A Sodexo initiative


Create an account

Already have an account? Log In Want to become a Spotter? Join the community X CLOSE

Fostering engagement at work

Gérard Silve

- Corporate

- May 27 2014

Gérard Silve

Associate Director in Charge of Communication at Towers Watson

The 2012 Towers Watson Global Workforce Study* highlights the close link between employee wellness and engagement. Gérard Silve, associate director in charge of communication at Towers Watson, shares his point of view on the subject and offers advice to companies with employees who feel less and less engaged.


Quality of Life Observer: There is a very low level of engagement among employees on a global scale. How do you explain this fact?

Globally, just over a third (35%) of the workers who participated in the study consider themselves highly engaged, meaning that roughly 65% of employees feel unsupported, detached or even completely disengaged. The main factor that could contribute to this is the widespread anxiety about the future – more than half of participants (55%) often worry about their future financial state. Consequently, job security now tops the list of employees’ expectations at work, alongside salary. Retirement is a major cause of fear, too, with 39% expecting to retire somewhat or much later than planned. Globally, people continue working while fearing for both short-term financial security and their long-term possibility to retire at the legal age.

The study advises companies to create energizing work environments. Can you explain what that means?

When an employee can feel the pulse of activity in the workplace, their mood improves. An energizing environment promotes physical, emotional and social wellbeing. While this environment doesn’t eliminate stress, it makes employees capable of feeling what we call “positive stress” – a stress that is both intellectually and emotionally rewarding and exciting. Creating this type of atmosphere takes time but it can be a key driver of engagement.

There is a strong correlation between the level of stress among employees and their level of engagement. With this in mind, how can companies lower stress levels?

First of all, companies need to understand that employees have varying levels of expectations regarding the work-life balance. Although many people consider work as a large and important priority, they also realize that it doesn’t make up a whole life. While at work, communication is key in preventing misunderstandings and easing stress. Employees who work in more friendly and peaceful environments also tend to be more engaged and committed to their companies.

According to the study, positive interactions at work foster a sense of trust among employees. Can you elaborate?

Dealing with employee interactions is definitely a hot topic for companies today. There are two types of interactions. First off, strictly work-related interactions provide information necessary to doing one’s job. The second type of interaction involves the daily lives of employees. While this type of interaction is less essential to delivering the work, it helps employees feel connected to the corporate world. Humanizing the work environment plays an important role in driving up the engagement level of employees.


*More than 32,000 employees selected from research panels that represent the populations of full-time employees working in 29 markets around the world have been interviewed via an online questionnaire between February and May 2012.


Send this page

Fostering engagement at work

(Separate multiple addresses with commas (limit 10). We will not share these addresses with any third parties.)



remains 250 characters


Become spotter

Thank you for submitting your request to become a Quality of Life Observer Spotter.
You will receive an e-mail informing you when your Spotter account is activated.