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    August 17

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BEC: Employee engagement – a Caribbean perspective

Barbados Employers’ Confederation,

Added 23 May 2015

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Last Wednesday the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation in conjunction with the Barbados Employers’ Confederation launched its eCommentary titled Caribbean Employment Compass.

The eCommentaries are meant to be focussed on a specific topic of Caribbean relevance and this first issue focusses on HR And The Bottom Line. The following article Employee Engagement: A Caribbean Perspective By The National Initiative For Service Excellence, can be found in the first edition of the Caribbean Employment Compass, which can be downloaded from the BEC’s website.

he issue of employment engagement is one which many organisations throughout the Caribbean have had an interest in throughout the years, but one for which no solid empirical evidence was available.

Seeing the need to provide Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean region with requisite data, the National Initiative for Service Excellence (NISE) Inc. embarked on its landmark 2011 NISE Employee Engagement INdex (NEEX) study which provided Barbados and the Caribbean region with its first empirical look at the level of engagement in Barbados and how it compares to other jurisdictions such as those in North America and Europe.

When looking at the issue of employee engagement, it is more than just about workers being satisfied or motivated. Engaged employees have a sense of personal attachment to their work and organisation which means they want to give their best to help it succeed. Engaged employees also tend to speak positively about their organisation and have an active desire to stay.

Taking a look at the results for our 2011 NEEX study, our findings revealed that only three out of ten Barbadian employees, or 32 per cent of Barbados’ workforce, were truly engaged at work, with the results showing there was little difference between employee engagement within the private sector (31 per cent) and public sector (33 per cent).

These results compared favourably with the level of engagement at organisations in the United States of America (USA) at 29 per cent, but the rate of non-committed employees in Barbados was much higher. In what can also be seen as an additional benchmark, according to statistics from Gallup research for quarter three of 2010, world-class organisations had 67 per cent of employees engaged while only seven per cent were non-committed. Statistics such as those for world-class organisations are what organistions in the Caribbean should be striving for.

Not resting on our laurels and always staying at the forefront of creating national awareness on customer service excellence and innovation, in 2014, NISE introduced the NISE Innovation Index (NIX), which will in the first instance, seek to identify to what degree Barbadian organisations possess the required skills to drive an innovation based economy. The inaugural NIX index was concurrently launched with the 2014 edition of the NEEX with results for both studies to be published by quarter two of 2015.

To ensure as high a participation rate as possible, both the NEEX and NIX indices are administered in a number of ways including online at www.nisesurveys.org, islandwide at public survey stations and through in-house visits to public and private sector organisations. The introduction of these assessment tools forms part of NISE’s strategic and visonary direction to continually improve service delivery and competitiveness in Barbados and to remain at the forefront of innovation through process and programmes.

We understand the importance of business leaders having access to relevant information and data in order to make informed decisions and have been pleased with the response received from many business executives subsequent to the publishing of the 2011 findings. Words such as “outstanding” and “long overdue” were used to describe the publication of the findings with feedback received from business leaders throughout the region. While we are a Barbados-based organisation, NISE has also done work throughout the CARICOM region and we recognise that ground-breaking initiatives such as NEEX and NIX will help to pave the way for a stronger Caribbean economy.

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