Employee engagement describes the relationship between an organisation and its employees. An engaged employee is enthusiastic about their work, they understand their role and how it relates to the wider organisation. Many books on management cite the story about a highly engaged janitor working at NASA who when asked by John F. Kennedy what he was doing, replied ‘I’m helping to put a man on the Moon’. Highly engaged employees understand this ‘big picture’ and understand and value the role they play therein.
It is no surprise then, that organisations with highly engaged employees perform better than those with less engaged workers. Studies have shown that employee engagement positively influences sales, retention and absenteeism, safety, and revenue and profits. With all these positive outcomes, it is important for employers to understand the concept and with that in mind, let’s take a closer look.
What Employee Engagement is Not
Employee engagement is not the same as employee happiness or satisfaction. An employee can be happy at work every day and show up to work every day and without complaint. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are engaged with their work and with the organisation. It is easy to increase employee happiness with little perks like free food and social events but that won’t necessarily impact the levels of employee engagement within an organisation.
Components of Employee Engagement
Employee engagement can seem like a vague and abstract concept but it can be divided into a number of more concrete components. Does the employee fit in well with the organisation? Do they trust their leaders? Do they care about their colleagues and their work? Are there open channels of communication within the organisation? Do employees get offered challenging assignments that have the opportunity for achievement? Finally, do employees have a level of autonomy and involvement in their work?
Why is Employee Engagement Important?
Employee engagement is important because it drives business performance. Businesses with high levels of employee engagement outperform their competition, are more productive, show higher levels of growth and innovation and lower employee turnover. Highly engaged employees have lower levels of absences, accidents, conflicts, and grievances which, of course, all have a positive effect on the bottom line.
How is Employee Engagement Measured?
Employee engagement can be measured by conducting a survey that has been developed for the purposes of measuring engagement. These surveys must be benchmarked against similar organisations to provide the most useful results. A simple survey can reveal current levels of engagement within the organisation
Employee engagement is a complex concept that encompasses a range of components. It is achieved by providing the right conditions for all employees to give their best each day and contribute to the overall success of the business. It is important to measure and monitor levels of employee engagement periodically to drive business performance and set your business apart from the competition.