Employee Engagement Lags Despite Improving Economy

The global economy may be slowly recovering, but after enduring several years of layoffs, scant raises and heavy workloads, employee spirits are lagging.

According to AON Hewitt’s poll of 5,700 global employers, engagement levels through the third quarter of 2011 stood at just 56 percent, which is the same as 2010 but lower than 2009 (60 percent) and 2008 (57 percent).

Engagement typically measures employees’ willingness to put extra effort into their work, like staying late on Friday or reading reports over the weekend. Experts maintain that engagement plays a critical role in boosting a company’s bottom line.

Traditionally, engagement levels between 65 and 100 percent represent a high-performing culture, 45 percent to 65 percent indicate the workforce is indifferent to organizational success or failure, and anything lower than 45 percent represents a serious or destructive range.

“A significant number of employees are not motivated enough to provide extra effort beyond the job requirements and many anticipate leaving their employers in the near future,” said Pete Sanborn, Talent and Organization Consulting global practice leader for Aon Hewitt.

Unless employers change course and start listening to their employees, they may see a drop in productivity or increased absenteeism and turnover.

If you want to start looking for causes and possible solutions, here are the scores for the most critical drivers of employee engagement during the first three quarters.

  •  Career Opportunities–50 percent
  • Recognition–48 percent
  • Tools and Resources–54 percent
  • Senior Leadership–54 percent

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