Brand as culture

Would you recommend your life to someone else?

6 July, 2015

Last month Engaged Marketing released their annual study titled The State Of Employee Engagement in Australia. And what a thoroughly depressing read it was.

Here are some of the key statistical findings. 3,361 Australian employees were surveyed, a quite significant sample size. The first headline measure is Employee Net Promoter Score, which asks how likely an employee is to recommend their organisation as a place to work to their friends and family. The results reveal that 43% are Detractors i.e. “I would not recommend my organisation as a place to work”. 37% are Passive i.e. “I would neither recommend nor not recommend my organisation as a place to work”. And a low 20% are Promoters i.e. “I would recommend my organisation as a place to work”.

Wow! That’s a whopping 80% who would NOT recommend their place of work to their friends and family. This can’t be a good sign, either for Australian employees or the organisations who employ them. I scratched a little deeper to discover what lies behind this, and this what I found:

28% of employees feel supported. 36% of employees feel valued. 44% of employees understand the organisations strategy, and are committed to making it happen. 30% of employees would recommend their own organisation’s services or products. And an average discretionary effort score of 5.8 out of 10 shows employees are not inclined to do more than what is expected of them in their day-to-day job.

WOW! What a terrible scorecard. The workplace isn’t working. And it seems most of this workplace dissatisfaction stems from bad management. Here are some of the verbatims reported in the survey: Terrible management. Management are rude. Management who bully. Management treat staff extremely poorly. Managers are too secretive. Management show favouritism. Management is the worst I have ever experienced.

The other missing ingredient is lack of purpose beyond making money. The study asked employees how much they agreed/disagreed with the following statement, “This organisation exists simply to make money”. The answers to this question showed a negative correlation to an employee’s likelihood to recommend their organisation as a place to work. Translation: people want their work to link to a purpose beyond economics, and just making money.

While this is clearly not good for business, my interest and concern is for the 3,361 people who work there. The people who are spending five days out of every seven in working hell. That’s 70% of their lives. Because if these people can’t recommend their organisation as a place to work to their friends and family – and since this currently accounts for 70% of their lives – they can hardly recommend their lives to their friends and family.

Imagine this: “I recommend the life I’m living to you, my dear friends and family. Except the 70% of it I spend at the office, because my company sucks.” It doesn’t stack up. It sucks actually.

If you are one of those people living for weekends and holidays, perhaps it’s time you take action. If you can’t recommend the organisation you work at to your friends and family, perhaps it’s time you take action. If you are one of those people just making a living, and not living YOUR life, perhaps it’s time YOU take action.

It’s in your hands.

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  1. In the 80’s & 90’s the mantra “Our employees are our greatest asset” was ubiquitous in Annual Reports and organisations’ internal communications. Sadly, in most cases employees quickly came to appreciate this was just the latest management jargon and didn’t translate into practice. Disillusioned employees are an organisation’s worst nightmare. To succeed organisations need their employees to identify with the company , department etc. , so they talk proudly of what “we” are doing. “We” , not “They” is the key.

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