Engaged employees are those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.
The level of an employee's psychological investment in their organization.
Emotional commitment that we have to our organization and the organization’s goals.
The harnessing of organization members' selves to their work roles; in engagement, people employ and express themselves physically, cognitively, and emotionally during role performances.
A distinct and unique construct consisting of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral components that are associated with individual role performance.
A fundamental concept in the effort to understand and describe, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the nature of the relationship between an organization and its employees.
Social exchange theory suggests that we essentially take the benefits and subtract the costs in order to determine how much a relationship is worth. Positive relationships are those in which the benefits outweigh the costs while negative relationships occur when the costs are greater than the benefits.
“The two-way mutual commitment between an organization and its employees, where there is a healthy give and take that leaves both parties benefitted from the interaction.”
“Say”: Are your employees speaking positively about your organization to co-workers, customers and others?
“Stay”: Do they have a strong desire to be part of the organization?
“Strive”: Do they show readiness to put in extra effort without expectation of monetary rewards?
“There has to be a deep-seated desire in your heart and mind to participate, to be involved, and to make a difference. If the desire isn’t there, no person or book can plant it within you.”–Tim Clark, President of Emirates
Bring on board people with similar personalities, qualities and behavioral traits that suit the culture you want at your workplace.
While hard skills such as experience and skillsets are important, an organization’s ability to retain and get the best from an employee depends on how aligned the employee feels to the organization.
For instance, an organization that relies heavily on individual initiative and independent tasks may not be a cultural fit for someone who works more effectively in collaborative teams.
Or, an employee who values flexible work timing may not be a good fit in a team that works around strict timelines.
Let 75% of your hiring decision be based on skills and experiences, and the rest 25% on cultural fit.
Simply put, engaged employees are satisfied with their jobs but a satisfied employee isn’t necessarily engaged at work.
What does this mean?
However, here’s where satisfaction falls short of engagement.
A satisfied employee won’t necessarily align with the larger purpose of the organization, innovate new products or services, help co-workers, etc., which are all evident behavioral traits of an engaged employee.
Motivation is anything that drives an individual to act in a certain way to achieve a specific goal.
Recognition from the manager is a motivator and so is fear of the manager. Both will get employees to complete their work effectively and on time.
However, an employee who is motivated to work out of fear of their manager won’t be engaged.
A term that rose to popularity, not more than a few years ago, employee experience (EX) refers to every touchpoint in an employee’s lifecycle that defines their experience with the company. This includes the facilities, the IT infrastructure, the policies, etc. that define an employee’s day-to-day experience.
Now how is employee experience different from employee engagement?
Employee experience can be looked at more as the input and engagement as the resultant output. The more an organization invests in creating a better employee experience, the better will also be employee engagement.
Happiness is an intrinsic state of being. No matter what an individual’s external circumstance is, an employee can choose to be happy or not.
Happy employees are great for a workplace because happiness is infectious. However, a happy employee does not guarantee loyalty, commitment, innovative spirit, or enthusiasm toward their work that are pillars of employee engagement.
Employee wellbeing is mainly about reducing work-related stress and instituting incentives for healthy living. The focus here is on the physical, mental, and psychological health of an employee.
In terms of employee engagement and wellbeing, wellbeing can be considered as a factor that can enhance engagement.
In short, all of these terms in some form contribute to employee engagement, and engagement in itself can be seen as a larger umbrella concept that encompasses all of the above.
Emotions inform an individual’s behavior and actions. “How one feels about one's work” will determine “how one responds to it”. When organizations are able to drive positive emotions like pride, involvement, etc. among their employees then they are able to be more open-minded, think flexibly, deal with confrontations more thoughtfully and be less defensive at the workplace; all of which enhance employee engagement.
In the two-way relationship between an employer and employee that leads to engagement, there are certain drivers that research has, time and again, demonstrated to impact employee engagement. These drivers fall under four categories:
For most of them, it can be summed up by one of four things: They love what they do (their JOB), they love the Disney brand (their ORGANIZATION), they love their manager (their BOSS), or they love the people they work with (their SQUAD).— Pete Blank, Employee Engagement Thought Leader
Role clarity: When employees have clarity on what their jobs entail, they are able to carry out their day-to-day tasks with confidence and with full knowledge of how their work impacts business. A job description is a great recruiting tool but often does not deliver on the kind of job clarity an employee seeks. Job clarity is an ongoing process where the manager can help the employee through any challenges they are facing, and also help them align their personal goals with their roles.
