Latin Americans most engaged in their workNews added by Benefits Pro on May 1, 2014

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By Dan Cook

Employee engagement appears to be up in most of the world and is highest in Latin America, according to Aon Hewitt.

It was the second consecutive year that the Latin Americans came out ahead, though their engagement level fell from 74 percent in 2012 to 70 percent in 2013. In fact, it was the only decline reported among the five major world regions.

All of this intelligence comes from Aon Hewitt’s 2014 “Trends in Global Employee Engagement” study, which gleaned data from more than 6,000 companies in 155 countries.

Overall, engagement rose from 60 percent to 61 percent, according to the survey.

Leading the way was Africa/Middle East, which rose from 2012’s lowest ranking, 53 percent, to 61 percent in 2013.

Asia Pacific edged up 3 percent in 2013, to 61 percent, North American engagement increased from 63 percent to 65 percent, and European workers were exactly as engaged in 2013 as they were in 2012, with 57 percent reporting they were engaged in their labors.

But when Aon Hewitt sliced and diced a bit more finely, the findings indicated that in fact some areas of engagement have jumped while others have mysteriously cratered.

“Perceptions of certain areas like safety and benefits have improved (+6 points and +5 points, respectively), yet there is deterioration in strategic areas like business unit leadership (-4 points), innovation (-2 points) and a compelling employee value proposition (falling 2 points for each of the last two consecutive years),” the study reported.

“A number of factors, including social, demographic, technological and macro-level economic changes, have challenged business leaders to create agile, innovative organizations that can grow,” said Dr. Ken Oehler, Aon Hewitt’s global engagement practice leader. “But creating this type of organization is impossible without having engaged employees, and companies with low-to-moderate engagement levels will struggle.”

The study confirmed the results of another research project sponsored by Towers Watson that demonstrated without doubt that high-performing companies understand the elements crucial to engagement.

“High-performing companies … drive better business outcomes. Marked by strong 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). They even outperform those companies with high employee engagement alone,” Aon Hewitt said.

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