Employee Engagement – A Complete Guide

By Danni White - Last Updated on August 6, 2020
Employee Engagement Definition

Every successful business owner knows the importance of employee engagement and employee satisfaction, although, these both factors substantially affect the growth of a business, they are completely different from each other. Many people assume employee engagement and employee satisfaction to be the same thing but there’s a huge difference between them and we will cover that too in our article.

Who does not want a successful business with lower turn-over risk and a stable business growth rate? It is really important for a business owner to boost employee satisfaction along with customer satisfaction to increase the overall chance of having a successful business. Also, employee performance management tools are on the rise these days.

It is important to know that both, employee engagement and employee performance cannot be forced. It has to be ingrained in your business environment and each of your employees. There are many ways to increase employee engagement for good employee management in your company but first, we will see what employee engagement in context with employee management really means.

What is Employee Engagement?

Unlike employee satisfaction, employee engagement is a workplace approach where suitable right conditions are set for all the employees so that each day can be their best day at the workplace. The main purpose of employee engagement is to motivate the employees so that they can work selflessly for the organization’s values and goals and contribute fully to the organization’s success.

In short, employee engagement is all about creating suitable conditions for the employees so that they can work with their full will and potential and contribute their share each and every day.

However, employee engagement should be ingrained in your business. It does not come overnight and is fully based on commitment and trust from both sides. It is built between the members of the organization and the employees.

It is an approach for each and every employee that not only increases the organizational success but also increases an individual’s performance, well-being, potential, and productivity.

Employee engagement helps the employees to change their working ways and have them make room for improvements so that they can get positive results for an organization.

Why Is Employee Engagement Important?

Every business owner, even the newest one in this field knows the importance of employee engagement. You see, employees’ collective share is held accountable(1) for an organization’s success. So, in order for an organization to be successful, the engagement between the employees and the officials of an organization is extremely essential.

Here are some reasons why employee engagement is important, not only for the organization but for individual employees as well.

  • Engaged Employees Boost Productivity

    Reports obtained from several resources(2) show that employees who are more engaged and involved in increasing the success rate of the organization are more productive than the ones who do not care about the company’s success and reputation.

    According to the Gallup Poll, 21%(3) of engaged employees working for a particular organization are more productive than the ones who do not engage with their officials.

    Employees who are proud to be a part of your organization tend to be much happier with their work than their less engaged counterparts. It means that they are more serious about their work and this thing naturally increases the productivity rate among the employees.

    Finding ways for good employee engagement means that you are doing something positive for your organization’s success and stability.

    Many experts in business suggest that engagement is the synonym of success. The more engaged employees are, the more successful your organization is likely to be.

  • Employee Engagement Increases Customer Satisfaction

    The employees who are passionate about their work and do everything solely for the organization’s success and their well-being are the best people to interact with your customers. As the adults say, passion is infectious, and your customers won’t help but notice the passion in your employees’ work.

    According to the research mentioned in Quartz(4), the employees who are more engaged put in more effort and this collective effort turns into buzzing productivity. Hence, the customers are treated more nicely and they have a good customer experience with the engaged employees(5).

    Those who are engaged more in their work value your customers and are more than happy to assist the customers in the best way possible.

  • Higher Retention Rate

    Employee engagement also means a high retention rate. The people who are much invested in your organization are less likely to leave the job. Sometimes, the best workers at the workplace are not the best engagers and that is what declines the success of the organization. Keeping them engaged does not only increase the retention rate but also help you to guide the employees to do the best for the company.

    If, for instance, your organization has a low retention rate, try engaging the best workers at your workplace and you will surely notice the difference in retention rate.

  • Employee Engagement Enhances Company Culture

    Employees who are engaged in work are easier to work with(6). Employee engagement creates company culture by ensuring that the company employees’ goals align with the organization’s goals.

  • Engagement Is A Symptom of Success

    Employee engagement is a symptom of success and success does not mean organizational success. It means success that we get by doing teamwork.

How to Improve Employee Engagement?

There are many ways to improve employee engagement. Some of the ways are:

  • Put Everyone in the Right Role

    The best way to improve employee engagement is to put everyone in the right role. It means that it is better to assign those tasks and work to the employees that they love to do. For instance, if a person is happy to work in HR management, there’s no way he would be happy in another department of the organization.

    Similarly, it is better to put everyone in the right position. For instance, it is better to choose an employee as a leader who has leadership and organizational skills. Putting an employee with no leadership skills on the role of a leader will only be bad for the organization and the rest of the employees.

  • Give Them the Training

    A good thing about employee engagement is that a heavy budget isn’t needed to create a meaningful employee engagement program and training. Employee engagement might include the training to handle their jobs and others’ jobs as well in case of an emergency.

    Apart from that, the other thing to train your employees is to nurture their skills and identify what set of skills do they possess so that they can make full use of them at the workplace.

    The main purpose of giving them training is to encourage them to reinvent their talent and skills and to elevate their contribution at the organizational level.

    The employees should be given proper training to remove all the obstacles that are coming in the way of their work.

