Susanne complains every day to her colleagues about her job and the company.
Keisha is almost never sick – unless it’s the day before or after a holiday or weekend.
Jamal dutifully reports to work from 9 am to 5 pm daily – no exceptions.
Which of these employees is actively engaged?
If your answer is Jamal, think again.
Employee engagement is a term coined in the early 90s that has now become a frequent point of discussion in almost every corporate board room. Definitions can vary, but the fundamental shared viewpoint is that an actively engaged employee is one who is fully committed and enthusiastic about their work, the organization, and its interests.
When we discuss types of employee engagement, we can categorize employees into 1 of 3 levels:
- Actively Engaged
- Not Engaged
- Actively Disengaged
These are your champions of the organization. The employees who are not only productive, but loyal to the team, and optimistic about the organization as a whole. They participate in work social events and willingly go above and beyond.
Why isn’t this Jamal? See below.
These are your coasters. They show up and they do what is required – but nothing more. They feel no personal attachment to the organization and are content to perform at just the bare minimum. (E.g., Jamal and Keisha).
These employees can be especially harmful to the business. They are overtly disinterested, defiant, and demoralizing. Their negativity can spread throughout the organization like cancer. (E.g., Susanne).
Why is employee engagement important? It’s not just about job satisfaction or ensuring that the employee is happy at work (although that is important). Employee engagement also directly contributes to your bottom line. Here’s a few ways how:
- High employee engagement translates to higher staff retention and lower turnover costs.
- Employees that are more engaged produce more (quantity).
- Employees that are more engaged also produce better (quality).
- Disengaged employees tend to have increased absenteeism which can translate to higher sick pay as well as overtime costs for their colleagues who have to pick up the slack.
Assuming that your employees are engaged can be a critical error. A great way to gather useful insight on this is with an Employee Engagement Survey. These surveys give employees the opportunity to confidentially provide organizational feedback. They essentially open a door of communication straight from staff to executives.
To management, engagement surveys are also beneficial in benchmarking for later data comparison purposes as they can indicate what areas you’ve improved on, and what may still need a strategic adjustment.
Each organization will have to do their own investigating to determine where work is needed, but some commonly assessed factors are leadership & corporate culture, work environment, compensation & benefits, employee recognition, and learning & development opportunities.
Take a pulse check and see where your team is at. The results may surprise you.