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Dimanche 4 septembre 2016 tagHR performance, tagAbsentéisme

Work content, workplace relationships and recognition : The three pillars of commitment in Europe according to the Ayming-TNS Sofres survey conducted in 7 countries

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Work content, workplace relationships and recognition : The three pillars of commitment in Europe according to the Ayming-Kantar TNS (ex-TNS Sofres) survey conducted in 7 countries



European employees: obstacles and opportunities to boost employee commitment


Yannick Jarlaud, Director of the Survey with Ayming's HR Performance Business Line: “European employees have multiple profiles, their approach to work is multifaceted and their assessment of their motivation and their commitment to their company is inevitably influenced by their nationality. However, this first pan-European qualitative study on the mobilisation and commitment of employees allows us to identify strong common multicultural management strategies on which European companies must focus their efforts.

“Workplace attendance” rates: substantial disparities


On average, 72% of European employees surveyed on their absence from work – excluding maternity and paternity leave -  say they were present all year in 2015. These statistics must allow for “denial of absence” (forgetting absence) margin, the existence of which has been proven.



Who are the employees who are “always present” in Europe ?


The study shows that British employees are those who express the highest “always present” rate (84%), just ahead of Dutch employees (82%) and German employees (81%).


On the contrary, only 41% of Italian employees state that they are always present. Are they more honest and less affected by the denial of absence syndrome or are they really absent more often? The main reason is that Italian legislation provides numerous rights pertaining to the concept of “justified absence”. In other European countries, these rights are no longer included in the concept of “justified absence” and have a “paid leave” dimension. For example, training leave is considered as a justified absence in Italy. Consequently, Italians include numerous days in their assessment of their absence that other European employees do not consider as “days of absence”.


Belgian and French employees rank slightly lower than average at 71%. While 79% of Spanish employees say they are “always present”.


These observable variations are related to 2 main aspects:

  • A conception of workplace attendance that varies from country to country: in certain countries, being absent means “not being present at your work station”, including during holidays.  In other countries, it means “being at home”. Legislation in each country is built around these concepts.
  •  Notable differences in the behaviour of employees with regards to work can be observed between countries. The study demonstrates a considerable difference between the countries located in the North of the region surveyed (Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom) and those in the South (Spain, Italy, France).


Work life conditions represent 55% of reasons of absence for European employees.

When European employees are asked the reasons for their absence, they say that their health or that of their family takes precedence over everything else.

But the reasons related to work and what they experience at work are also present. Accrual of absence for “personal” and “professional” reasons shows that 45% of European employees' absence is related to their health and that of their family, and the remaining 55% is related to a professional reason.


Your state of health.


Your personal situation.




Dissatisfaction related to remuneration.


Poor working atmosphere with colleagues.


Poor organisation and/or working conditions.


State of health of your family.


Lack of managerial support or between colleagues.


Your age.


Lack of recognition from staff.


Lack of vision regarding the future.


Lack of vision regarding your professional evolution.


Feeling that non-executive employees do not have the means to do their work.


Lack of management and control of absence.


Poor image of job/company.



Absenteeism is therefore not inevitable, companies can find solutions to prevent work-related causes.


 4 European employees out of 10 say they are “happy and motivated”

73% of European employees surveyed say they are currently “happy” at work and so they can be considered as satisfied with their working life. In this regard, Dutch employees rank highest with 82% of positive replies, followed by British employees (80%) and German employees (78%).


French employees (68%), Spanish employees (67%) and Italian employees (66%), who feel they have an ethical obligation to work harder than in other countries and have high rates of unemployment, seem to endure their work and fewer say they are “happy” at work.


A direct correlation between happiness at work and mobilisation.


Among the “happy” European employees, 55% say they are mobilised for the future of their company, compared to just 26%  of employees who say they are “not happy” at work. Employees who are “happy” in their work are twice as likely to be mobilised as employees who are “not happy”.


The overall champions of happiness at work and professional mobilisation: the Netherlands, with a rate of happy and mobilised employees of 54%, followed by Germany (46%), Italy (45%) and Spain (44%).


Belgium (38%) and France (35%) rank lower than the European average.

The English have the highest rate of employees who are “happy” at work, but also the lowest rate of employees who are “mobilised” for their employer.



This data confirms the relation envisaged between “happiness in the workplace” and “commitment”.  Endeavouring to make European employees happy and fulfilled at work therefore seems to be a best management practice to improve teams' mobilisation, involvement and performance.




“Mobilised and happy” employees are committed employees:

  • ready to give more of themselves for their work (at pan-European level);
  • they recommend their company more often (at pan-European level);
  • they have a higher level of presence, except in the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain.


  • They are ready to give more of themselves for their work.


    Mobilised employees are employees who are more inclined to increase their efforts in their work (76%) than other categories (60%), especially more than “not happy and not concerned” employees (24%).


    This is the trend in all European countries.

    The countries where employees say they are ready to invest themselves more in their work are: France, the United Kingdom and Belgium. On the contrary, Germany and the Netherlands, where employee commitment is already very high, have relatively low rates of intention to make greater efforts at 53 and 52%.




