What is Employee Engagement?

What is Employee Engagement?

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Employee engagement is the quality of an employee’s feelings and their connection to your organization, as well as the energy and effort they bring to the job day-to-day.

At the heart of employee engagement is the idea that employees are emotionally invested in the organization and giving their best at work. They’re performing at optimal productivity. They work smarter, not harder. They’re happy to go the extra mile. They make contributions they wouldn’t otherwise make, and intrinsically motivated to do it.

Though that definition may seem straightforward, it’s easy to confuse engagement with other important HR health metrics.

Employee engagement is not:

1. Employee satisfaction. An employee can be satisfied in their job without being engaged. Employees are satisfied when they’re simply able to avoid feelings of unhappiness in their job; they’re engaged when they’re committed, interested, and are highly attached to the outcome of their work.

2. Employee retention. Don’t get us wrong, employee retention is also critically important. You can’t have engaged employees if they’ve left for other opportunities. The good news here? Engaged employees tend to stick around.

3. The employee experience. Much like job satisfaction, the employee experience is something that must precede engagement; but they’re not one-in-the-same. Great employee experience is a gift given from the employer to the employee; engagement is the gift the employee gives back.

Engage employees, no matter where they’re working
How to Engage Employees Anywhere: A 5-Part FrameworkImage for a 5-Part Framework to Engage Employees Wherever They Work -- a blue globe on a blue backgroun

Why is employee engagement important?

Ultimately, employee engagement is key for employee success- and it carries a competitive advantage. According to Gallup survey results, highly engaged organizations experience:

  • 21% greater profitability
  • 41% reduction in absenteeism
  • 17% increase in productivity
  • 25-65% lower turnover
  • 10% higher customer engagement
  • 48% fewer staff safety incidents
  • Higher stock value

How’s that for value? Supporting engagement in the workplace not only improves the quality of life for employees and their leaders, but it also translates into recovered revenue and new business.

How to improve employee engagement

Most business leaders have come to understand the importance of engagement, but they don’t always know why, or what to do about it.

The idea of dedicating resources to engagement initiatives can seem vague at best, and frivolous at worst. To help you get started, here are 8 ways to help improve your overall engagement levels.

🙌  Show appreciation to boost employee engagement

Say “thank you” regularly. A whopping 66% of employees admit they’d quit a job if they felt undervalued and unappreciated. Luckily, employee recognition is an easy, low-cost strategy to fight disengagement. The secret? Recognition needs to flow from all directions — managers, teams, and individual employees must feel empowered to recognize their peers for a job well done. With a solution like WorkTango’s Recognition & Rewards, any member of the organization can offer recognition– at any time, from anywhere. Pair verbal praise with a gift of reward points to express appreciation even more powerfully. As individuals accumulate points, they can choose the item or experience from the Rewards Catalog that means the most to them. Customization ensures rewards have their maximum impact–because earning something you really care about naturally leads to engagement.

Include leadership in the process. Having executive leaders and managers involved with recognition and engagement helps keep employees connected to the company’s purpose. For example, have the CEO recognize individuals or teams that live out the organization’s values– encourage them to give a personal shout-out in the recognition feed or to offer public “thanks” at the next organization-wide meeting. Remember: What gets recognized gets repeated– so celebrate those who are setting the pace in terms of engagement.

📈  Focus on employee growth

Create career growth opportunities. In a survey of highly engaged top performers, 45% cited professional or skill development as a top motivator, and another 13% said opportunities for advancement mattered to them. Try offering employees a mentorship lunch with an executive or reward them for taking a class to show them that their growth matters to you.

Give frequent and specific feedback. Industry leaders are ditching outdated methods of performance management (like the annual performance review) for continuous employee success conversations. More frequent feedback gives team members a stronger direction, makes it easier for them to perform well, and gives them a fuller sense of meaning.

🧩  Build employee engagement by encouraging connection

Encourage regular 1-on-1 Sync-Ups. Managers should meet at least once a week with individual team members. This opens the door to more regular discussions on performance and can fast track employee development.

Let employees lead. Whether it’s teaching a training course, designing a team-building activity, or getting a group together for a fun run — asking employees to take the lead on a project that matters to them instills a sense of unity and connection with fellow team members.

🌱  Ground employee engagement in meaningful impact

Communicate your core values. Do this early and often — not just during onboarding. Bulletin boards, performance conversations, and newsletters are easy opportunities to reinforce the values that drive your organization forward.

Align employee work with organizational goals. Did you know that only 7% of employees understand their role in achieving high-level business goals? Setting meaningful work goals can help employees plug into the bigger picture and feel connected to group wins. WorkTango’s Goals & Feedback solution supports alignment by giving  every team member constant access to organizational, team, and individual goals. Record and track with Goals & Feedback… and then celebrate success with Recognition & Rewards.

Assessing employee engagement

By now you may be wondering how you’ll know if your employees are engaged. Well– why not ask them? With WorkTango’s Surveys & Insights solution, you can do exactly that. Send engagement or pulse surveys and track changes over time. Slice results by department, region, team, or any other designation you choose. Tuning into the employee voice by regularly asking employees for their feedback– and then acting on their input– boosts engagement and supports a great employee experience.

Make an impact on your employee engagement.
12 Employee Engagement Ideas that Actually Work

Ready for your own engagement program?

At WorkTango, we’re revolutionizing how the world’s most forward-thinking companies engage and inspire their people. We offer the only Employee Experience Platform that enables meaningful recognition and rewards, supports alignment through goal setting and feedback, and offers actionable insights through employee surveys.

WorkTango is built for the workplace we all want to be a part of – where priorities become clear, achievements are celebrated, and employees have a voice. So if you’re ready to make work lives better, schedule a demo today.

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