2018 Aon Best Employer Insights

Wood & Grieve Engineers (WGE) made history when Aon announced the 2018 Best Employers list on 30 July; a program which recognises an elite group of organisations across Australia and New Zealand who not only record high employee engagement scores but deliver outstanding people practices.

WGE was accredited for the seventh consecutive year (and eighth time overall), which is the longest accredited streak out of any Australian company since the program began in 2000.

In total, 106 organisations participated in the 2018 survey with just 15 receiving Best Employer status:

Below is an article which was published on the Aon website (first published 30 July 2018), which delves deeper into the significance of the survey and being accredited a Best Employer.

Being named an Aon Best Employer is about much more than an office full of happy employees. Aon Best Employers enjoy sales growth that is six times higher than that of their counterparts, and staff turnover rates that are 33% lower. And this is just the beginning. The data is clear – employee engagement is a source of significant competitive advantage.

As organisations look at how to optimise their engagement plans, we are pleased to announce the 2018 Aon Best Employers, and reveal insights into what has driven their remarkable engagement levels. Interestingly, 80% of the Aon Best Employers have indicated that employee engagement and motivation is one of their top three HR priorities. Looking to engagement as a key driver that supports the future success of both their organisation and their people – here are some of the key insights from our 2018 survey.

Senior Leaders Make all the Difference

Engagement surveys often look at the impact direct managers have on their people. However, this year’s survey revealed that senior leaders play a much more significant role in driving engagement. In fact, when comparing the priority areas between Aon Best Employers and organisations who ranked in the bottom quartile, 7 out of the top 10 results that differed the most were related to Senior Leadership.

As we know, senior leaders set the direction and the tone for their entire organisation, and are the key to a highly engaged workforce. However, Aon Best Employers take this to the next level, with senior leaders making an effort to be visible and accessible to employees, while seamlessly connecting their employees to the broader purpose, vision and strategy for the organisation. What’s more, employees trust their senior leaders’ capability and direction, and feel equally happy with their managers as they are with the senior leadership team.

Aon Best Employers get Creative with Benefits

While bonus buckets and income pools may not be overflowing, Best Employers know how to deliver meaningful benefits to their employees. Looking beyond monetary recognition, organisations with high levels of engagement get creative. These benefits range from leave – whether providing extra annual leave days, extra parental leave, split shifts and rostered days off for their salesforce – through to study assistance and superannuation bonuses. Other benefits that Best Employers offer include maternity leave top-ups, superannuation top up during parental leave and sabbatical year financial support. Throughout the survey responses, we also saw consistent feedback around agile work practices, to allow employees to balance their work and life in ways that feel appropriate for their circumstances. In doing so, they’re using a toolkit of options to engage their employees and not letting cost constraints get in the way.

Aon Best Employers have Reduced the Risks of New Hire Turnover

New hire turnover is a key organisational risk, which costs Australian companies billions each year, thanks to onboarding spend and productivity opportunity costs. This year’s survey revealed that new hires in Best Employer organisations are 17% more likely to stay in their role. How do they achieve this? They foster a collaborative work environment, with agile work practices like flexible desking, remote access and work from home policies that allow for autonomy, while breaking down communication barriers. They also start their engagement processes before a new hire begins their role – using text messages and social media to share workplace videos, which can connect new hires to the organisation and build attachment to the brand, purpose and ideal customer experience. Coupling this with above-award wages and access to senior leadership, new hires form an important part in a Best Employer’s engagement strategy.

Forget Preparing for Change – Agility is Key

While we may be existing in a “time of change,” employees don’t want to hear about it. Instead, Aon’s Best Employers are experts in organisational agility. They constantly evolve their strategies and their culture to be future-focused, and have an open mindset when it comes to innovation and technology, so they are equipped for success, regardless of the operating environment. They have a mindset to disrupt themselves first, before being disrupted by rapidly advancing technology and competitive threats.

Aon Best Employers Understand the Value of Digital Capabilities

With the rapid technology advances we have experienced in recent years, there is a strong need for employees who are digitally literate. With a good pipeline of IT specialists, Best Employers are always ready to expand their capacity to provide innovative solutions for their customers.

As well as having a warm talent pipeline, Best Employers do a better job at maintaining employees with digital capabilities, with Best Employers’ IT departments being 30% more engaged than their counterparts. Prompting their IT talent to “say, stay and strive,” Best Employers are regularly reviewing their performance rating system to reflect market conditions, and are providing IT talent with flexibility to perform at their best. Further, they’re reducing silos between IT and other departments, to encourage agile and collaborative workforces. Organisations who are particularly forward-thinking are also establishing specialised transformation departments that are dedicated to reviewing processes and structures based on market conditions.

With a focus on the future and a firm commitment to their people, it’s clear that Best Employers are reaping the rewards.

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