What is Employee Engagement?
We have all heard of employee engagement. Some of us even know that it is important in a company. Unfortunately, defining the concept is not as simple as it is and there seems to be different definitions by experts. Let us attempt to pinpoint and even elaborate on it.
Employee engagement is the extent to which employees are personally involved in the success of the organization and put discretionary effort into their work. Contrary to popular belief, employee engagement is different from employee satisfaction.
Employee satisfaction does not address employees’ level of motivation or emotional commitment, it only indicates how happy or content they are. For some employees, being satisfied means breezing into the office late each day, doing as little work as possible, leaves early and yet collecting their sizeable salary. All engaged employees are happy but not all happy employees are engaged.
Now that we are done with the interpretation, let us discuss why employee engagement is important to any business. Beyond activities, events and games, employee engagement drives performance. Employees who are engaged want the company to succeed and will go the extra mile because they feel a strong personal connection to it. They look at the whole of the company and understand their purpose, how and where they fit in. Organizations with an engaged workforce tend to be more innovative, grow steadily and recover more quickly after financial setbacks. As the theory goes, organizations must create conditions for engaged employees who in turn will create unforgettable, loyalty-inspiring experiences for customers. This situation will ultimately increase profits.
On the flipside, what happens when employees are disengaged? It was reported by Gallup, a research firm, that a shocking 68.5% of U.S. employees are not engaged in their current roles. Within that group, there are even a percentage of people who are working to undermine the success of their own companies. To exacerbate the matter, disengaged workers are not only unproductive themselves but their negativity might influence the rest, potentially turning engaged employees into non-engaged ones. Gallup further estimates that disengagement is costing American companies $450billion in lost productivity each year.
Thus, however complex employee engagement may seem, it must not be understated by any organizations, whether small to medium enterprises or huge conglomerates. It may even be the difference between the business scaling and going downhill, suffering losses and eventually failing.