Weather tough times with high engagement

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Businesses with high levels of employee engagement are better prepared to weather tough economic times than others, achieving 50% higher Total Shareholder Return, according to the 2013 Aon Hewitt Best Employers study for Australia and New Zealand.

Aon Hewitt’s study has been conducted every year since 2001; this year it incorporated survey data from 100,000 employees and 125 organisations.

2013’s Best Employers include the New Zealand companies Chorus, FedEx Express (New Zealand), Frucor Beverages, and Express Data. They are among 19 Australasian companies that have gained accreditation on the basis of their high levels of employee engagement and outstanding people practices

“All employers are confronted by the same set of economic circumstances, but our Best Employers are able to do a substantially better job of leading and managing the workforce to create high levels of engagement. This mitigates many of the economic issues they face – leading to better results,” Stephen Hickey, employee engagement lead at Aon Hewitt, said.

The current economic uncertainty does not distract the Best Employers from focusing on engagement, according to Hickey. “It is the decisions that an organisation’s leaders are making about how to lead it when times are tough that can dictate the levels of engagement,” he said.

Examples of such leadership that differentiate the Best Employers include, a focus on people leadership capability, a drive to connect middle managers to the broader business strategy, and the willingness to identify and single out for rewards an organisation’s best performers.

Other key findings from 2013 Aon Hewitt Best Employers study:

  • Best Employers achieve four times higher profit growth than other organisations
  • Organisations with high employee engagement achieve 50% higher Total Shareholder Return outcomes than other organisations
  • In 2012 and 2013, 38% of organisations improved their level of employee engagement
  • 83% of Best Employers have an explicit employer brand, compared to only 39% of other organisations



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