Employee engagement is a measure of someone’s attitude at work; how they think, feel and act towards helping their employer meet their goals. Find out how engagement is measured and how engaged employees benefit a business
Engaged, disengaged or somewhere in between?
Employee engagement holds a central position in the world of work, being both impacted by organisational practices and behaviours and an impactor of business performance. It’s not surprising therefore that it’s become so ubiquitous in employee research today.
But what is engagement and how do you measure it?
An easy way to think about employee engagement is to view it through 3 different types of employees we might have come across at work:
Engaged employees – motivated individuals who take an active role in driving their team forward to meet the organisation’s goals
Disengaged employees – employees who are not motivated and hold the team and the organisation back from achieving their goals
Neither engaged nor disengaged – ‘free wheeling’ employees who don’t play an active role but don’t prevent the team or organisation moving forward
According to the latest research, a more scientific definition of employee engagement is “An individual employee’s cognitive, emotional and behavioural state directed toward desired organisational outcomes”1
That breaks engagement down into three parts – how someone thinks (cognitive), feels (emotional) and acts (behavioural) in helping their employer meet their goals.
Understanding not only the levels of engagement of your people but also what causes those levels of engagement are essential if you want to build a team with more engaged employees and fewer disengaged employees.
Understanding the key drivers of engagement is essential if you want to know the levers to pull to build an engaged team.
Why care about employee engagement?
Intuitively, it’s a no-brainer – would you prefer more employees who have the desire and drive to move the organisation forward, or more who are ‘free wheeling’ or actively preventing the company reaching its goals?
But it’s not just intuition; numerous research has shown that when employees are engaged they’re more inclined to work harder and solve problems, more likely to grow and develop faster, engage in prosocial behaviours at work and stay longer at a company.
And it has an impact across the business:
Increased performance – Scientific research clearly shows that business unit-level engagement is predictive of future customer experience metrics, productivity, and financial performance1
Lower attrition – Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their organization, which means reduced costs in having to recruit new staff, train them and wait for them to ramp up to full productivity
Increased revenue – According to Bain & Company, companies with highly engaged workers grew revenues 2.5x as much as those with low levels of engagement2.
A better customer experience – 70% of engaged employees indicate they have a good understanding of how to meet customer needs; only 17% of non-engaged employees say the same (Right Management)
More engaged employees help reduce the costs of attrition and lead to increased revenue, business performance and a better customer experience
How to measure employee engagement
Engagement measures typically focus on 3 core areas:
Organisational commitment – how committed employees are toward a company and their willingness to go above and beyond as a result
Job involvement – how interesting employees find their work
Overall satisfaction – general levels of satisfaction with their professional situation
Each element is as important as the next, so when measuring engagement it’s essential to understand each one.
After all, someone can score highly for organisational commitment and be committed to their employer, but not to their individual role and vice versa.
When you have all three elements present in an employee, it can add to something greater than the sum of its parts.
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