Global Compensation & Talent
2012 Trends in Global Employee Engagement
Trends in Global Employee Engagement
3 Executive Summary 5 Aon Hewitt’s Engagement Model 7 Trends in Global Employee Engagement 8 Employee Engagement and Economic Conditions 12 Elements of Employee Engagement 16 Changes in Key Drivers of Engagement 18 Top Opportunities to Improve Employee Engagement 21 Conclusion 23 Appendix: Engagement Levels by Key Demographics
The road to recovery from the global recession is proving to be long, winding, and rocky. While some indicators are showing slow signs of improvement, the outlook for 2012 remains uncertain with forecasts for slow growth in North America and Northern Europe, continued trouble for Southern Europe, yet powerful growth in Asia, South America, and Africa.1 The global recession has taken its toll on employees as pay freezes, benefit cuts, and layoffs permeate the workforce, making it more difficult to maintain high levels of engagement. Against this backdrop, it is more important than ever for employers to develop and maintain a highly engaged workforce. Given the economic volatility we anticipate in 2012, employee engagement is critical—arguably more so than in more normal conditions. For large multinational employers operating in multiple regions, this means a onesize-fits-all strategy for engagement across the globe will not work. The employee engagement dynamics and resultant human capital interventions and outcomes may vary significantly depending on the industry or region of the model in which you operate. Regardless, one thing is certain— employees and their behavior are at the center of business success (or failure). Ensuring that employees invest discretionary effort in the right behaviors will be critical in delivering the business results needed in conditions of recession, stagnation, or rapid growth. About Aon Hewitt’s Global Engagement Research From 2009 Through 2011 Includes 9.7 million employees Represents more than 3,100 organizations Covers a broad range of company sizes and industries Spans four primary regions: Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America
Engaged employees deliver better performance, which is critical for business success. They understand their role in the business strategy, have a strong connection and commitment to the company, are more involved, and strive to go above and beyond in their jobs. The bottom line is that employee engagement matters—now more than ever. And the solutions for maintaining or improving engagement are increasingly complex for companies operating in an environment of instability and varied economic conditions. Striving to maintain a higher level of employee engagement not only contributes toward short-term survival during economic volatility, but is also a key factor for longer-term business performance and better positioning when market conditions become favorable. The companies that get engagement “right” will enjoy a source of competitive advantage in talent strategy and business results that is hard for others to replicate.
Key Findings for 2011
Engagement levels are stabilizing globally but shifting across regions: Despite the economic recession, engagement levels have remained relatively stable at 58% in 2011, up two percentage points from 56% in 2010. We see the largest upward movement in Asia Pacific, a slight increase in Europe, small downward movement in Latin America, with North America staying the same. Employee engagement lags economic indicators: Engagement appears to have fallen a year after the economic crisis in 2009 and had a slight recovery a year after economic indicators showed some relative improvement from 2009 to 2010. This trend was visible in all regions across the globe. Emerging markets showed a bit more volatility.
Zanny Minton Beddoes, “The Year of Self-Induced Stagnation,” The Economist n.d. (November 17, 2011)
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