With the improving economy, overcoming a shortage of executive talent has become the order of the day for many top companies. More than half of the chief executives polled for Hewitt Associates' Best Employers in Asia 2005 reported this as one of their main concerns - and here we are talking about the best companies in the region. So, what is the solution? Hewitt says engaged employees will contribute more, achieve better results and think less - if at all - about leaving their companies. The study shows that the best employers inspire a higher level of engagement among employees who, in turn, develop a passion for, and commitment to, their company and their job. They will speak in positive terms about the organisation, want to be part of it and help achieve corporate goals. And while companies still have to pay competitively, money is not an important factor when it comes to engagement. In the survey, pay ranked only sixth and benefits at a lowly 13th in perceived importance. The most significant driver of engagement was career opportunities, which 63 per cent of the Hong Kong companies in the study put first. Second was policies and the clarity of communicating these to staff. In third place were the processes that affect staff participation in the general workflow and determine overall productivity. Then came recognition and valuing people, and the best employers have found many ways of keeping employees happy and making them feel valued. Recognition can come from clients, bosses or colleagues - but it should be public and create respect for the person and the job done. Leadership also has a tremendous impact on employee engagement. Three quarters of staff working for the best employers said they trusted their leaders, compared with 51 per cent among participating companies which did not make the top 10. They also felt their seniors were great role models, being visible, accessible, open and honest. Leaders were judged as experts in running the business in 82 per cent of the winning companies and in 57 per cent of the rest.