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Despite low-to-moderate economic growth in both regions, new research from Aon Hewitt, the global talent, retirement and health solutions business of Aon plc (NYSE: AON), shows a contrast in the progress that companies in Canada and the U.S. have made to improve employee engagement levels.

Aon Hewitt’s Trends in Global Employee Engagement study represents the perspectives of more than four million employees around the world, including more than 1.7 million employees in North America.

Overall, U.S. companies saw modest improvement in overall engagement scores—from 63 percent in 2014 to 64 percent in 2015. However, across the 15 different engagement dimensions measured in the report, 12 improved in the U.S., including four out of the five top engagement drivers:

  • Employee value proposition (+5)
  • Talent & staffing (+3)
  • Enabling infrastructure (0)
  • Career opportunities (+5)
  • Performance management (+10)

“With economic recovery and most cost cutting efforts behind them, U.S. companies are realizing that the way forward to drive productivity and profitability in a tight labor market is to re-think the way they lead and manage their people to create a more engaging work experience,” said TeryluzAndreu, Aon’s U.S. Engagement leader.  “Many seem to be ‘doubling down’ on talent as a way to spur growth, despite economic pressures and volatility. These efforts are reflected in the improvements we see across almost all engagement dimensions in the U.S.”

Contrast in Engagement Levels for Canada
Aon’s report reveals a vastly different outcome in Canada. While Canada has higher engagement levels than the U.S. (69 percent), there was no change in engagement levels from 2014 to 2015.

Aon’s research also shows largely the same top engagement drivers in the U.S. and Canada, with just senior leadership replacing performance management in the top five drivers. However, unlike the U.S, Canada only had one improvement across the 15 engagement dimensions measured in the report—a one point gain in work fulfillment.

“Low growth and high unemployment in Western Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador due to depressed oil and commodity prices are driving higher engagement in these regions for those who still have jobs as employee expectations are brought into line with reality,” said Neil Crawford, leader of Aon Hewitt’s Talent practice in Canada. “At the same time, lower oil costs and a lower Canadian dollar are fueling modest growth in Central Canada, tightening labor markets and putting pressure on employee expectations. The net effect is very little year over year change in overall perception of the work environment.”

Click here to access the full Global Employee Engagement Report.

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