Engagement up but leadership approval down
The latest benchmarking survey, carried out by Aon Hewitt, a global talent, retirement and health benefits provider, shows that engagement levels increased to 61% in 2013: up one and three percentage points respectively from 2012 and 2011.
Satisfaction has also improved among respondents around safety (up six percentage points on 2012) and benefits (up five percentage points).
Yet such positive sentiments are not being matched by perceptions of certain key strategic areas and those commonly associated with top-performing companies.
The index reveals global declines in positive perceptions around: business unit leadership (down four percentage points); innovation (down two percentage points); and compelling employee value proposition (falling two percentage points for the second consecutive year).
Aon Hewitt's study also suggests that high engagement alone is not enough to outperform the highest performing companies, which are defined by strong performance on employee perceptions around leadership, reputation, performance orientation and employee engagement.
These companies outperform average companies on sales growth (+6 points), operating margin (+4 points) and total shareholder return (+6 points).
"Our study shows that organisations overcoming business and people challenges are investing in a culture of engagement built on performance focus, strong reputation and superior leadership. These investments are resulting in stronger company performance,” said Dr Ken Oehler, Aon Hewitt's global engagement practice leader.
"A number of factors, including social, demographic, technological and macro-level economic changes, have challenged business leaders to create agile, innovative organisations that can grow."
Further findings from the study include Millennials are the least engaged cohort; career opportunities are the highest driver of engagement, followed by performance management, organisational reputation, pay (falling from third place in the previous survey to fourth) and communication; and the Africa and Middle East region posted that largest engagement increases (up eight percentage points) this year.