Employee engagement worldwide remains at its lowest level since 2008, according to a recent Aon Hewitt report, with the largest drop in engagement being employees’ perception of how companies manage performance.

 Workers around the world believe their employers haven’t provided the appropriate focus or level of management that would lead to increased productivity, nor have they done a good job connecting individual performance to organizational goals.

“A significant number of employees are not motivated enough to provide extra effort beyond the job requirements and many anticipate leaving their employers in the near future,” says Pete Sanborn, global practice leader for talent and organization consulting with Aon Hewitt.

 Employees’ estimation of how their organizations manage performance has dropped nearly eight percentage points globally so far in 2011, when compared to the benchmark database. Engagement scores connected to managing performance are also low. Career opportunities has a 42% global satisfaction level, recognition is at 40% globally, tools and resources is at 51% worldwide, while senior leadership scored 48% globally.

“Our research continues to show a strong correlation between employee engagement and financial performance, even in turbulent financial times,” says Sanborn. “For example, in 2010, organizations with engagement levels of 65% or greater outperformed the total stock market index and posted total shareholder returns 22% higher than average. On the other hand, companies with engagement of 45% or less had a total shareholder return that was 28% lower than the average return in 2010.”

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