What is Employee Engagement?

understanding employee engagementFor quite some time now, Spark Hire has been talking about employee engagement to HR professionals all over. How can you improve your employee engagement? What are some things you can do to get your employees more engaged over the holidays? There are many more articles on the subject, but do we all truly know what employee engagement even is? It’s not simply the happiness of your employees, if that is what you thought. You can have plenty of employees that are perfectly happy with their work but are not necessarily engaged with it. Wouldn’t you agree that before you can improve upon it, you must first know what employee engagement is?

First and foremost, as stated earlier, know that employee engagement is not just employee satisfaction. As Custom Insight states, employee engagement includes motivation, involvement levels and/or emotional commitment. By definition, employee engagement is “the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.” Engaged employees are enthusiastic about their work and the company they work for. They truly care about what they do, and will likely go above and beyond to learn more and continue to succeed. In order to have a strong employee retention rate, you have got to have high employee engagement.

Engaged employees are certainly not the employees in your company that are just clocking in everyday for a paycheck. These employees may very well be satisfied, but to call them engaged employees would be a misstep. More often than not, your engaged employees are the ones that will go above and beyond for the company’s benefit. They will stay longer in the office to finish a project without being asked. On top of that, you probably won’t catch them complaining about it either. Therefore, it’s safe to say that most of your engaged employees will be your high performers. Research from Towers Perrin shows that companies with engaged workers have 6 percent higher net profit margins and five times higher shareholder returns over five years. Imagine that!

So now that you know what employee engagement really is, it’s easy to see why so many companies are working hard to improve their employee engagement. If you can do things to get your employees more engaged, then that means only good things for your company and the business it conducts. Would you rather have the employee that is happy with their job, but only willing to give what is merely expected, or the employee that loves what they do and cares deeply about the direction of the company? You know the answer, and so do companies worldwide. That is why employee engagement is such a hot topic these days. So when you hear that only about 31 percent of employees are actually engaged with their jobs, it makes you wonder how many engaged employees you have on your own team.

How do you know if your employees are engaged or just simply satisfied, then? The best way to go about it is to conduct a survey that asks your employees almost directly. Custom Insight suggests that in order to have a truly useful survey, it must have 50 to 80 questions all centered on employee engagement and why your employees feel the way they do. What drives their engagement- or lack there-of? Once you get a picture of how your company is faring, you can then go about working towards improving employee engagement if needed.

So now that you know exactly what employee engagement is- and how detrimental it can be to your company’s success- it may be time for your company to assess its own employee engagement. Once you understand where your company fits, check back here at Spark Hire for some great articles on how you can improve that employee engagement you need.

Does your company place importance on employee engagement? How does it measure it? Share with us in the comments section below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Tsahi Levent-Levi