Report: U.S. employee engagement dipped in 2017

Chaotic politics, automation and a shifting business landscape portend an anxious future for many American workers—and for employers keen on keeping spirits high.


For employers, employee engagement is a bit like the Loch Ness monster: great for business and highly sought after, but exceedingly hard to capture.

For employers interested in wrangling the elusive engagement beast, Aon’s 2018 Trends in Global Employee Engagement report is chock-full of guidance and relevant data. Aon collected responses from more than 5 million employees at more than 1,000 organizations worldwide to understand how staffers rate their jobs and overall workplace experience.

The study, which defined engagement as “the level of an employee’s psychological investment in their organization,” measured 15 work-experience factors:

1. Employee value proposition

2. Reputation

3. Career opportunities

4. Collaboration

5. Diversity and inclusion

6. Empowerment and autonomy

7. Enabling infrastructure

8. Learning and development

9. Manager

10. Performance management

11. Rewards and recognition

12. Senior leadership

13. Talent and staffing

14. Work fulfillment

15. Work/life balance

Aon’s study used a “Say, Stay, Strive” model. Survey respondents are asked:

  • If they say positive things about their organization and act as advocates
  • If they intend to stay at their organization for a long time
  • If they are motivated to strive to give their best efforts to help the organization succeed

With those metrics in mind, the report found global engagement to be 65 percent. Sixty-four percent of U.S. workers reported being engaged at work, which is down one point from last year. Moreover, the report points out that “every one of the 15 work experience dimensions declined.” In addition, “This could be an early indication that engagement may recede further in the near future.”

As for which factors influenced engagement the most, Aon found:

This year

Top engagement opportunities globally

Last year

No. 1

Rewards and recognition

No. 1

No. 2

Senior leadership

No. 3

No. 3

Career opportunities

No. 4

No. 4

Employee value proposition

No. 2

No. 5

Enabling infrastructure

No. 5

If you doubt the power of employee engagement, Aon’s research has shown that “a five-point increase in employee engagement is linked to a three-point increase in revenue growth in the subsequent year.” That could be a big bump in your bottom line—not to mention a boon for recruiting, retention and morale.

To learn more about global engagement trends, read the rest of Aon’s study here.

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