Aon Hewitt: Global Employee Engagement Improved in 2011

Lincolnshire, Ill. — June 4

After years of declining employee engagement levels, a new analysis released by the global human resource solutions business of Aon plc, Aon Hewitt, showed a positive global shift in employee engagement.

Aon Hewitt’s 2012 Global Engagement report, which analyzed employee engagement trends of more than 3,100 organizations representing 9.7 million employees worldwide, found that 58 percent of employees were engaged in 2011, up from 56 percent from 2010.

Aon Hewitt’s analysis showed improvements in employee perception scores in three key areas in 2011:

• Effective leadership at the business unit/division level was 61 percent, up from 54 percent in 2010.
• People/HR practices creating a positive work environment was 53 percent, up from 47 percent in 2010.
• Perceiving relationships with customers as rewarding was 75 percent, up from 70 percent in 2010.

The analysis also showed a decline in three key perception scores in 2011:

• Effective communication was 42 percent, down from 46 percent in 2010.
• Innovation was 52 percent, down from 55 percent in 2010.
• Workplace safety and security was 75 percent, down from 78 percent in 2010.

While overall engagement levels increased, Aon Hewitt’s study found significant variances by region.

Improvements in Asia Pacific engagement scores — 58 percent in 2011 vs. 55 percent in 2010 — contributed to the overall upward movement of global engagement. Europe showed an upward shift by one percentage point from 51 percent in 2010 to 52 percent in 2011, while Latin America, the region with the highest regional engagement levels, experienced a slight decline in engagement levels — from 72 percent in 2010 to 71 percent in 2011.

Employee engagement scores in North American remained unchanged from 2010 at 64 percent.

Aon Hewitt’s report also analyzed which engagement drivers had the most positive impact on engagement and opportunity for improvement. According to the analysis, organizations are likely to get the highest return on investment in employee engagement if they focus on improving the following drivers:

Career opportunities: For the fourth consecutive year career opportunities remained the top driver to positively impact overall engagement levels.

Recognition: Aon Hewitt’s analysis shows that recognizing the extra effort employees have given in a tough business climate by providing feedback and positive reinforcement will pay dividends — and it often comes at no cost to the organization. Aon Hewitt found that recognition has a higher impact for employees in Asia Pacific and Latin America than in other regions.

Organizational reputation: People want to be part of a respected and winning team. Aon Hewitt’s analysis found that European and North American employees are more concerned about their company’s reputation and what it stands for in the market vs. recognition.

Communication: Aon Hewitt’s analysis shows that effective and engaging communication resonates with the employee in rationally, emotionally and behaviorally relevant ways.

Source: Aon plc