Autonomy: Freedom to make decisions that are important to their performance and the quality of their working lives encourage employees to take full ownership of their roles and deliver with commitment. And autonomy can vary based on the the type of role an employee is in and the culture of the organization. For instance, while some organizations can give employees the autonomy to choose their work hours, others might be able to give them the choice to make decisions in how they execute their work. Let’s say, autonomy is also the antithesis to micromanagement.
Capacity: If you want your employees to cut a tree, give them an ax. If you want them to go fishing, give them a fishing rod. No amount of role clarity or autonomy can help, if employees do not have easy access to the right resources and tools to carry out their jobs. And in the absence of the capacity needed to carry out their work, employees often end up taking long, winding routes to accomplish tasks, that are not only time-consuming but also leave the employees feeling incompetent and discouraged.
Professional development: Every employee has their aspirations. To be able to have access to opportunities within the organization that align with their aspirations is critical for employee engagement. Not just that, employees also often look for someone, like a manager, to encourage them to take advantage of these opportunities. Professional development opportunities include promotion, training, and learning options.
Recognition: How can an employee know that they are doing a great job at their work? By being recognized for it. However, it is not always necessary that these recognitions come in monetary forms alone. Public recognition from leadership or their manager - words of appreciation - with specific details of the work well done serves as a great opportunity to engage employees.
In 1990, Julie Beardwell and Tim Claydon conducted a research on factory workers and the number of injuries they reported based on differing levels of control over their work.
It was found that, after the staff was given the training and autonomy to make repairs to their own equipment instead of calling the supervisor everytime they encountered a problem, they reported fewer occupational injuries.
One can conclude that when workers experience more autonomy over their work -autonomy being a key contributor to employee engagement - they are likely to be more focused and less prone to mistakes.
Collaboration: How well an employee is able to collaborate with the team demonstrates the safety, trust and camaraderie with the team members. Since employees spend the most time with their team members, an inability to collaborate effectively with the team can be detrimental to employee engagement. For example, if someone feels like other team members are not effectively doing their share of work, it can negatively influence the engagement levels of this employee.
Support: Can employees turn to one or more of their teammates when they need help? Will teammates fill in for each other if one of them is on leave or is dealing with issues that is affecting their productivity? These forms of voluntary support among team members greatly drive employee engagement.
Mutual respect: Can team members also voice disagreement or dissent with ease? A great sign of a healthy team and a positive indicator of engagement is when teams make space for healthy arguments and disagreements, and can still continue to work towards shared goals.
Being seen and heard: Can an employee be themselves around at least one team member? To be able to remove their professional masks and be fully seen for who they are is crucial to building and nurturing strong bonds within a team. This doesn’t necessarily have to be with everyone on the team. Gallup Q12 survey suggests that even if an employee has one friend in the team, it can boost employee engagement substantially.
We are CultureMonkey, an AI powered employee engagement software. Simply put we help you listen to your employees better.
Fairness: Employees inevitably compare their situation to that of their coworkers. In those terms, is the manager supportive of everyone equally? Is he/she taking a keen interest in everyone’s work and growth? Is he/she giving due credit to each employee? All of these factors that point at the fairness demonstrated by the manager are crucial to employee engagement.
Availability: Can employees turn to one or more of their teammates when they need help? Will teammates fill in for each other if one of them is on leave or is dealing with issues that is affecting their productivity? These forms of voluntary support among team members greatly drive employee engagement.
Integrity: Does a manager walk the talk? Can a manager lead by example? Do a manager’s actions align with their words? The integrity of a manager is primarily gauged by dependability and reliability; if they’ll follow through with what they have said they will do.
Support: When a manager shows genuine interest in an employee - both professionally and personally, an employee is bound to feel engaged. Take each of our own personal examples. When have we most felt engaged with an organization? Was it when we had a boss who helped us grow in our career, gave us the freedom to make decisions, and guided us?
Leadership: Trust in leadership is of utmost importance. And trust is built when:
Employee feedback: Employees want to have a say in decisions that are made in the organization. The opportunity to feed their opinions and views upwards is a positive indicator of employee engagement. However, a lot of organizations either fail in giving employees such a platform to share their feedback or miss acknowledging employee feedback, both of which can be equally detrimental to employee engagement.
