Press release
05 Dec 2022  | Hong Kong SAR

Growing gap in Asia-Pacific between employees’ needs and experiences – EY report

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  • Latest EY Asia-Pacific Belonging Barometer 2022 report finds that companies save up to $100b when their employees feel they belong
  • A sense of belonging is more important than ever, yet only 43% of employees in Asia-Pacific feel like they belong in their workplace

Trust, respect and a connection to others through similar or shared interests, skills and challenges define the feeling of belonging, and they are a fundamental part of what makes us human. In the workplace, belonging drives engagement and retention, and reduces costs by up to $100b according to the EY Asia-Pacific Belonging Barometer 2022. Against a backdrop of the global competition for talent, organizations need workers who are productive, engaged and dedicated.

To help leaders understand the status of belonging in one of the world’s most diverse regions, EY conducted over 7,500 interviews with employees of large organizations in Australia, mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.

The EY report, a first into belonging with an Asia-Pacific audience and using local languages, provides very clear evidence on the financial benefits of belonging. Those who feel a strong sense of belonging are three times as likely to have a positive working experience and be more engaged, and therefore more productive. They are also almost three times as likely to stay with their current employer. 56% of hybrid workers reported a high sense of belonging, 9% higher than purely remote workers or those who work in the office full-time.

Across Asia-Pacific, 25% of workers are considering switching organizations next year. Leaders can combat this attrition by increasing feelings of belonging. This uplift in engagement and retention can also have a significant impact on the operational efficiency and financial outcomes of an organization.

While belonging is a critical component to an employee wanting to stay and be productive in their organization, the report found that the reverse is also true – exclusion leads to employees disengaging (as seen in the recent trend of ‘quiet quitting’) or leaving, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars spent replacing them.

Despite the diversity in societal cultures among the Asia-Pacific markets surveyed, there is more similarity than difference in how belonging was defined. In addition, sense of belonging is enhanced from 22% to 70% when the workforce perceives that there is diversity in the workplace, and that there is strong leadership in Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness (DE&I).

Holly McGhee, EY Asia-Pacific Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness Leader, says:

“Belonging is critical to unlocking the power of differences. Businesses can address the impact of inequities and injustice and push for progress within their organizations and beyond while also celebrating and recognizing uniqueness.”

Fostering belonging requires an organization-wide focus, with leaders demonstrating inclusive leadership behaviors. The Belonging Barometer sounds a warning bell to boards, CEOs and heads of people to focus on creating a more inclusive culture.


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