Industry profile: engagement trends in the energy sector


Over the last five years, we have surveyed approximately 620,000 employees working in the energy industry. Based on a careful analysis of our normative results, there are a number of notable industry-wide strengths. But there is also a pattern of low scores on items that impact both the employee experience and organizational effectiveness.

Industry Strengths: Scores in the energy industry are notably high in five core areas.

  • Social Responsibility: Over 90% of energy employees value their company’s commitment to environmental responsibility. 
  • Safety: A similar percentage of employees (88%) feel they work for an organization that places a heavy emphasis on employee safety.
  • Customer Focus: Energy-industry employees think their organizations respond quickly to the needs of their customers (87% favorability) and adapt to changes in the business environment (73% favorability). 
  • Engagement: Eighty-three percent of energy employees report taking pride in working for their company.
  • Tools & Resources: Approximately 8 out of 10 energy employees report having the right tools, resources, and information to do their job properly.

Concerns: Employee attitudes are low in four critical areas.

  • Psychological Safety: Energy employees feel less comfortable speaking their mind without fear of negative consequences (9 points below non-energy sectors).
  • Respect for Diversity of Ideas and Perspectives: Energy employees are less likely to view their working environment as one in which different views and perspectives are valued (7 points below non-energy sectors).
  • Decision Making: They are less involved in decisions that affect their work (66% favorability).
  • Organizational Support: And they feel less valued as an employee (56% favorability).

Implications: For leaders and managers working in the energy sector, there is a lot to be proud of. A strong sense of social responsibility, attention to employee safety, responsiveness and adaptability characterize strengths of this industry. But there are also critical areas of concern, including freedom to speak-up, valuing different views, and involving employees in decision making. Leaders should begin by asking themselves some questions about their organization:

  • Do you give employees the opportunity to comment on the way things are done at work?
  • Do you regularly communicate that employee feedback is valued?
  • How likely are you to seek out multiple viewpoints when the organization is approaching a problem? 
  • Do you encourage your workgroup to examine challenges from different angles?

Energy organizations need to balance how things must be done with perspectives from employees of how work could be done. By identifying opportunities where employees are encouraged to share ideas, engage in a dialogue of the merits of the idea, and see the impact of their perspectives, energy companies can foster a culture where employees feel they have a stronger voice and can therefore better contribute towards the creation of a highly engaged and effective organization.

Tom Mitchell
by Tom Mitchell

Principal and Account Manager within Mercer-Sirota

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