Topic: Employee Engagement

Author(s), Title and Publication

Maritz Research. (June, 2011). Maritz Research Hospitality Group 2011 Employee Engagement Poll. Maritz Research White Paper.


Maritz Research, a firm specializing in employee and customer satisfaction studies and programming, conducted this study. The online panel included 1,857 individuals who were 18 years of age or older, worked at least 30 hours per week, and were not self-employed. The survey focused on employee engagement and trust issues, and the interrelationships of personal and organizational values with those issues. The study found overall that American workers were less engaged with their organizations than in the previous year, despite small improvements in the economy. New employees (1-5 years) were the most disengaged of all. Trust in leaders continued to be a major issue, driven by leaders’ inconsistent behaviors, poor communication, and lack of perceived caring. Some key findings in the study included:

  • About 25 percent of employees reported less trust in management in 2011 vs. 2010.
  • Only one in 10 employees believed their leaders were ethical and honest.
  • Only 12 percent of employees believed their employers listened to and cared about them.
  • One in 10 employees trusted management to make the right decision in times of uncertainty.

The study linked trust to shared values, but found that only 14 percent of employees said their company values were in line with their own values. The researchers claimed that employers who connect with employees on a value-level can increase trust in management, create a positive work experience, and improve retention rates. Values also correlated to levels of engagement, and the study characterized eight employee profiles and their corresponding impact on engagement: self-made man/woman, humanist, nester, hard worker, traditionalist, freedom seeker, entrepreneur, and rugged individualist. Engagement levels were highest among hard workers, traditionalists, and freedom seekers. “Security” was the highest rated individual value. The study concluded that companies can improve employee trust and engagement by implementing reward and recognition strategies that reward individual behaviors that are aligned with company values.

Implications for Practice

Organizations may improve engagement and trust issues by 1) recognizing and rewarding employee behaviors that align with company values, and 2) focusing on and developing leaders’ verbal and nonverbal communication and listening skills.

Location of Article

The executive summary of this research is available online at:

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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