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  • Writer's pictureAaron Zaslofsky

Quantifying culture, engagement, and brand reputation

Credibility of strategic communications professionals depends on our ability to orchestrate business outcomes. We’re rightfully expected to be business people with a communications mindset.

The greatest quantifiable impact we can have on modern business takes the form of culture, employee engagement, brand reputation, and leadership trust. These indicators of organizational health are discussed in many a boardroom, right alongside operating income, profit, and the broader P+L.

Use the curated statistics here to craft a business case or as a necessary benchmark for your work. Highly credible sources like Gallup, Aon Hewitt, Edelman, ADP, and Korn Ferry provide ready rationale to support investment in areas critical to the success of your organization. Metrics are categorized by:

  • Culture

  • Leadership

  • Brand reputation/trust

  • Employee engagement

  • Employee retention/satisfaction

All information here has been stripped down to its essence with links to the original source material. Share with senior leaders, peers, HR, and other vested parties. Most importantly, put this data to work as you orchestrate outcomes for your organization.

2017 Korn Ferry Hay Group: Engaging Through Change Report

Employee engagement

  • During a CEO or leader change, the percentage of employees who feel…

  • The company keeps them informed about the performance of the business is 13 points lower than the global average.

  • The company has good business prospects over the next 2-3 years is 10 points lower than the global average.

  • The company is effectively managed and well run is 7 points lower than the global average.

  • Poor performance is generally addressed effectively in the company is 11 points lower than the global average.

  • The company is able to retain high quality employees is 12 points lower than the global average.

  • The company is effectively organized and structured is 7 points lower than the global average.

  • Encouraged to take reasonable risks (such as trying new ideas or new ways of doing things) is 11 points lower than the global average.

2017 Aon Hewitt Trends in Global Employee Engagement

Employee engagement

  • Around the world, employee engagement has retracted in the last year. The two-point drop of engaged employees nearly offset the three-point rise seen in the 2016 Trends in Global Employee Engagement Report.

  • Just 24% of all employees fall into the Highly Engaged category, another 39% can be categorized as Moderately Engaged, 22% are Passively Engaged, and 15% are Actively Disengaged putting the global engagement score at 63% compared to 65% the previous year.

  • Top engagement opportunities globally:

  • Rewards and recognition

  • Employee Value Proposition

  • Senior leadership

  • Career opportunities

  • Enabling infrastructure

2017 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report

Brand reputation/trust

  • Trust in all four institutions—business, government, NGOs, and media—to do what is right declined broadly in 2017, a phenomenon not recorded since Edelman began tracking trust.

  • Further underscoring the trust crisis is the lack of credibility of leadership. Only 37% of the general population now say CEOs are credible.

Employee engagement

  • The importance of engaging with employees is further supported by the finding that they are the most credible spokespeople on every aspect of a company’s business, even financial earnings.

Other noteworthy stats

  • Nearly 6 in 10 believe search engines over human editors.

  • 53% do not regularly listen to people or organizations with whom they often disagree.

  • More than half say the pace of change in business and industry is moving too fast.

2017 ADP Research Institute: Evolution of Work 2.0

Employee retention/satisfaction

  • Two-thirds of employees are actively looking, or open to a new job.

  • Globally, 66% of employees are actively looking or open to a job move; employers predicted 58% of its workforce is doing so.

  • 46% of employees globally would consider a job that offered the same wages they receive today, or slightly less.

  • STEM workers are slightly less loyal than their non-STEM counterparts, but express much more satisfaction, accomplishment, recognition, purpose, value, motivation and engagement in their jobs.

  • Of employees who said they were not “actively” looking, 42% said they were open to the idea. Yet, employers predicted only 21% of their workforce would feel this way.

  • Satisfied workers give about 40 points higher ratings across individual aspects of talent management, especially onboarding, performance reviews, training, and career planning.


  • 45% of employees who are not looking feel connected to their company’s senior management, compared with 34% of those who are actively job hunting.

2017 Gallup State of the American Workplace Report


  • 22% of employees strongly agree the leadership of their organization has a clear direction for the organization.

  • 15% of employees strongly agree the leadership of their organization makes them enthusiastic about the future.

  • 13% of employees strongly agree the leadership of their organization communicates effectively with the rest of the organization.

Employee engagement/retention

  • 33% of U.S. employees are engaged — involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace.

  • Engaged employees make it a point to show up to work and do more work. Highly engaged business units realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity.

  • In high-turnover organizations, highly engaged business units achieve 24% lower turnover.

  • In low-turnover organizations, highly engaged business units achieve 59% lower turnover.

Employee engagement and shrinkage and product quality

  • Highly engaged business units experience a 28% reduction in shrinkage (the dollar amount of unaccounted-for lost merchandise) and a 40% reduction in quality defects.

