How does what people want from work differ per region?

Arne Barends

Effectory’s research (about global employee engagement) did not just investigate what people want from work at the global level. It also delved deeper into the differences between regions. Employees within each region of the world want something a little different from work. For global businesses the key to high engagement levels is adopting an approach that caters for the four key pillars of work, as well as the subtle yet distinct regional differences.

How does what people want from work differ per region?


Employees in Africa want to work in organisations that communicate. Good communication plays an even larger role here than in other regions. In particular, employees find communication with and from management essential. Open communication with management, as well as communication from management about major developments, are two aspects high on employees’ wish list.


One noticeable difference in the needs of employees in Asia is the importance placed on the C-suite. Employees need to feel that their leaders are capable. There is a high importance placed on confidence in both management and the future of their company. Further, there is a strong need for the objectives of organisations to be clear and regularly communicated.


Within Europe, what companies stand for and the work they do is a key trait staff look for. Employees want to be proud of their company and the work they do. Alongside this, appreciation and a good cultural fit in organisations are highly desired at work.

North America

For staff in North America, more emphasis is placed on feeling appreciated and feeling at home, rather than on C-suite and leadership. Employees need their ideas to be heard. Specifically, staff want organisations to use their ideas and suggestions to innovate. Opportunities to acquire new knowledge is also seen as an important factor at work.


Respect is a key requirement at work in Oceania. Employees want to be treated with respect by their managers and peers. It is important for them that co-workers in departments have the right focus and that all of the organisation’s objectives are clear. Opportunities to acquire new knowledge and for development are seen as being less important factors at work.

South America

In South America, confidence in C-suite is seen as less important in work.Employees are instead more concerned with productivity and performance. In particular, employees are looking for productive colleagues and high performing departments. Furthermore, focus and a challenging work environment are also highly sought after.

Download The Global Employee Engagement Index Volume 3

The global employee engagement indexIn The Global Employee Engagement Index Volume 3 we discuss regional trends, the scores and, discuss the changes in results from our last global survey for the 17 most important HR themes. The study aims to provide insight that can help businesses to drive employee engagement and commitment, as well as insight into the latest global work trends. 

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