HR should view research as a call-to-arms to demonstrate the value they add to the business


It’s colleagues, not senior leaders (or CEOs), that make the biggest difference to how engaged employees feel in their jobs, according to research published by Oracle.

Its poll, of more than 1,500 employees in large European businesses, found 30% of respondents said their peers made the greatest difference in terms of how engaged they felt at work – which was five times more than the CEO (6%) and nearly four times the senior leadership team (8%).

Only one group – line managers (at 36%) – had more impact than employee’s colleagues.

In a surprise finding though, just 3% of staff thought HR had any impact at all on engagement – a significant blow to the teams that manage and take charge of so-called ‘employee engagement programmes’.

Loïc Le Guisquet, president for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific regions said: “These findings should be of concern to HR teams as they indicate HR does not ‘own’ engagement in the eyes of employees.”

He added: “If this is the case, then what hope is there that HR can have a positive impact on the working environment and company culture? This study should act as a call-to-arms for HR teams to demonstrate the value they bring to their business and its employees in a way that is clear for all to see.”

Further findings reveal only around a third (35%) of European employees say they feel engaged most of the time.

However, employees do believe it is important for their organisations to get engagement right, citing increased productivity (56%), a reduced likelihood of them looking for work elsewhere (37%) and an increased ability to provide creative ideas (35%) as the main business benefits of them feeling engaged.

In the UK increased productivity was selected at the main business benefit of employee engagement, by 59% of respondents.