UPfront: Call me loyal

The loyal employee might be rarer beast in today’s work world, but it seems New Zealand is home to more than its fair share.

That’s according to recent global survey of employee commitment which found New Zealand ranks well above the global average. Seems Kiwi workers are up there with their counterparts in The Netherlands and Israel in levels of commitment to the work they do (70 percent compared to global average of 57 percent) and to their companies (67 percent cf 51 percent).

The survey covered 19,840 full time employees in 33 countries (133 in New Zealand). Results were used to put employees into one of four groups (career-oriented, ambassadors, uncommitted, and company oriented) according to work enthusiasm and workplace loyalty. Ambassadors score highly for both traits; uncommitted score lowest.

Good news is that New Zealand boasts larger share of ambassadors – described as any company’s “greatest asset” – than the global average (55 percent cf 43 percent), and lower proportion of those who can’t drum up much enthusiasm either for work or company (21 percent cf 35 percent globally).

Australia also boasts high committed worker count but more of them (19 percent cf 12 percent in New Zealand) fall into the career-oriented category – those more likely to put personal aspirations ahead of company loyalty. Japan, once seen as bastion of corporate loyalty, now boasts one of the highest levels of uncommitted workers (58 percent).

Worldwide, loyalty increases higher up the pecking order – top managers boast much higher proportion of ambassadors (70 percent) than general staff (32 percent). It also increases with employee age and company size.

Business sectors attracting highest commitment include educational, health, social and information services. Looked at in work categories, it appears that ambassadors are thinner on the ground amongst the professional (41 percent) and information (38 percent) sectors. The professional sector also boasts the highest percentage of career-oriented employees.

A third of professionals are classed as “career-oriented” compared to the global average of 14 percent (12 percent in New Zealand) which means they are more than twice as likely to put their personal career progress ahead of company progress, says Jonathon Dodd, research and marketing manager at Research Solutions.

The research was carried out using The Conversion Model, originally developed to explain why people convert from one religion to another but now widely used in marketing as well as politics and employee studies.

Its use reflects general recognition that traditional job satisfaction is no longer enough to explain employee behaviour, says Dodd, and that “commitment is far greater predictor both of employee retention and employee productivity”.

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