Updated: Feb 2
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is the emotional connection an employee has between their work, their teams, the organization, and its goals. Therefore, it all directly affects their performance and just about every critical aspect of the business, such as revenue, customer experience, employee turnover, etc. Employee engagement creates the right conditions for all employees to perform their best every day and ensures their commitment to their entity’s goals and values. Although dismissed by many, employee engagement greatly impacts an organization’s corporate culture. Employees who feel connected to their entity work harder, stay longer and motivate others to do the same.
What is not employee engagement?
Employee engagement can be easily misunderstood as an employee's emotional commitment to their entity, not employee happiness, satisfaction, and well-being. While still important, this is different. Employee happiness is something that comes naturally and individually. For instance, a promotion may cause employees to be happy; however, the long hours can change their contentment in a second. Something somewhat similar occurs with employee satisfaction because it is impossible to satisfy all individuals in a workplace. There is always a need for change. Hence, an entity undergoes constant evolution to meet the needs of its employees. Employee well-being is more of an individual issue that the entity cannot do anything about besides providing support if needed and a safe working environment.
Levels of employee engagement
Employee engagement enhances communication and ensures workers feel prepared to do their job, which is fundamental to productivity. In an organization, one can find four different levels of employee engagement: highly engaged, moderately engaged, somewhat disengaged, and disengaged. All four levels impact the organization, although some more than others. An entity needs a balance between the top level and the lower levels of the pyramid to maintain productivity. Without the upper level, an entity would not be able to produce much innovation. However, without the lower level, the upper level would be overwhelmed with their productivity.
Benefits of employee engagement and its drivers High employee engagement levels increase employees' effort, making them want to go above and beyond doing their job. Increased employee productivity goes hand-in-hand with plenty of other benefits brought to an entity by employee engagement. The implementation of higher employee engagement also brings higher levels of employee retention, increased customer satisfaction, and better health for employees. In order to achieve all those benefits, entities need to establish the best drivers of employee engagement. The most well-known are:
Motivating work - Employees want challenging jobs that keep them engaged
Inspirational teams and leaders - Employees want to work for teams and leaders that put people first
Commitment to the organization - Employees want to work in an organization built for success
Once an entity has initiated these drivers, it is time to put them into practice. Institutions have to begin reaffirming areas of strength. Although there is always room for improvement, it is always good to highlight strengths. Tie engagement efforts to business outcomes by making everyone feel appreciated. But most importantly, make the engagement a strategy, not an activity, because engagement has to be addressed to improve. So, what now?
Employee engagement has grown in importance over the past year, as individuals have transitioned from in-person to remote environments. Thus, driving a disconnect between employees and the entity and also among employees. Newly hired employees did not have the opportunity to meet their co-workers in a ‘normal’ manner, which generated isolation. As the workplace transitioned to remote environments, employee engagement increased because frequent communication and feedback between employees and their entity became more of a requirement rather than an option. Entities with higher employee engagement are more likely to survive during tough times. As seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, many enterprises were without a good backbone of employee engagement and went bankrupt or suffered high amounts of profit losses. Our current situation has shined the spotlight on employee engagement and its crucial involvement in businesses, organizations, and entities.
In order to truly succeed in implementing employee engagement, the company has to genuinely care about its employees. Employee engagement is a process all about learning and evolving. If a company chooses to ignore employee engagement, your employees will view you more as a stepping stone in their career until they find a better and more permanent option. Therefore, employee engagement sets people up for success.
Here at Cornerstone Paradigm Consulting, we dedicate ourselves to helping you improve your business by starting with the easy tasks first – such as strengthening employee engagement.
About the author
Cornerstone Paradigm Consulting, LLC is an industry-agnostic business operations consulting firm going beyond the symptoms to get to the root cause of business issues.