International Benchmarks for Employee Engagement Surveys

National norms are a necessity for understanding and interpreting global employee survey results.

The normative benchmarks of Corporate Spirit are based on one of the most extensive international databases of employee engagement surveys available. It forms a reliable frame of reference when evaluating the results of such surveys from different countries.

Corporate Spirit has experience in thousands of employee surveys since 1986 in almost fifty different countries. Having analyzed hundreds of thousands of responses we have found some amazing differences in styles of responding in different countries, as well as some quite different meanings and values attached to the individual questions.

Being aware of this variety of cultural difference, it is difficult to imagine that reliable information could be gained simply by comparing the proportion of favourable responses between different countries. If for example in Spain half of the respondents tend to respond favourably towards a single question, it may be a very good result in Spanish terms, but in Denmark the same result  might be quite poor by comparison to similar companies in Denmark.

Significance of international benchmarks in employee surveys

More generally an employee survey conducted without any proper normative benchmark could be regarded as quite questionable. A standard “finding” of such a survey would generally be that weaknesses in the employee survey are connected with unsatisfactory remuneration, poor information flow and too little feedback. This is because these types of questions are normally judged and valued in a more critical way in almost every culture than other types of questions. Only when you have reliable benchmarks you are able to give a meaningful answer to a question such as “Is it a good result that 65 % of staff is dissatisfied with information flow, or is it something we should be worried about?”

Global benchmarks

Several international and scientific research projects have proved that demographic variables, such as age or gender do not explain much of the variation in employee survey results, and the same goes with the field of business and the industry of the organisation.

The most powerful predicting variables to explain the variation in the results are found to be the working culture of the country together with the nature of the job. That’s why we have classified our benchmarks based on the geographical areas and the type of job: blue-collar, white-collar, golden collar (experts). These are based on the classifications of the respondents and their respective organisations in the surveys conducted by us. For all these combinations we offer every January the updated norms for the following 25 countries.

We also have tentative norms for the following countries that will be published shortly.

Czech Republic

South Africa

We don’t publish new country specific norms until we have at least 3.000 respondents from at least 6 different organisations in our database from the last six years. For big countries (i.e. USA, China, Russia), the minimum is 5.000 respondents.

Country specific norms

European norms:

Finland
Sweden
Norway
Denmark
Germany
Holland
Czech Republic
Poland
Great-Britain
France
Spain
Italy
Switzerland
Belgium
Russia
Lithuania
Latvia
Estonia
Ukraine

Norms for other countries:

USA
China
India
Canada
Australia
Brazil

Regional norms:

  • Scandinavian norm (based on the averages of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark)
  • Baltic norm (average of the Baltic countries)
  • Baltic sea region norm (based on the averages of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Russia)
  • European norm (based on the average of 10 European countries)
  • DACH norm (based on the averages of Germany, Austria and Switzerland)
  • North American norm (based on the averages of the USA and Canada)
  • Latin American norm (based on the averages of Brazil, Chile, and Mexico)
  • Global norm (based on the average of 10 countries from Europe, America and the Far-East)
  • Eastern European norm (based on the averages of Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia)
  • South-East Asian norm (based on the averages of the countries in the region)

The normative benchmarks provided by us are based on our extensive base research carried out globally, the global database developed through the surveys conducted by us for the past six years. Besides the country averages, we also deliver Global High Performance norm to recognize top performance. This shows the limit to beat in order to qualify globally among the top 10 % of companies for each individual question.

Read more: Benchmarks give perspective on the big picture