How NZ leaders can drive employee engagement


Small adjustments for big impacts

A bi-weekly publication

Written by Joy Kuhns

Published 16 August 2023 | 2 min read

Engagement and success

Looking ahead and wanting to ensure your organisation continues to grow and perform at your optimum?  Consider the following. 

People engagement in New Zealand

According to a Qualtrics research report across 1600 employees (2022), employee engagement in Australia and New Zealand went up to 68% vs the global average of 66%.

As shown in this table below (MBIE, 2022) NZ Public Service employee engagement scores range from 58% to 81% (with variability due to the use of different tools and frequency of collection).  As you will also see, this data does not show all public sector organisations but can be used for comparison. 

Engagement score results from these NZ staff engagement surveys


Even with the limitations shown, I have been teaching this for years in NZ, using the latest data available.  Therefore, if we consider this as fairly representative of NZ organisations, 19% to 42% of staff are not having a great employee experience. This means they are not doing their best for organisations at work and this is where great leadership can make a big difference! 
Also, clearly, these employees are unlikely to stay in their current organisations (those included in the Qualtrics report stated an intention of 55%). 

Why does it matter? 

  1. Turnover and cost: Considering that known costs of employee turnover range from one month’s salary to over a year’s salary (dependent upon the position), keeping staff needs to be a priority. 
  2. Engagement and cost: According to Clark (MBIE, n.d., p. 11) “job satisfaction and employee engagement are related to profitability, productivity, turnover and absenteeism”.

Your organisation and people – how are you doing?

What are your staff retention rates and engagement scores?  
Where is your organisation going? What is your “Why” (Sinek, 2009).  
Do your people know your direction and are they part of it? 
Are you doing better than the surveyed organisations?  

Depressing or a potential call to action? 

The following approaches to the Qualtrics survey measurements are very practical in addressing engagement and retention factors, if you weren’t happy with any of your answers to the questions posed. 

I feel that my career goals can be met by this company (growth and development)  Talk to employees; offer pathways – invest in training, suggest job rotation  
I feel as if I belong at this company (inclusion)  Ensure employees know “where they fit”; make sure they know this from Day One – incorporate into induction of new employees 

I feel positive about myself at work (wellbeing) 

Be clear about their job description and their contribution. Give recognition and support. Ensure employees have the resources to do their job (including leadership such as “clearing the pathway” if they are stuck with a process or person”) 
Model healthy behaviour by ensuring employees turn off (their computer/phone) after hours. 

I believe this company has an outstanding future (strategic alignment)

Communicate where the organisation is going; help employees be part of the solution when you face headwinds.
I would recommend this company’s products and services (customer focus) Align your people with your “why” linked to your offerings; train them; give them peer mentors.


The key

A partnership with your people with clear communication, appreciation and adjustment when things don’t go well, can make a significant difference in their experience and make you thrive!

Want to know more or to let us know how you are doing?

Be sure to reach out to us, contact Joy at or 021 077 3938.

Additionally, for more information, check out the enclosed references.



MBIE (n.d.) A summary of indicators that describe how Aotearoa New Zealand is performing in terms of Good Work

Public Service (n.d.). Workforce Data — Wellbeing at work.

Sinek, S. (2009). How Great Leaders Inspire action. [Video]. Ted Talk.

Williams, S. (2022). Employee engagement on the rise in Australia and New Zealand

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