A M A R A . A I

Employee engagement trends in Southeast Asia

Employee engagement is necessary to unlock employees’ true potential –it doesn’t take rocket science to understand that only upbeat employees are regular, diligent, and productive at work.

Today’s complex and dynamic workplace requires innovative technologies to enable HR to strike a chord with members of a very diverse workforce, which comprises employees spanning generations, gig workers, and remote workers. Everyone knows that without digital tools, HR is unable to connect regularly with each employee.While acceptable in the yester years (before 2010), this is not a viable option today because it is the shortest road to high attrition, decreasing revenue, fewer customers and a smaller market share.

Changing human traits and behaviours

According to Qualtrics’2020 report on employee engagement, the tends in Asia are positive, with 79% of Indian employees, 72% of Thai employees, and 63% of Hong Kong employees reportedly feeling engaged at the workplace. These countries are the three highest scorers globally,Malaysia was ranked seventh, while Singapore, scored below the global average of 53% and came in 11th.

Incidentally, employees want opportunities to upskill and alter their work and roles constantly. Mundane, transactional, and unchallenging work often prompts employees more than monetary benefits to look for new jobs. A culture of empathy and trust is also essential to retain millennial employees, who spend a considerable amount of time at the workplace—more than their predecessors.

According to a 2018 Aon study only 56% of the full-time millennial workforce in Singapore is engaged—a 2-point drop from last year.Additionally, the number of actively disengaged millennials increased by 2% from the previous year.

Thus, rapid digitalisation, changing business prototypes, and fearless and opinionated millennials require more from HR and that too at rocket speed. This humongous task requires a futuristic approach to employee engagement practice in Southeast Asia. The trends show that traditional annual feedback surveys majorly lack in capturing employee pulse and do not equip HR leaders and business managers to meet the changing needs of employees.

Digital continuous engagement: Introducing Amara

HR needs to scale up digital transformation with the help of digital tools such as an AI-enabled chatbot that uses ML and data sciences to gauge employee pulse and personalize experiences for all.

HireXP - a front runner in automating HR with robust technologies has the perfect chatbot—Amara, who has the potential to befriend employees on a regular basis, empathetically chat with them, scientifically analyse their responses and empower HR with powerful data on engagement to be used for targeted action.

Resolving employees’ issues

Qualtrics’ 2020 report on engagement trends in Southeast Asia emphasises prioritising employee feedback, which requires the agile handling of all employeerelated matters by HR. According to the report, employee engagement rises to 83% when employee feedback is well-received and acted on. And it falls by over half to 34% when feedback is not acted on. This also explains why countries such as Singapore has dipped in the engagement score.

With a chatbot such as an Amara, HR can assess which practices and policies are perceived to be unfavourable amongst the employees by running ‘Ad Hoc’ campaigns. With Ad Hoc campaigns, HR leaders are able to pinpoint problem areas—culture, leadership, career opportunities, performance management, work-life integration and reward and recognition- responsible for the disappointment of thousands of employees in less than 5 days. Amara highlights not only broad areas of concern but also the precise factors within each category.

For instance, an employee responding to Amara’s question “Which aspect of the company’s culture you are unhappy about?” says that, “Business decisions are always delayed as approvals take a very long time.” The HR team along with senior leadership can use this insight to start a conversation with employees and make necessary changes in due course.

Globally, all high performing organisations are leveraging technology to stay truly connected with their employees, as it is a well-known fact that employees’ performance is directly proportionate to theirlevel of happiness. Happy employees provide the robust foundation necessary for the success of a company in Southeast Asia.

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