Employee engagement and safety

  • Highly engaged business units realize a 70% decrease in employee safety incidents and a 58% decrease in patient safety incidents.

Employee engagement and customer outcomes

  • Highly engaged business units achieve a 10% increase in customer metrics and a 20% increase in sales.

Employee engagement and profit

  • Engaged employees are more present and productive; they are more attuned to the needs of customers; and they are more observant of processes, standards, and systems.

  • When taken together, the behaviors of highly engaged business units result in 21% greater profitability.

Employee engagement and earnings per share

  • Companies with engaged workforces have higher earnings per share (EPS). Publicly traded companies with EPS data available from 2011-2015 demonstrate that organizations that follow employee engagement best practices outperformed their competitors over recent years.

  • When comparing EPS from 2011-2013 and 2014-2015:

  • Publicly traded organizations that received the Gallup Great Workplace Award experienced 115% growth in EPS, while their competitors experienced 27% growth over the same period.

  • The actual EPS of the best-practice organizations grew at a rate that was 4.3 times greater than that of their competitors.

  • The best-practice organizations in the study had 11 engaged employees for every one actively disengaged employee. At the start of their engagement journey, these organizations had an average of two engaged employees for every one actively disengaged employee.

Employee engagement impact on employee segments

  • Employees who are supervised by highly engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged than those supervised by actively disengaged managers.

  • When examining executives and front-line managers (those who only manage individual contributors) separately, 45% of executives are engaged. vs. 29% of managers are engaged.

  • With one exception, women are more engaged than men in every type of job including management, professional, service, and support jobs. In leadership roles, however, men are more engaged than women (50% vs. 35%).

  • 50% of men in leadership roles are engaged. vs. 35% of women in leadership roles are engaged.

Employee engagement and company size

  • From 2012 to 2016, the engagement of small companies grew by five percentage points, while the engagement of other companies barely budged or even diminished.

  • Analysis shows that the 1,000-employee mark seems to be the tipping point for declining engagement within a company. When an organization reaches this size, a smaller percentage of employees strongly agree that they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day and that their organization's mission or purpose makes them feel their job is important.

  • The larger an organization, the greater the chance of inconsistency and misalignment. Managers may be responsible for more employees than they can support effectively. Workers may feel like just another number with no understanding of how their role connects to the company’s vision or strategies.

  • In small companies, people are more likely to know each other and the leaders of the organization — they know how all the pieces fit together and understand the value of their role.

  • As organizations expand, it can also become more challenging for leaders and managers to keep true to the core of their culture. The values that support culture may scatter as the workforce grows or scatters. Employees are perhaps less likely to see leaders, managers and coworkers modeling the behaviors that reflect or reinforce the organization’s foundation.

Access Perks blog

Employee engagement/retention

  • Disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually (The Conference Board – login required).

  • 88% of businesses plan to improve employee engagement in 2017 (Virgin Pulse).

  • 86% of C-suite leaders and 76% of senior management say corporate America is headed in the right direction, compared to 54% of staff-level employees (Addison Group).

  • 60% of employers believe employees often hear about new job openings within the company, but only about 30% of employees say they actually do (ADP).


  • 92% of employees say showing empathy is an important way to advance employee retention (Businessolver).

  • 49% of employees would describe their organization as empathetic (Businessolver).

  • 80% of employees would work more hours and 60% would take a pay cut to work for a more empathetic employer (Businessolver).

  • 80% of employees felt more engaged when their work was consistent with the core values and mission of their organization (IBM).

  • 41% of employees strongly agree that they know what their company stands for and "what makes it different from competitors" (Gallup).

  • 80% of businesses plan to improve their corporate culture in 2017 (Virgin Pulse).

  • 73% of employers believe a great corporate culture gives their organizations a competitive edge (CultureIQ).

  • 52% of HR pros cite management buy-in as the biggest barrier to strengthening culture (CultureIQ).

  • 42% of employees feel that executive leadership does not contribute to a positive company culture (Execu-Search).

  • 56% of employers say they are unable to actively manage culture because they lack leadership support; 45% say they don’t have enough time or resources (CultureIQ).

  • 52% of organizations believe that leadership buy-in is the biggest obstacle to strengthening a company’s culture; 83% identified executive leadership as the driver of company culture (CultureIQ).


  • 15% of employees strongly agree that the leadership of their organization makes them enthusiastic about the future (Gallup).

Brand trust/reputation

  • 61% of employees say trust between them and their senior management is very important to job satisfaction; only 33% are very satisfied with the level of trust in their organizations (SHRM).

  • 45% of U.S. employees said their senior leaders create trust and confidence (Willis Towers Watson).

  • 36% of job seekers say brand or reputation of a company is the most important consideration in a potential new job (Gallup).

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