What is employee engagement?

"Employee engagement" is a term that many people in the world of work are using and referring to. But what does it actually mean?

According to one engagement specialist, “employee engagement is a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members of an organisation to give their best each day, committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being”.

This is a very thorough definition, but, what does this really mean to you as a business owner or manager?

What employee engagement is not

In order to understand what employee engagement is it is helpful to first understand what employee engagement ISN’T.

Having a seemingly happy workforce doesn’t mean that your employees are engaged. Your staff may be happy at work, cheerful and fun to be around but they could still be clueless about what the business' overall goals are. Likewise, having employees that seem motivated to do their work does not mean they are actively engaged with your business' goals and mission statement. They could be satisfied with the working environment, happy enough with the brand of tea that is offered, or satisfied with the pay level, but again this doesn’t mean they fully believe in what the company is doing and are therefore not working towards it.

Employee engagement goes deeper than workforce satisfaction and happiness, it is an emotional connection the employee has to the business. When an employee is engaged, they genuinely care about the business and the service it provides to its customers.

Why is employee engagement so important?

Research shows that employee engagement can have a positive impact on both the people working for a company, and for a business' bottom line.

In a report published by Harvard Business Review, a vast majority of the 568 surveyed businesses stated that employee engagement had a considerable impact on customer satisfaction, suggesting that the benefits of engaged employees include a more productive and effective workforce.

Furthermore, engaged employees are more likely to stay longer with a company, which reduces the costly impact of a high turnover of staff.

Having a workforce that is engaged can also result in your employees taking fewer sick days, as employee engagement is said to be closely linked to employee health and well-being.

Forbes also reported that companies with a highly engaged workforce have seen their profits rise by up to 6%, and a separate study found that highly engaged employees yield a 26% greater revenue per employee. Why? Because staff are more productive and committed, and they truly want the business to succeed.

If employees are fully engaged and working towards the same over-arching goals, there is greater unison and cooperation in a team, and staff morale stays high. In short, employee engagement creates a more productive, efficient and healthier workforce as well as a more positive working environment, which all leads to better results and growth for your company.

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