Companies in the public and private sectors across the world are faltering when it comes to employee engagement, yet Africa shines. Progress in employee engagement has stalled or is rolling backwards. The significant increases in employee engagement have been partially eroded due to global anxiety and rapid technological advances creating uncertainty about job losses, although Africa’s engagement levels continue to rise.

A recent Global Employee Engagement Survey from Aon shows that Africa and Latin America are leading the way when it comes to increasing Employee Engagement.  Although globally engagement decreased from 65% to 63%, Africa increased from 59% to 61% putting it ahead of Europe at only 58%.  Latin America leads the way globally with 75% score in Employee Engagement.

A positive development is the significant increase in Talent Management, Collaboration and the Employee Value Proposition indicators, showing that companies across the continent are making a concerted effort to creatively retain, develop, talented employees, but also to”  e increase of female professionals from 33% to 43%, an and engage talented employees.

However, rapid technological advances are a threat to job creation.  Driverless cars, drones, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, Machine learning and other technologies are competing with jobs like never before.

Economic challenges and the rise of populism across Europe and the USA are impacting on corporations and employee morale across the globe.  These are likely to create further anxiety in organizations impact the work experience, creating a new challenge for leaders to address.

Africa has done better than many other countries. Political volatility has settled and Nigeria in particular experienced an impressive 9 point gain in employee engagement.  The dimensions that have increased significantly in Africa, signal an increase in investments and innovation, both important indicators for improved economic performance.

A whopping 17 point increase in Talent Management measure how well organizations attract, retain and develop their people. The effort being put into this by organizations is immense and is clearly paying dividends for organizations across the continent.

According to the Aon Report: “A holistic talent reward and performance strategy should be the bedrock of any organization aiming at making Africa an important part of its future growth strategy.”

I believe that it’s not enough to simply measure employee engagement.  Engagement is about much more than just job satisfaction.  It’s about an emotionally commitment where employees choose to go the extra mile and give the very best of themselves at work.

Engagement comes from the employees’ work experience.  In the past, it has been accepted that engagement has a lot to do with one’s direct supervisor and little to do with one’s pay.

The Aon Survey places reward and recognition as the number one factor in engagement.  This has a great deal to do with the tectonic shifts in the external political, social and technological environments, leaving employees feeling more threatened than engaged.

This is also reflected, during this current climate of economic uncertainty, by leaders that are focused on viability and survival at the expense of leading authentically by building deep trusting relationships.

On the flip side, it’s a time that offers employers a real opportunity to create a direct and transparent link between pay for performance whilst building in a number of “feel good employee experiences”.   The African continent in particular offers multiple opportunities for employees to be involved in mentoring projects in communities or schools, corporate social investment projects and other community projects where they can make a meaningful difference.