Singaporean employees among least engaged, but highly resilient

Photo by Edward Jenner

Employee engagement rate in Singapore is the sixth lowest in the world, yet recorded some of the highest levels of workplace resilience, according to new data from a study commissioned by global HR and payroll leader ADP. 

The results feature in the Global Workplace Study 2020 by the ADP Research Institute, which surveyed over 26,000 workers in 25 countries to research the impact of COVID-19 on employee engagement and workplace resilience.

Among workers in Singapore, only 11% said they felt fully engaged at work in 2020, against a global average of 14%. 

Engagement levels in Singapore have been steadily declining, dropping by 9% between 2018 and 2020. The global average decline in engagement levels during this same time period was just 1%. 

However, when it comes to employee resilience, Singaporean workers are amongst the hardiest, ranking fourth in the world. Close to one in every five of them (19%) are deemed highly resilient, outperforming the global average of 15%.

Contrary to what researchers expected, a strong correlation was not recorded against the extent to which a country was significantly impacted by the pandemic versus the average workplace resilience of employees. 

However, researchers found that individuals who had a close personal experience with the virus, such as falling ill themselves or having a close family member or acquaintance receiving a positive diagnosis, were 3.8 times likely to rank “highly resilient.” 

“These findings reinforce the well-known notion that people can often emerge stronger after a setback or crisis,” said Yvonne Teo, ADP’s VP for in Asia Pacific. “It is heartening to know that Singapore has kept up high levels of workplace resilience.” 

Nevertheless, while Singaporean employees can withstand challenges, their low engagement signifies that they may not be positioned to maximise their potential at work. 

“The figures, for Singapore but also internationally, show there is still work to be done by employers to get employees more engaged and build workplace resilience,” said Teo. 

“To achieve this, employers need to work on improving their communication with employees and to strengthen the employer/employee relationship to build a bond of trust and mutual sense of appreciation,” she added.