Work Environment: A conducive and safe physical environment is non-negotiable in engaging employees. While some employees especially in manufacturing might prioritize safety, others in the creative field might expect a more aesthetically designed workspace. Either way, a positive work environment with good lighting, accessibility features, and decor is bound to improve employee engagement whereas dangerous, unhealthy, and unappealing office spaces can result in disengagement.
Work-life balance: Imagine an employee who is spending more than 12-15 hours a day at work? This person is not only going to be exhausted by the end of the day but won’t also have time or energy left to invest in other aspects of their life. As a result, their resentment and frustration will skyrocket and in effect, their engagement levels will plummet. Charles Duhigg’s definition of productivity resonates very well with employee engagement, “Getting things done without sacrificing everything we care about along the way.“
Competitive pay: Of course, while competitive salary and benefits are not everything that drives engagement, the absence of it can be disengaging for employees. And in today’s world, competitive pay includes more than just money. It also includes benefits and bonuses that employees will really value. For instance, paid family leave, paternity leave, stock options, paid time off to volunteer, free food and beverages, and more.
As an organization meets each of these drivers of employee engagement, it becomes more attractive to job seekers and becomes more engaging to its existing staff.
Disengaged employees: These employees are actively resentful about the organization and are underperformers. They tend to openly criticize the organization, their work, or managers, which can also negatively impact other employees.
Not engaged employees: These employees fulfill their job responsibilities but are neutral about the organization. They mostly work on autopilot and are concerned about their paycheck. Almost engaged employees will need more reason to actively engage with the organization.
Almost Engaged Employees: These employees give their full at work and feel valued in the organization. They actively participate in decisions that affect their work and share a cordial relationship with team members. They are also very satisfied with personal development opportunities within the organization.
Engaged Employees:These employees give their full at work and feel valued in the organization. They actively participate in decisions that affect their work and share a cordial relationship with team members. They are also very satisfied with personal development opportunities within the organization.
Highly engaged employees:These employees love the work they do and are fully committed to the mission of the organization. They bring with them a very positive attitude that is infectious and can positively impact others around them. They have a great sense of pride in the organization and the work that they do, and are very vocal about it. In short, they are also your brand ambassadors.
Responsive and real-time feedback: The ‘waiting time’ between running an employee survey to accessing the results can be cut down to as little as a few seconds with an employee engagement software. This way, you can act on issues impacting employee engagement right then and there. In addition, advanced AI also lets you analyze employee moods and identify the emotions behind an employee’s response to a survey.
Predictive capabilities: There are patterns in data that a human eye may miss. An employee engagement tool can identify patterns in responses to an employee survey and predict quitting tendencies. This way organizations can act on employee issues and retain top talent by studying their behavior and taking appropriate actions to keep them engaged.
More than just a survey: An employee engagement platform isn’t just about running staff surveys. A good employee engagement tool will help you slice data and study employee engagement strengths and pain points across teams, gender, location, and more. A good add-on would be when it will also auto-suggest actions to work around the areas of improvement and nudge the right stakeholders in the organization to carry out these actions.
Driver analysis: We discussed earlier how drivers of employee engagement can vary from one organization to the other. This means, beyond the high and low scores one might get on various drivers of engagement, you must also understand if these drivers actually contribute to engagement at your workplace. For instance, if your organization has been consistently scoring low on “capacity” and no amount of effort is improving the score, driver analysis by the employee engagement app can help you identify if capacity is a definitive contributor to employee engagement at your organization.
Benchmarking: An ideal employee engagement software will give you insights into the patterns and trends in engagement with respect to your organization and comparable with competitors in your industry. It will also let you benchmark the desired performance of teams and managers against their actual performance.
In short, the best employee engagement platforms will not only help you run surveys but also implement, monitor, and improve employee engagement strategies across the board.
If you are headed in the direction of investing in an employee engagement software, ensure all the above boxes are checked before jumping right in.
Lastly, did we miss telling you…
CultureMonkey: A single source of truth to measure and manage employee engagement. Create a safe space where your employees can voice their feedback and concerns.
If your answer is “yes” to any of the above questions, we can help you. Schedule a 30-min free demo with our product experts.