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Employee engagement is evolving: How to stay ahead

20th January 2015 Print

Global employee engagement is on the increase, although levels have remained the same in Europe in the last accountable year, according to the Aon Hewitt Employee Engagement survey.

The findings are based on information from 6,000 companies and represent more than seven million employees across the world, offering a far-reaching perspective on the most recent engagement trends affecting global business.

As with previous research, the study found that performance can be directly linked with employee engagement. It revealed that the best employer companies outperform average companies by six per cent in terms of sales growth, four per cent in relation to operating margins and six per cent when it comes to total shareholder return. 

This means that CEOs who seek to increase employee engagement are more likely to benefit from a boost in overall business success, but what techniques for achieving this can be learned from this employee satisfaction survey?

The value of a good salary cannot be underestimated. The survey revealed that pay is still a key driver when it comes to engagement across the world and is a priority for Millennials as a group. Paying to ensure engagement makes financial sense given that Aon Hewitt claims that just one disengaged employee has the potential to cost a business in excess of £5,000 in profits each year. Conversely, engaged staff members are more productive, offer higher standards of customer service, are more innovative in the solutions they provide and lead to the delivery of better products and services. There are also reduced costs due to lower rates of staff turnover.

In order to achieve optimum engagement, CEOs must aim to fulfil the three top drivers revealed by the survey: career opportunities, followed by manager performance and the reputation of the organisation. It is also essential that management understand that these drivers may differ depending on a person’s role and seniority within a company.

The survey found that the employee value proposition (EVP) is currently breaking down. More people (67 per cent) are reporting positive things about their employers and are striving for an increase in performance levels, but this does not necessarily make them more likely to remain with one particular organisation. Nevertheless, speaking positively about the organisation they work for is one of the three signs of an ‘engaged’ employee. The other two are an obvious desire to play an active role within an organisation and a commitment to ensuring optimum business success.

Engagement can be key to improving profitability, reducing costs, improving employee retention and prompting growth. The survey revealed, however, that there is still work for CEOs across the world to do in order to increase the benefits of EVP if they want to improve staff retention in particular. Managers must offer opportunities for development, good governance and a culture in which staff want to work. What is more, they must deliver on these promises in order to retain, attract and motivate the top talent in their industry. Employee lifecycle research can be important in this talent management process. Managers should also take employee lifestyle choices into account.

For more information and a handy infographic that visualises the results visit the Aon Hewitt website.