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State Of Global Engagement - Malaysia Edition

Recognition is the top engagement driver

Employee engagement reflects employees’ willingness to go beyond the status quo, emotional connection to the organization, intent to stay with the business, and dedication to the work itself. In this study, we measured several key drivers of employee engagement, such as opportunities for growth & development, manager effectiveness, support & resources, etc., to better understand what aspects of the employee experience impact engagement the most. Results show strong leadership, recognition, growth, development, and management effectiveness are the top drivers of engagement among employees around the world.

1 Ask for feedback often, listen, and take action


Results show that having a feedback program dramatically improves engagement. Employees want to provide feedback. But to boost engagement, organizations need to action. Asking for feedback boosts engagement. Those who said their company provides a feedback program is more engaged. Feedback matters:

  • 58% Engagement score of employees who said their company provides a feedback program.

  • 42% Engagement score of employees who said their company does not provide a feedback program.


The engagement score for those who feel their company turns feedback into action really well, regardless of the frequency, was 79% compared to 47% for those who feel their companies do not turn feedback into action “well at all” or even “slightly well”. Our study shows that while asking for employee feedback and the frequency with which organizations ask , have an impact on employee engagement scores, it is, however, a fact if the employee feels the company and turns feedback into action that really moves the needle.


Finding moments that matter “ We [as HR practitioners] tend to focus on the big moments — the pivotal things like promotions — we usually get those right, because we focus on them. Often it’s the ordinary moments that make the difference. My best example comes from when we audited our onboarding process. Our new hire orientation got great feedback. But, when people arrived at their new workspace after orientation, it was kind of lackluster. We’d hear things like, ‘I got back to my desk and everyone was at a meeting’. We were missing a chance to create a moment of celebration and make that ordinary situation significant. Now we make an effort to remind new employees – in that moment – of why they chose to come to Sephora in the first place.” Karalyn Smith, Chief People Officer at Sephora

2 Listen even more in times of change

"Change is inevitable. Feedback is how we adapt. Listening to our people directs the actions we take that make a difference in everyday experiences"

JULIE LARSON-GREEN Chief Experience Officer


It can be tempting to shy away from gathering feedback during times of change for fear of seeing ‘lower scores’. However, our study shows that this is the time to gather more feedback. And many companies are doing so.

For those who indicated “yes, we are experiencing large-scale change", 81% said that they have an opportunity to provide feedback. Compared to those who said “no, we are not experiencing a change", only 54% indicated having an opportunity to have a voice.

Asking for more feedback = higher engagement

Asking these groups for feedback more often pays off for engagement too. For those who said they are experiencing change and are also given the opportunity to provide feedback at least quarterly, their engagement is higher than those, who aren’t given a voice more frequently.

How engaged are employees when experiencing a change?

  • 67% Engagement when asked for feedback at least quarterly

  • 58% Engagement when asked for feedback less frequently (i.e. once to twice a year)

Times of change present more of an impetus to gather insight from employees to ensure they are prepared, understand the direction of the company and of the changes, and can actively participate.

3 Invest in management and career development

"For a change to stick, consistent practices of culture must be embedded into your people and process operations."

MARINA PEARCE, Ph.D. Talent Analytics, Ford Motor Company


Employee turnover is very costly for organizations and can directly impact business performance. But understanding and improving employees’ experiences in the workplace can help to reduce those costs. The study found that 16% of employees in Malaysia intend to stay at their company for less than a year while 30% intend to stay for less than 2 years. This means a company needs to replace almost a third of its workforce every two years - a significant cost to the business. Boosting engagement can reduce churn, and managers have a key role in driving improvements. Unsurprisingly, managers who invest in career development and resolve workplace issues significantly contribute to employee engagement. That’s why investing in great leaders and managers is key, alongside understanding what's important to your teams at different stages of the employee lifecycle.


Empower Managers to Drive Employee Experience. HR practitioners can do a lot to improve the employee experience (EX) in their organizations, but they can have even more impact when partnering with management. Managers are the “boots on the ground” of strategic HR initiatives. They’re the ones who can most visibly demonstrate that employee feedback was heard, valued, and acted upon.


The global study was conducted over a span of 18 days and included 13,551 respondents 18 years of age or older who were currently employed (84% FTE; 16% PTE). For this study, the response rate was 30.6% and the margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level for results based on the entire sample of employed adults.

Any thoughts on it? Let us know in the comments below and stay tuned for interesting facts from other countries.

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