Staff engagement improves worldwide, finds study
Staff confidence in leadership and the positive impact of HR has greatly increased in organisations around the world, according to a global study of employee engagement trends.
A study of more than 3,100 employers worldwide, by HR consultancy Aon Hewitt, showed that engagement had improved from 56 per cent in 2010 to 58 per cent in 2011.
However, when the results were analysed in more depth, the picture was more complicated: some indicators of engagement rose dramatically while others declined, and results differed between regions.
For example, in 2010, 47 per cent of employees agreed that people/HR practices created a positive work environment. By 2011 this had jumped to 53 per cent.
Perceptions of leadership also showed a strong positive shift as 61 per cent agreed in 2011 that leadership at the business unit/division level was effective, compared with 54 per cent in 2010.
Other key areas showed a drop in staff engagement. For example, the number of staff who felt that their employer communicated with them effectively decreased from 46 per cent in 2010 to 42 per cent in 2011, perceptions of innovation dropped from 55 per cent to 52 per cent and employee views of workplace safety and security fell from 78 per cent to 75 per cent.
In Europe overall, engagement increased by one percentage point to 52 per cent in 2011, while in Latin America, which had the highest engagement score of any region, the results revealed a drop from 72 per cent in 2010 to 71 per cent in 2011.
In North America, the results remained unchanged from 2010 at 64 per cent, while in Asia Pacific they followed the upward trend rising from 55 per cent to 58 per cent.
Pete Sanborn, co-president of global compensation and talent at Aon Hewitt, said: “As the economy improves, retaining top talent is going to be difficult. Now is the time for organisations to measure and gain insights on engagement drivers and to start doing the work necessary to improve engagement.
"Our research shows that organisations with higher engagement have significantly higher total shareholder return than the average company, so organisations that focus on what matters most in connecting employees to their work will emerge as leaders – and the others will be left behind.”
The study identified four areas that had the greatest effect on boosting engagement, with "career opportunities" the top driver for positive scores, closely followed by recognition, organisational reputation and communication.
Jenny Merry, UK engagement practice leader at Aon Hewitt, said: “2012 will be a challenging year for employers in this category as a result of limited career development and advancement opportunities. Now, more than ever, organisations must communicate clear career paths, prepare employees for the next role and provide lateral growth opportunities for key employees.”
Source: People Management