Work perception in Europe

Europe displays major differences in the field of engagement. The average score on engagement in Europe is a 7.3. Similar to last year; Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands score the best when we look at all themes and subjects, with Austria and Bulgaria completing the top 5 of overall best scoring countries.

Europe displays major differences in the field of engagement. The average score on employee engagement in Europe is a 7.3. Similar to last year; Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands score the best when we look at all themes and subjects, with Austria and Bulgaria completing the top 5 of overall best scoring countries.

At the other end of the spectrum are France, Spain, Italy, the Baltic States and Germany. They score low on the various themes and subjects. However, Germany scores well on satisfaction, retention factor, role clarity and productivity.

Dichotomy in Europe

Generally speaking, you can divide Europe into four regions: countries where the organisational culture is focused on performance (Anglo-Saxon, west), countries where the culture is focused on trust and consensus (Rhineland, north-west), countries where organisations have a hierarchical character (east) and countries where the gap between employee and employer is greater than elsewhere in Europe (with a union-oriented focus,
south). This contrast is, with a few exceptions, very clear in the results.

The Anglo-Saxon model is characterised by the focus on results. The people are focused on output. Knowledge of leadership is great. Employees in the United Kingdom give less significant scores to 'trust' and 'letting go' than people elsewhere in Europe. 

Most countries in Northern and Western Europe scored higher on all topics; especially topics such as engagement, willingness to change, and retention factor. Giving trust and reaching consensus is key. Within the Rhineland model, decisions are reached social-democratically, with the disadvantage that it can slow down the efficiency and effectiveness within organisations.

In general, employees in the Southern European countries are more dissatisfied than in the countries in the north and west. Interestingly, the Southern countries have many similarities: a working environment that is not experienced as positive, low motivation and engagement, low efficiency and low productivity. Also, role clarity of the staff and leadership within the Southern European organisations receive lower scores. Despite the lower scores, employees do not feel embarrassed to make their voices heard.

The East had fairly average scores with no real outliers. With the exception of Bulgaria, which really stands out above the rest. An average Eastern European corporate culture is characterised by carrying out tasks and assignments as well as possible. This is done without being critical – as an employee – on how these tasks and assignments can be performed better, more efficiently and more productively. Eastern European employees scored lower on role clarity and receiving feedback from their line manager, which surprisingly did not have a negative impact on employee motivation. Moreover, these scores have a generally neutral impact on productivity and efficiency.