation and why they leave.

The GWS 2014 is designed to shed light on how employees’ views affect their behaviour and performance on the job and, ultimately, their level of engagement in their work and commitment to their employers. The TM&R 2014 survey offers additional important insights on the same areas from the employers’ perspective and offers insights on employee reward programs and talent management best practices of organisations globally.

ADDRESSING RETENTION CHALLENGES

Dr. Joyce K. Noser, Tower Watson’s Practice Leader, Organisational Surveys & Insights in Malaysia said, “The findings suggest employees in Malaysia are becoming more demanding in regards to what it takes to keep them truly engaged and committed to their organisation. In other words, the employment landscape in Malaysia is very competitive and therefore the ability to retain top talent will continue to be a challenging reality.”

“To address the increased retention challenges and improve employee engagement levels, employers can start by creating a more consumer-like experience for employees and align the employment deal with company strategic priorities, given the strong relationship that exists between high levels of sustainable engagement and company financial results,” said Dr. Noser.

According to Dr. Noser, to develop a superior employment deal, organisations need to focus on the key engagement drivers and identify the strategies that will take the organisation’s performance to the next level.

Based on GWS 2014, the top three engagement drivers are all new for 2014 in Malaysia – specifically, empowerment, goals and objectives, and workload and worklife. Image and supervisor are now ranked fourth and fifth as engagement drivers, replacing pay and benefits (fourth and fifth) from 2012, respectively.

Regarding empowerment, employees want to feel their organisation seeks and acts on employees’ suggestions, and that management involves employees in decisions that affect them. It is also important that employees feel connected to the organisation’s goals; not only understand them but also be aware of how their own job contributes to their organisation’s success.

COMPANIES CONTINUE TO MISS THE MARK

The top three drivers of attraction and retention for Malaysia have remained the same since 2012. Namely, base pay/salary, job security, and learning and development for attraction; and base pay/salary, career advancement opportunities, and relationship with supervisor/manager for retention. The GWS 2014 shows that while the focus is very much still on monetary rewards, clear sense of career progression and learning opportunities, communicating with employees on the value of their ‘total rewards’ package (employment deal) is critical in attracting, retaining and sustaining employee engagement on a long term basis. However only about half of employees agree their organisation have a formal employment deal and less than half believe their companies live up to it.

Mary Chua, Director of Talent & Rewards in Towers Watson Malaysia said “In a talent scarce market, companies not only need a well-defined employment proposition, it also needs to set itself apart from its talent competitors and define a compelling value proposition to connect clearly to its target talent segments. Our research shows that increasingly, employees feel it is the employer’s responsibility to know their needs and meet them. But worryingly, more than half feel companies fail to live up to the employment promise.”

Companies could also do better in the area of career management. “Given how important career advancement opportunities are to employees, the fact that so many employees, including those who are highly engaged, feel they actually have to leave their current company to advance, should be a wake-up call to employers to review their career management programmes.” Mary Chua added.

Additionally, our studies have shown that the role of the manager in improving and sustaining engagement cannot be overstated. Employees are more likely to remain at their companies if they have trust and confidence in their managers and leaders. According to Mary Chua, “Only half of the employees agree their manager does what he/she says, helps remove obstacles at work, and communicates expectations clearly. Clearly, there is a huge opportunity for companies to improve manager’s effectiveness.”

“The creation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 will see some disruption in the talent landscape with free flow of labour. As companies gear up for the AEC, it is ever more critical that firms have a defensive strategy to hold on to the talent they cannot afford to lose.” said Mary Chua.

 

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