Employees are increasingly engaged and more fulfilled around the world, though they remain happiest in Latin America compared to other markets, according to Aon Hewitt’s latest report. Worth, watching, however: Asia Pacific is seeing huge gains in employee satisfaction, giving it a potential competitive advantage.

Aon Hewitt said that this remains significant information for employers to know, and master.

“There are geopolitical, currency, labor access, energy, competitive and many other uncertainties that can disrupt an organization on its way to achieving its goals. Many of these challenges cannot be managed from the corner office, but what can be managed is the effectiveness of the individual company’s workforce,’ the report argues. “If organizations, especially the largest and most complex, are going to succeed in a time of volatility, executives and managers are going to have to understand and optimize the employee experience like never before.”

Globally, Aon Hewitt said its employee engagement index hit 65 percent, in 2015, three points higher than the year before. In Latin America, that engagement index was at 72 percent last year, and the number reached 65 percent in North America – both reflecting a 1-point increase.

Europe was 2 points higher in 2015 than in 2014, but the employee engagement index is at 60 percent; in Asia Pacific, the number is at 65 percent, reflecting a 5-point increase.

In Africa, Aon Hewitt scored employee engagement at 59 percent, a 3-point decline over the previous year.

How do you define engaged employees? The answer may vary from company to company, but Aon Hewitt explains it as “the level of an employee’s psychological investment in their organizations.”

“Getting all employees to understand what engagement is and what each person’s responsibility is in owning their engagement is a critical first step for an organization to create a culture of engagement,” the report said.

Aon Hewett’s report reflects data from more than 1,000 organizations around the world of all different sizes. Aon Hewitt said that data from more than 3 million employee responses in 2014 and over 4 million in 2015 informed its conclusions, and more than 60 companies are represented in the final results.

Employee’s were considered engaged if they said positive things about their employer, planned to stay with their organization for a long time, and if they worked to give their best in order to help their company succeed (areas the report terms as “say, stay and thrive”). Also measured: factors including employee value proposition, career opportunities, collaboration, diversity & inclusion and work life balance. Based on responses in those and other areas (15 in all), Aon Hewitt created its ranking, known as the Aon Hewitt Engagement Model.

Aon Hewitt said that employee engagement has risen the most in the Asia Pacific region, “anchored by two massive economies in China and India. The “say” ranking for this region rose three points to 69 percent, positive responses to the “stay” ranking are up 2 points at 60 percent, and the “strive” ranking edged up 5 points to 66 percent.

The biggest jumps for employees in Asia Pacific were positive responses as to whether they feel positively about rewards and recognition, and work life balance (up to 57 percent and 69 percent, respectively).

With all of these gains in Asia Pacific, Aon Hewitt said “companies in the region will have an easier time attracting, retaining and getting best efforts from employees.”

Source: Aon Hewitt