Global employee engagement rebounded in 2017, tying an all-time high
- Employee engagement levels bounced back to an all-time high rate of 65% in 2017, up two percentage points from 2016, according to an Aon report. The "2018 Global Employee Engagement Trends Report" analyzed data from five million employees at 1,000 organizations worldwide.
- Aon found that recognition and fair pay were the top drivers of engagement for the second consecutive year, followed by senior leadership and career opportunities. Regionally, African employees experienced the greatest increase in overall engagement rate (+5 points over 2016), while North American employees experienced no change in their overall engagement, maintaining a steady 64% rate.
- The analysis also revealed that a five-point increase in employee engagement levels has been linked to a three-point increase in revenue, according to Aon.
Aon's report shows that employee engagement efforts aren't just done for the sake of lip service; even simple measures, like recognition for a job well done, consistently rate high among employees.
It's important for HR to understand the difference between “fair pay" and “higher pay" when evaluating compensation processes. One shouldn't confuse bonuses and raises with the drive to flag and eliminate pay discrepancies that are unfairly based on race, gender and other nonwork-related criteria. Similarly, employee engagement can be confused with employee satisfaction. The former does not necessarily result in the latter.
Ken Oehler, Aon’s global culture and engagement practice leader, said in a press release that engaged workers have a psychological investment in their organization, as well as the “motivation to produce extraordinary results.” Working Mother Media argues that transparency with respect to diversity and inclusion are critical to improving this aspect of engagement.
The labor shortage could also be partly responsible for the focus on engagement. In an effort to retain good employees, employers may feel more compelled to improve conditions, open up opportunities for career advancement and reskilling, and offer a wider selection of employee benefits.