Companies whose workers are highly committed to their employers and have confidence in top management deliver significantly higher returns to shareholders, according to a study by Watson Wyatt Worldwide.

Companies with highly motivated employees had a 112 percent three-year total return to shareholders, versus a 76 percent return for companies with low employee commitment.

Rest of the story

But only 55 percent of workers are committed to their employer, according to the poll of more than 7,500 employees. Sixteen percent are not committed and the remaining 29 percent are neutral.

Only 50 percent of those surveyed expressed confidence in their senior managers; 21 percent expressed no confidence and 29 percent were neutral.

Key drivers

Seven key factors drive commitment, according to the survey: trust in senior leadership; chance to use job skills; job security; competitiveness of rewards; quality of the company’s products/services; absence of job stress; and honesty and integrity of employer’s business conduct.

Factors supporting confidence in senior managers: promoting the most qualified employees; gaining support for the business direction; motivating workers to perform at peak levels; and explaining reasons behind major business decisions.