Global employee engagement levels plateau

While employee engagement levels have plateaued, employees’ overall work experience is deteriorating―particularly their perceptions about the resources and programs that enable them to grow and perform, a study finds.

Aon Hewitt’s Trends in Global Employee Engagement study shows global employee engagement levels reached 62% in 2014, up just one percentage point from 2013. Employee engagement across the countries with the world’s 20 largest economies and labour pools remained flat at 61%. Despite modest increases in engagement, the study shows that employees’ net satisfaction with their work experience plummeted 28 percentage points in 2014.

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“As GDP growth continues, we expect to see organizations make greater investments in people, which could result in an increase in employee engagement,” says Dr. Ken Oehler, Aon Hewitt’s global engagement practice leader. “However, any improvements in engagement could be offset by increasing employee dissatisfaction with many of the work-related resources and programs that enable them to effectively do their jobs. Employees who are engaged, but not empowered, are more likely to be frustrated, burned out and become disengaged, which puts organizations at risk of having suboptimal productivity and higher-than-average employee turnover.”

The study also shows varying level of engagement by job function.

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Executives’ and senior leaders’ engagement levels are 76%, an increase of 10 percentage points since 2012. Middle managers had a slight jump in engagement level, rising two percentage points to 67%. Front-line and professional employees stayed flat at 61% and 54%, respectively.

“While managers have traditionally been responsible for engaging their people, that paradigm is shifting,” he adds. “Senior leaders are now responsible for setting a compelling vision that connects people to purpose. Individual employees are increasingly expected to be responsible for their own engagement, including understanding what impacts their personal engagement and what they need to be optimally engaged. In our experience, leaders that create cultures of engagement create environments that empower individual employees to develop themselves and others.”

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The study represents the perspectives of more than nine million employees at more than 1,000 companies in 164 countries.