Aon Hewitt Finds Employee Engagement Rising Globally.


After years of declining employee engagement and emotional and intellectual involvement in the workplace, 2011 has seen a modest gain.

According to Aon Hewitt’s 2012 Trends in Global Employee Engagement report, worldwide engagement rose to 58 percent last year from 56 percent in 2010. In North America, it held steady at 64 percent.

The report, which analyzed more than 3,100 organizations representing 9.7 million employees worldwide, found that employee perception improved in leadership, with 61 percent of employees believing leadership at the business unit and division level was effective, up from 54 percent in 2010; human resources, with 53 percent of employees believing their HR practices were creating a positive environment, up from 47 percent in 2010; and customer relationships, with 75 percent of employees finding them rewarding, compared to 70 percent in 2010.

Business leadership as well as HR programs that meet the needs of specific employee segments contributed to the uptick in engagement levels,” said Pete Sanborn, co-president of Global Compensation and Talent at Aon Hewitt. “However, with one out of every four people not engaged worldwide, more needs to be done. … Now is the time for organizations to measure and gain insights on engagement drivers and to start doing the work necessary to improve engagement. Our research shows that organizations with higher engagement have significantly higher total shareholder return than the average company, so organizations that focus on what matters most in connecting employees to their work will emerge as leaders, and the others will be left behind.”

For the fourth year, the analysis found the best way to keep employees engaged is by providing career opportunities. Other tools include recognition, organizational reputation and communication.

“(Career opportunities) has been challenging for many organizations that have seen delayed retirements and lower turnover (stagnant advancement),” the study said. “Nonetheless, companies have significant opportunity to communicate a clear career path, prepare employees for the next role and provide lateral growth opportunities for key employees.”

Two elements of employee engagement, which Aon has deemed “stay” or “having a desire to be part of the organization,” and “strive,” or  having a willingness to make extra effort that contributes to organizational success,” have increased slightly. In 2011, 55 percent of global employees had “an intense desire to be part of the organization,” up from 52 percent in 2010. Fifty-five percent of employees exerted “extra effort and engaged in behaviors that contribute to business success,” up from 53 percent in 2010. But only 63 percent of employees had positive things to say about their companies in 2010 and 2011, down from 65 percent of employees in 2009. In North America, each of these three elements of engagement increased by one percent from 2010 to 2011.

The analysis broke down engagement by gender and generation, with females being more engaged than males, globally, and baby boomers being more engaged than Generation X and Millennials, globally.

“2011 was a challenging year for employers and employees worldwide, and 2012 shows continued challenges,” the report said. “But, the evidence is clear, higher engagement leads to better businessperformance. If engagement is low, business performance is sub-optimized.”

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Posted on June 6, 2012, in Employee Engagement. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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