Why Trust Beats Employee Engagement

Julie Musilek

Author

CATEGORIES

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What is employee engagement?

As with so many concepts in the people and culture space, there are many different definitions of engagement. We would summarize them to say that most people would define a highly engaged company as one where:

Employees feel aligned around and committed to an organization and its goals, and act with their colleagues to ensure success, beyond expectations – regardless of whether it is beyond their job role or self-interest. Their high level of engagement drives productivity and shareholder returns and reduces cost by retaining talent.

We don’t disagree with the idea that committed and loyal employees are a key building block of business success. What we do take issue with building a workplace where the focus is top-down and oriented solely on getting the most out of employees, whether it is good for them or not.

Creating engagement is not something a leader can directly influence. Most engagement models assess environmental factors, not actual drivers.  Managers can’t directly control whether someone gives extra, if they feel ‘time flies during their work day,’ or has a best friend at work.

Engagement is also very personal. What makes me happy at work may drive you absolutely nuts (think dogs at work) or simply miss the mark.

Going beyond engagement

At Great Place to Work™, we’ve spent the last 30 years researching the best workplaces around the world. We’ve captured the workplace experience of over 130 million employees to find out what produces both a high-performing and healthy workplace. The answer is trust, not engagement.

What is a high-trust workplace?

A high-trust workplace puts the employee experience, not profit, at the center. Company cultures where employees trust the people they work for, have pride in what they do, and enjoy the people they work with.

Employees at high-trust workplaces do happily give extra effort that drives growth, but in a sustainable way that goes far beyond engagement.

Great Place to Work-Certified organization’s employees score 25-50% higher on key factors like willingness to recruit talent, intention to stay a long time, and pride in their workplace than the average US workplace.  And Best Workplaces score even higher!

But above and beyond those standard measures of success, employees at high-trust organizations also say that they can be themselves at work, that they are treated fairly regardless of their age, race, gender, sexual orientation and other demographic factors, and that theirs is a psychologically and emotionally safe place to work.

They look forward to coming to work, feel that they make a difference at work, and that management cares about them as a person, not just as an employee.

Are they engaged?  Yes.  But even better, they are happy, healthy, and whole people who can contribute to growing a business for the long-term, since they won’t be burnt out, feel left out because of unfair treatment, or practicing “presenteeism” instead of fully participating.

Trust fuels performance

A trusting work environment leads to sustainable benefits for the organization.

Drives revenue: We’ve proven that the comparative cumulative stock market returns among the publicly-held Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® are nearly 3x greater than the market average.

Leads to innovation: The most innovative companies achieve 5.5x the median year-over-year growth compared to the least innovative companies. Learn more in our Innovation Insights series.

If you want to get a pulse on how much trust is at the center of your workplace, ask about Great Place to Work survey and Certification™.

Julie Musilek

Author

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces™ in Asia by surveying over 1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting over 4.7 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2021 or early 2022.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

For All™ Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 450,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

For All™ Methodology

Great Place to Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2022 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 130,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Categories:
These organizations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Small 10-99 Employees

For larger organizations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organizations to share with us their practices, policies, and programs to create a great workplace For All™ and evaluate the approach they take.

  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:
1.  The criteria we evaluate

  •  85% concerned with Trust and Maximizing Human Potential and
  • 15% concerned with everything else

2.  Where the data comes from

  • 100% Trust Index for organizations with less than 100 employees
  • 75% based on the Trust Index survey analytics and 25% based on responses to the Culture Audit for organizations with more than 100 employees.
For All™ Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 450,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Categories:
These organizations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Small 10-99 Employees

For larger organizations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organizations to share with us their practices, policies, and programs to create a great workplace For All™ and evaluate the approach they take.

  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees