WHAT IS EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENTEmployee engagement is the emotional commitment that characterizes employees with respect to their organization and its business goals. This emotional commitment is a reflection of the employees' interest in their work and the success of their company. They do not just work for a paycheck, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organization's goals.
Employee engagement is a heightened emotional connection that an employee feels for his or her organization, that influences him or her to exert greater discretionary effort to his or her work.
During these hard economic times, the most optimistic leaders are thinking about what they can do to make a difference now. Increasing productivity, retaining the right people, and driving overall performance improvements to ensure sustainability are all major concerns.
Top leaders have focused more on employee engagement, knowing that it can be a significant driver of productivity. These leaders know that in order for companies to perform well, they will have to find a way to make their employees feel happier at work, more sensitive to the business objectives, and more motivated to make a strong contribution.
Successful companies will promote the idea that engagement is a responsibility of all leaders. Senior leadership should drive the effort to engage employees, ensuring open communication, endorsing surveys and other feedback, driving improvements, and ultimately creating a culture where engagement is valued and prioritized. The process begins with an understanding of current engagement levels, asking the right questions and taking the right steps to drive better results.
Expert consensus in the field of business psychology and human resources is that out of approximately 100 million people in the U.S. with full-time jobs, engaged employees are only 30% of the total. Non-engaged employees are the majority of workers at 50%, and disengaged employees make up the remaining 20%.
Statistical analysis has shown that the most engaged employees are less costly to the company for reasons like lower healthcare costs, lower absenteeism, and lower risks to accidents and mistakes, but of course, their overall productivity is much higher. Non-engaged employees are essentially 'zombies' who put the time but not the energy at work. Actively disengaged employees are not just angry at work; they are acting out their unhappiness. These employees are the exact opposite of engaged employees, and unfortunately end up costing companies in the U.S. an estimated 500 billion dollars annually.
WHAT EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT IS NOTKevin Kruse | Forbes.com | June 2012
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement does not mean employee happiness. Someone might be happy at work, but that does not necessarily mean they are working hard, productively on behalf of the organization. While company game rooms, free massages and Friday keg parties are fun–and may be beneficial for other reasons–making employees happy is different from making them engaged. Employee engagement does not mean employee satisfaction. Many companies have “employee satisfaction” surveys and executives talk about “employee satisfaction”, but the bar is set too low. A satisfied employee might show up for her daily 9-to-5 without complaint. However, that same “satisfied” employee might not go the extra effort on her own, and she will probably take the recruiter's call luring her away with a 10% bump in pay. Satisfied is not enough.
These are other statements referring to what engagement is not:
- Engagement is not something we are born with.
- Engagement is not portable.
- Engagement is not constant.
- Higher pay alone does not inherently increase engagement.
- Retention is not engagement.
DRIVERS OF ENGAGEMENT AND DISENGAGEMENTSummarizing the recent literature in this topic, you will find that the following list accurately describes:
Top drivers of engagement
- The organization respects its employees.
- Everyone is treated fairly in this organization.
- There is an atmosphere of trust in this organization.
- The leaders of this organization really know what they are doing.
- The actions of our senior leaders support this organization's mission and values.
- It really feels like everybody is on the same team in this organization.
- Our senior leaders demonstrate strong leadership skills.
- The senior leaders in this organization are highly ethical.
- People with different ideas are valued in this organization.
- Our senior leaders are genuinely interested in the opinions of all employees.
Top drivers of disengagement
- Problems with direct supervisors
- Lack of respect or confidence in senior leadership
- Basic needs
STRATEGIES FOR EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENTEmployee engagement strategy plays a vital role in motivating the performance levels of the workforce. A motivated employee will seek out ways to accomplish a task. In today's business environment, the nature of the workforce is changing rapidly thanks to a fast-growing tech-friendly young population whose imagination can only be challenged by the limitations of modern computer and communication technology.
Human Resources initiatives will often focus on implementing a strategy for On-boarding thinking that an employee who joins the organization needs quick exposure to the relevant policies and procedures, as well as to the company culture. Furthermore, Human Resources will also consider implementing Learning and Development events to satisfy the acute necessity to keep new and existing employees updated with new skills, processes, regulations, and all knowledge required to perform the job.
Newer strategies are being formulated to include Social networks as a tool to improve employee communication and engagement. Social networks are the result of mixing communication and technology together. Social media platforms connect all of us permanently to the rest of the world. Their user-friendly and interactive features help transcend geographies and cultural boundaries. Their built-in interactive components facilitate the transmission and reception of messages in all kinds of formats (text, audio, static images, animated images, video, etc.).
Amanda McGrory-Dixon | BenefitsPro.com | April 2013
Social Media: A tool to boost employee engagement, productivity
While more traditional electronic communication tools, such as email and instant messaging, still have their place in the organization, social media provides another outlet that can help employees receive immediate feedback and engage with fellow coworkers.
Even in the best of times, a workforce that is not satisfied and driven to perform at its best means the organization is performing at a fraction of its potential. The organization is therefore spending more to create and deliver products and services than necessary-an impact on profitability that most companies cannot afford.