A new report: “Trends in Middle East and North Africa Employee Engagement” by Aon, a leading professional services firm,says employee engagement in the Middle East and North Africa stands at 69 percent, four percentage points above the global average of 65 percent and a five-point increase on 2017. The GCC continued to record strong employee engagement levels at 70 percent, higher than the regional average but a one-point decline on 2017. The Levant had the highest engagement score and increase across the region at 74 percent (previously 65 per cent) while North Africa, surged eight points from 2016 to 65 percent engagement levels. The UAE saw engagement drop two points from 70 percent to 68 percent. The most significant drop was in the motivation and willingness of employees to try new things for fear of mistakes. After maintaining the highest employee engagement score in the region for two consecutive years, Saudi Arabia dropped two points from 71 percent to 69 percent.

According to Aon, rewards and recognition ranked as the strongest driver of engagement this year, from a previous ranking of fourth in 2017 The most significant finding in the study is how businesses are now preparing for future technologies through employee engagement programs. They are now looking at nurturing the skills of staff and strengthening their technical know-how in areas such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Importantly, businesses have also set increased exposure to senior leadership and strategy as priority areas for their employees.

Christopher Page, CEO, Talent, Rewards & Performance, Aon Middle East and Africa, said the findings of the employee engagement study reflected the transformational changes that the region is witnessing “With increased focus by regional governments on embracing digital technology as a driver for socio-economic progress” he said,“it is rewarding to see that businesses are aligned with this vision and investing in building the future-tech skills of their employees. This fits in with the true definition of employee engagement which is all about the level of an employee’s psychological investment in his or her organization. Through enhanced employee engagement and continuous listening, businesses can not only achieve their organizational goals but also contribute to a happy and productive society.”

For the study, employees were asked if they said positive things about their organization and acted as advocates, if they intended to stay at their workplace for a long time, and if they were motivated to strive to give their best to help the organization succeed. In addition to this “Say, Stay, Strive” model, the Aon employee engagement model also evaluated sixteen work-experience dimensions. These included: career and development, collaboration, customer focus, decision-making, diversity and inclusion, empowerment/ autonomy, enabling infrastructure, employee value proposition, manager, mission/values, performance management, rewards and recognition, senior leadership, talent and staffing, work tasks and work/life balance. Across the Mena region, the study observed an increased focus on work-life balance, with the largest gains recorded in rewards and recognition, work tasks, work-life balance, senior leadership and talent and staffing.

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