Blog·Employee Engagement

August 24, 2021

Global Employee Engagement Trends

How is employee engagement faring in regions around the world? Read this abridged version of the super interesting Aon report from 2018.

Employee engagment is defined as ‘the level of an employee’s psychological investment in their ascribed organization’. This can be further explained by employee engagement being the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work.

Employee engagement can’t be imposed nor can it be instilled into your workforce. It’s about creating a culture of recognition and allowing that to inspire and motivate your employees leading to higher levels of engagement. Over the last 20 years, there has been an organizational culture shift towards the importance of employee engagement. That is, in the way employees are treated, valued, and recognized for the contribution they have to an organization's success. But what of current employee engagement trends? Below we review the global trends found by Aon in their most recent report.

Explore what PeopleGoal can provide for your employee engagement with our engagement app. Or read our essential guide on employee engagement here.

What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is defined as ‘the level of an employee’s psychological investment in their ascribed organization’. This can be further explained by employee engagement being the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work. Employee engagement goes beyond activities, games, and events. Employee engagement drives performance. Facilitating your business in terms of reaching its goals.

Employe Engagement definition

Aon reported that global engagement has rebounded to an all-time high of 65%. Therefore, globally almost two-thirds of the employed population feel engaged with their organization. However, the report then goes onto breaking down engagement into continents and countries, wherein interesting differences arise.

Have a look at our employee engagement survey here - which makes analyzing your companies engagement levels simple, personalized, and streamlined.

Employee Engagement Trends in North America

Employe Engagement in North America

In Canada, engagement dropped 1% to 69%. Employee engagement in the US remained at 64% despite large geopolitical divisions in the country which one may have thought would have an influence similar to that in the UK. Aon argues that US economic growth neutralizes political anxiety.

If you are a company operating from North America it is key that you upkeep your employee engagement as high as possible, with research by Gallup identifying that North American workers had the highest stress levels globally. Which in turn can reduce engagement and increase the risk of burnout. Women were identified to have higher stress levels than men at sixty-two % compared with 52% of male workers.

Employee Engagement Trends in Europe

Employe Engagement in Europe

From the fastest-growing region to the lowest-scoring region! Overall, Europe’s employee engagement levels increased by 2% to reach 60%. Between European countries, the differences are particularly interesting.

Amongst the greatest-improving countries in the world, Europe contains four of them: France (+7%); The Netherlands (+8%); Austria and Sweden (+9%). Aon suggests that improved engagement could be in part the result of an economic rebound in previously struggling European markets. Italy, Portugal, and Greece all reported improvements in employee engagement. Greece, in particular, showed a rise from -0.2% to 2.6%. his growth allows for a positive outlook for 2018 engagement scores.

Among the European countries which showed a decline in the UK. Employee engagement scores in the UK dropped 3%, representing the biggest decline among the 29 biggest global economies. Aon argues that a large contributing factor to the decline may be Brexit. Dan Riley, Aon’s European Talent Practice Market Leader writes:

“Employee engagement in the U.K. dropped significantly as they still are trying to find their way after the 2016 Brexit vote”

Aon’s research into Engagement During Times of Change indicates that engagement may take several years to recover after such large-scale changes.

Employee Engagement Trends in Latin America

Employee Engagement LA

Employee engagement in Latin America plateaued in 2017, but worryingly for 2018, engagement declined in key markets including: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Chile, and Colombia. When one compares the Latin American employee engagement scores to global engagement, the difference is stark. The region has reached its joint highest score at 75% in 2017, compared to the global average of 65%.

Research by A Great Place to Work found a really key point that workers in Latin American countries prize psychological safety the most at their workplace. As their work tends to become a haven of structure from the outside political unrest, empowering workers to become engaged.

Employee Engagement Trends in Asia and the Pacific

This region re-reached its joint highest employee engagement scores at 65% in 2017, following a 3% decline in 2016. The region’s largest economies showed a resurgence: China (+2%); Japan (+2%) and India (+2%).

Employe Engagement in Asia

Recent research by Gallup further supports this as they found that in 2021 employee engagement in South, East, and Southeast Asia is not high -- at 24%, 14%, and 23%, respectively, though it is similar to the global engagement average of 20% - and improving it could have a great impact on wellbeing

Employee Engagement Trends in Africa

Employe Engagement in Africa

Africa constitutes the largest increase for a region, with a 5% increase to 66%. On its own, this is remarkable, but even more impressive when you consider the rapid increase in engagement over the last five years. In 2012, just over half (51%) of the population were engaged, compared to currently where that figure is just under two-thirds (66%).

It is the greatest ascent of the studied regions. Each of Africa’s five largest economies (South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria, and Morocco) showed growth in employee engagement. Incredibly, Nigeria followed a 9% increase in 2016 with another 9% increase in 2017!

Employee engagement is increasingly becoming recognized as an integral part of organizational culture. Currently, employee engagement is at a global joint all-time high. Employees want to be recognized. They want to feel valued. The better an organization fosters a culture of employee engagement the greater the benefits.

Global Employee Engagement: How does your company match up?

Employee engagement is clearly very important in the workplace, improving workers' motivation, performance, and job satisfaction. Focusing your HR efforts on improving employee engagement can completely revolutionize your business and help you and your company to reach its goals.

To learn more, feel free to read our other blogsreviews or FAQ’s to find out more. You can even try our platform in a free 14-day trial with no subscription needed.

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Our references for further reading:

Aon - 2018 Employee Engagement Report

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