Are you on the right path?

Keeping your employees motivated, productive and engaged.

With economic volatility continuing in 2012, employee engagement is critical.

For large multinational employers operating in multiple regions, a one-size-fits-all strategy for engagement across the globe is not the solution. Employee engagement drivers vary significantly depending on the region in which an organisation operates.

"One thing is certain - employees and their behaviour are at the centre of business success or failure," says Stephen Hickey, Employee Engagement Practice Lead in Aon Hewitt. "Ensuring that employees invest efforts in the right behaviours and actions is critical in delivering the business results needed in conditions of recession, stagnation, or rapid growth."

A global perspective

Aon Hewitt's 2012 Global Engagement report found that 58 per cent of employees were engaged in 2011, up from 56 per cent in 2010. The report provides insights and analysis into global employee engagement trends over the last three years.

With analysis drawn from employee engagement trends of more than 3,100 organisations representing 9.7 million employees worldwide - it is clear that career opportunities, employee recognition and an organisation's reputation are top engagement drivers around the globe. The time appears right for a positive global shift when it comes to emotional and intellectual involvement in the workplace.

"Employees are at the core of an organisation and their engagement serves as a barometer of organisational health," says Hickey.

By measuring employee engagement, employers can create an engagement improvement plan to address employee motivation and behaviour, leading to improved productivity, and subsequently better business results.

Local insights

Aon Hewitt recently released a report entitled Your Pathway to Improving Employee Engagement - providing valuable insights into how clients can improve employee engagement to drive workforce performance and productivity.

Many Australian and New Zealand organisations are being confronted with the challenge of managing organisational restructures, reducing costs, market volatility and large-scale change programs.

"Despite these challenges, boards, shareholders and other stakeholders expect most organisations to develop and deliver on growth targets," says Hickey. "Developing a highly engaged and productive workforce is paramount to delivering on these performance expectations."

The purpose of improving engagement

Why does employee engagement matter? When it comes to improving engagement it is important to understand the underlying benefits to an organisation.

The pathway report indicates that organisations that improve engagement are increasingly building a workforce prepared to contribute discretionary effort and go above and beyond the basic requirements of the job. Organisations will benefit from having a workforce with a strong sense of purpose and pride - with increased levels of motivation from employees who are inspired to achieve their full potential and capabilities.

There are clear business advantages in improving engagement and becoming an Aon Hewitt Best Employer - a leading employer accreditation program. It's important to note that Aon Hewitt Best Employers on average have profit growth almost four times that of other organisations.

The three non-negotiables

When it comes to improving employee engagement, the pathway report emphasises that it is critical to focus on the following three non-negotiables:

  1. Embed engagement into business practices. Engagement improvement plans must be aligned with the business strategy and managed as an ongoing activity, rather than a one-off standalone initiative. Engaging people must be part of everyday business.

  2. Share accountability for change. More than nine out of ten (93 per cent) of those companies which improved employee engagement share responsibility for this between senior leaders, people managers and HR, compared with 66 per cent of other organisations. This shared responsibility helps align the actions of these key influencers of employee engagement in a business.

  3. Focus on the basics and good communication. There is no substitute for frequent, quality conversations between a team member and their immediate manager. Don't be over-reliant on HR systems, processes and frameworks as the sole method for improving engagement.

A focus on improvement

"Our research has validated the linkage between improving employee engagement and performance," says Hickey. "Organisations who are improving engagement do not necessarily have any secret tactics, extra resources or smarter people - they are just more disciplined about implementation in these areas."



For more information please contact:

Stephen Hickey
Employee Engagement
Practice Lead, Aon Hewitt
t: + 61 2 9253 8243

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