  • They recommend their employer more often to others. 


Employees who say they are “Happy and Mobilised” are a source of recommendation for their employer. So the “employer brand” and more specifically the attractiveness of their company are consequently increased.



This variation in recommendation exists in all countries.


Happy and Mobilised employees are a factor of attractiveness for European companies.


In the United Kingdom, this correlation is one of the most substantial, with 87% of Happy & Mobilised employees recommending their employer. In a country where the talent war has been declared, this indicator is vital for HR Managers...

The correlation is not so strong in Belgium. At national level, recommendation of employers is lower than in Europe and does not seem to be part of Belgian tradition. Although Happy and Mobilised Belgian employees do recommend their employer more often (a trait of this population), they do not reach the same level  as in Europe.

In Spain and Italy, where the national average is among the lowest in Europe but similar to the average European level, we can see that Not Concerned and Not Happy employees have a comparatively high rate of  recommendation.

This is most likely due to cultural and economic aspects in these countries, where the work value is “it's important to have a job” and unemployment rates are high - almost 3 out of 10 people are unemployed. So NHNC employees continue to recommend their employer to help their family and close friends get a job, even if the employer does not enable them to be happy and mobilised at work.


3- “Mobilised and happy” employees do not have the same reasons for being absent


The first and second reasons for potential work stoppages  of employees who are happy and mobilised at work are state of health (25%) and a “personal situation” (13%). Far fewer (7%) point to remuneration and poor atmosphere at work as potential sources of absence. Absence of this category of employees is therefore mainly due to major personal events that are unrelated to the company.



For employees who are “not concerned and not happy” with their work life, the reasons for absence listed point more directly to the company, its working conditions as reasons for absence. Work load (10%), dissatisfaction with remuneration and working conditions and organisation (9%) emerge as the first causes of potential stoppage, ahead of their own state of health (17%).

This hierarchy of reasons for work stoppage between the two populations exists in all of the countries surveyed.


4/ They have a higher attendance rate than others…


Dutch and German employees, who are at the top of the list of employees who are both the happiest and the most mobilised, are also those with the highest workplace attendance rate (89% and 82% of the “mobilised happy” population. In France, although the level is lower, the correlation between the fact of being “mobilised and happy” and “always present” is also very strong.


French and Belgian employees' responses are at the average level of those of European employees (78% and 71%).


The origins and manifestations of employees' mobilisation are therefore multiple and closely related to the culture, organisation of work, types of contracts and economic environment that exist in each country. For some, more affective, employees, identification with the values and strategy of the company is very  important. Other, more pragmatic, employees, have a colder attitude to work and their employer


Yet again, three countries stand out: Italy, which demonstrates that employees can be happy and mobilised without having a high rate of attendance, the United Kingdom, where - with high rates of employees who are always present (84%) and satisfied (80%) - employees nevertheless express the lowest rate of mobilisation (23%), and Spain, where “Not Happy and Not Concerned” employees are more present than “Happy and Mobilised” employees (who are less present than the national average).


These results illustrate the fact that countries' cultures have a significant impact on approaches to work. So in Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain, absenteeism is not a key indicator of commitment to be taken into consideration. Companies in these countries must base their commitment strategies on other indicators and work on absenteeism (present despite everything) in a specific manner.



Methodology of the study: the panel of employees surveyed as part of this qualitative study comprised 3,ooo employees in the private sector who are representative of the working population in the 7 countries studied – Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom. 56% of employees are men and 44% are women, the majority (62%) aged between 31 and 50. Almost one out of every two employees (49%) is employed by a company with less than 50 employees. 61% have been working in their company for less  than 10 years. 63% are non-executive employees or blue-collar workers and 37% are executives, technicians and supervisors. 26%  in the services sector (excluding Health), 26% work in industry, 17% in retail, 12% in construction, 10% in transport and 9% in health. These employees were surveyed by telephone by Kantar TNS (ex-TNS Sofres) between 13 June and 1 July 2016.




Ayming is a leader international consulting group in business performance, born from the merger of Alma Consulting Group and Lowendalmasaï, that operates in 14 countries: Germany, Belgium, Canada, China, Spain, France, Hungary, Great Britain, Japan, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic. In 2015, the Group has nearly 1,500 employees and had a turnover of € 173 millions.

Ayming provides companies with strategic and operational support to sustainably develop their overall performance in four main areas of expertise: Human Resources, Operations, Finance and Innovation. Ayming’s missions consist in supporting prevention and risk management (securing), optimization of processes, organizations and funding (accelerating), the development of growth strategies and the reallocation of resources (anticipating).


The group is qualified by the Office for Professional Qualification in Management Councils, Member of Syncost and Consult’in France, ISO 9001:2008 certified by AFNOR Certification, a member of the Association of innovation consulting (AIT), the Commission AFNOR standardization on Innovation Management, Technical Association of the Energy and Environment (ATEE) and EWC Professionals' Association (GPC2E).




Dimanche 4 septembre 2016 tagHR performance, tagAbsentéisme
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