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The Biggest Driver of Employee Engagement in the US

The Biggest Driver of Employee Engagement in the US

Our largest global study of workplace culture reveals what matters to employees differs by region.

3.4 million employees across 90 countries and almost 10,000 organizations told us how they experience their workplaces. In this pool, we found that while there are common threads that make a workplace great, the experience differs in each country. 

We also found that globally, the experience of high-trust, high-performing workplaces are a stark contrast to the average workplaces. The workplaces creating the best employee experiences make up our list of the 2019 World’s Best Workplaces.

The way forward varies by region

Great Place to Work® analyzed more than 50 workplace culture themes. Areas such as fair treatment, celebrations, values, and work-life balance. We found that employee happiness hinges on different things depending on where you live and work. 

Employees in Latin America prize psychological safety the most at their workplace. A haven from the outside political unrest. For workers in Europe, fairness is where organizations should focus if they want employees to give their best.

Asia and the Middle East is the region with fewest happy employees. A sustainable work-life balance is the strongest predictor of a great workplace here. In the United States and Canada, it’s a sense of community that galvanizes people in good times and in bad times.

Community counts in US and Canada

At the Best Workplaces in this region, employees express a sense of winning together when times are good. And sticking together when times are tough.

Some key features separate the Best Workplaces from other organizations here. These include celebrating special events, sharing profits and treating layoffs as a last resort. The importance of unity extends to giving back to the community and being able to count on people to cooperate.

US and Canadian organizations are wrestling with turbulent business conditions. They have responded with frequent restructurings and “lean” management styles. Those tactics, though, can mean job cuts, inadequate resources and uncertainty. 

The Best Workplaces in the US and Canada recognize that amid disruption it is important to convey a sense of solidarity—in good times and bad.

Employees at workplaces in the US and Canada often call out community as what makes their workplace great: 

“[We have an] incredible sense of community and inclusive environment for all colleagues, and a management team that genuinely cares about wellbeing and work-life balance for all.” - American Fidelity Assurance Company employee. 

The best in US and Canada show millennials the money

A deeper dive into our data shows that the Best Workplaces in this region do an excellent job of sharing their success with employees across different generations.

Profit-sharing is especially important to members of the millennial generation. As a group, millennials owe a great deal in student loans. Millennials (many of whom are in the 26 to 34 age range) also have struggled to catch up since the Great Recession. This is something great workplaces are accounting for.

When it comes to creating a healthy working environment, we found it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. But one thing stands true no matter what part of the globe you are in: creating a high-trust culture is better for business. Curious about employee experience across the world? Read our full analysis of the World’s Best Workplaces.


Ed Frauenheim