Magazine article Workforce Management

World-Lagging Morale in the U.S

Magazine article Workforce Management

World-Lagging Morale in the U.S

Article excerpt

5 Questions LAURA SEJEN, global practice leader for rewards, Towers Watson

Employee engagement appears to be higher in the wake of the financial crisis in many regions of the world-bul not in the Unit od States. A new survey of 459 HR executives by consulting firm Towers Watson finds the U.S. was the only place where more companies reported a drop in engagement rather than a rise. Workforce Management senior writer Ed Frauenheim recently spoke with Towers Watson consultant Laura Sejen about the report.

Workforce Management: The United States was the only place showing a dip in engagement. Why?

Laura Sajen: My personal opinion is that the recession in some ways hit us first, hit us faster, hit us harder, hit us deeper. Certainly as compared to Asia-Pac, we're slower to emerge from the recession. It manifested itself in U.S. companies, on average, taking more and a broader array of cost-cutting actions.

WM; Could the dip have to do with a weaker safety net in the United States?

Sajen: There's probably something to that. And outside the U.S., either because of regulatory reasons or cultural traditions, they're less likely to do across-the-board or even selected layoffs. Layoffs, arguably, are pretty high profile and can have a fairly direct negative impact on the level of employee engagement.

WM: How should U.S. businesses respond?

Sejen: If nothing else, it raises the bar for U.S. employers in terms of needing to really think about engagement. They should be asking, "What are some fairly specific things we should be doing? …

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