The (quick) lowdown on employee engagement

Discussing employee engagement
What is it?

In the last ten years, we’ve seen an increase in the use of the term employee engagement, which was recently defined by Forbes as “the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.” This connection to an organization directly impacts an employee’s ability to contribute productively and proactively to their role, greatly impacting its overall success.

But employee engagement can be confused with employee happiness or job satisfaction, and while the two may sound very similar, they are actually quite different. Engagement has more to do with why or what makes an employee devoted to an organization’s mission, vision, and values. This can affect their dedication to a company’s longer term success, which is why businesses are committing time and resources to heightening engagement. Job satisfaction, on the other hand, has more to do with what an employee feels they get from their employer, and isn’t always directly correlated to productivity.

Ultimately, the emotional connection an employee has to their work boils down to how much they care about what they’re doing, and it’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure that their people have reason(s) enough to care – which is why it must be a priority for businesses that plan to grow and expand.

Luckily, employee engagement is measurable and the metrics provide business leaders with insights on how to increase staff loyalty, improving retention and performance. Platforms like Survey Monkey, for example, are a great resource to help you get started.

Why is it a priority for your business?

According to the Canada Human Resources Centre, a lack of employee engagement contributes to over $350 billion annually in lost productivity. In order to remain competitive in an aggressive business market, employers need to retain their valuable talent, and the only way to do so is to ensure they are measuring engagement and taking the necessary steps to improve it.

By implementing a program that can tell you how to improve engagement at your company, you’ll be able to identify key factors that contribute to retention, which costs an organization far less than replacing top talent.

Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report is distributed annually and is another great resource that dissects the impact of engagement on performance, both at the organizational and individual level. Among its findings, the survey says that employee engagement has come to a standstill, with only 32% of workers engaged in their jobs in 2015, compared to 31.5% in 2014. But engagement rose from 29% in 2011, which means we can expect it to climb steadily as companies prioritize programs that foster and improve staff loyalty and retention.

Businesses are constantly undergoing change as they work toward growth and expansion, and during high-growth periods it’s important that employers connect with their people regularly to ensure they care about what they are doing for the organization, with an understanding of how they are furthering it through their contributions.

Check back with us next month when we take a look at 2016 employee engagement trends, and find out which new tools and programs will help your employees and business thrive in the coming year.

See also:
5 ways to inspire and motivate your employees
Employee motivation strategies that don’t work


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