  • Task Meaningful Work

    Assign meaningful work to the engaged employees so that they can have a clear view of how they are contributing to the organization’s success, purpose, mission, values, and goals. This can be achieved by getting the talent in the right role. You can hire good talent or good employees but if you don’t have a role for them in your organization, then you cannot engage them to do good for the company.

  • Check-in Often

    The traditional way was to rely on mid-year reviews so that the productivity of each employee could be measured but these days are long gone. It is better to have frequent reviews of each employee’s performance and engagement so that all the mistakes can be corrected. It is better to use formal and informal check-in strategies every week to improve employee engagement.

  • Frequently Discuss Engagement

    Successful and concerned managers are very transparent about their ways to improve employee engagement. They hold regular meetings and discuss employee engagement every now and then to keep the employees engaged and motivated to work the best each day.

  • Use the Right Employee Engagement Survey

    It is a good practice to get the help of engagement surveys to improve employee engagement. by surveys, you can get frequent feedbacks from the employees. In surveys, you can also ask your employees for a certain proposal or business design that could benefit your company.

( Also Read: 35 Effective Employee Engagement Strategies to Grow Your Business )

Drivers of Employee Engagement

There are some key factors of employee engagement that you need to keep in mind if you have to enhance employee engagement in your organization. There are some drivers of employee engagement that not only increase the engagement between you and your employees but also increase the collective productivity rate of your organization. Here are some employee engagement drivers:

  • Employees Need Something for Motivation

    Everyone needs the motivation to hold onto something. If you want to keep your employees engaged and intact with the organization’s goals and values, you need to some topic to keep them motivated. The best way is to portray that their individual goals and organizations’ goals are almost the same and by working to achieve the company’s goals, they can nurture their skills and fulfill their goals as well. Moreover, it portrays them that engagement is not only beneficial for the organization but for their own well-being as well.

    You can also carry out employee engagement activities to foster motivation into your employees.

  • Unity

    Coach leadership as well as unity. Preach the importance of teamwork and working as one for a single motive to achieve it. You can do this by telling how each employee can contribute to that work.

    It is better to teach them the lesson of unity by explaining how unity and collective effort makes work easier and increases the overall productivity rate.

  • Wellness Is the Key

    It is a good practice to prioritize mental and physical wellness. It is a very powerful factor in employee engagement. You need to keep a check if your employees are healthy and balanced. Your employees should be getting basic needs such as proper nutrition and rest to meet the important deadlines of office work.

  • Adopt A Learning Culture

    Adopt a learning culture and foster innovation. There are many ways to adopt a learning culture for your employees. For instance, focus on professional development and your organization would be a learning platform for many employees.

    In a similar manner, think about different ways to work on new and innovative initiatives so that your employees could be engaged in those ideas. The workplace is never the place only to work but also to work.

  • Cultural Diversity

    Cultural diversity means the existence of a variety of many ethnic groups in one place. In my opinion, this is one of the best drivers of employee engagement. where there’s cultural diversity, people interact more with each other and work after a single task so that it could be completed efficiently and on time.

    Moreover, cultural diversity also promotes healthy competition. This is again linked to employee engagement indirectly.

  • Transparency and Honesty

    Transparency and honesty are very important for the employees. The employees would always think ‘how transparent the organization is?’ A transparent work environment and honesty from the official members of the organization lead to trust which again creates a sense of stability and belonging. It also gives a chance to the employees to understand their role connects to the high official members of this organization.

  • Autonomy

    Autonomy in employee engagement is all about letting the employees govern their own roles and make decisions freely so that they can have an in-depth view of what they are contributing to the organization. By this, they can also explore ways to improve their performance.

  • Employee Recognition

    It’s no wonder that employee recognition and awards can increase employee engagement. It is a good practice to acknowledge and recognize each employees’ efforts and work proudly and loudly so that they can be more engaged in the future.

  • Inspiration

    Inspiration is a good employee engagement driver. Give them the inspiration to hold onto. Sometimes, people work just the same as their inspiration so that they could also be successful in their life. Being inspired promotes employee engagement.

  • Career Development Opportunities

    This is a part of your job to help your team achieve all the professional and career development goals. Employees who are focused on positive growth in their careers are likely to be more engaged and good for an organization.

  • Fair Pay Structure

    Of course, a good salary package would always be the best employee engagement driver. Your employees should be paid fairly for their efforts and work so that they can contribute their full share to the organization.

( Also Read: 10 Successful Employee Engagement Strategies for every CHRO )

How to Measure Employee Engagement?

There are many ways to measure employee engagement. some of the ways are:

  • It Takes More Than One Question to Understand Employee Engagement

    There’s more than one question to understand how to increase employee engagement. One question survey would only make this process complex and long. You need regular pulse surveys or normal surveys with 5-10 questions asking the employees about their work-life and feelings about the workplace.

    Moreover, you can also take in the suggestions. For instance, you can ask if there’s anything that they want to change at the workplace.

  • Having Engagement Measured by A Survey Provider

    This is the approach taken by most of the organizations. A survey provider actually measures employee engagement every one or two years and significantly takes care of the logistics and software. After that, the survey results are then showcased to the company on a high level.

  • Employee Engagement Driver Analysis Gives You Better Insight on Where to Take Action

    Annual survey analysis is too late, and it often becomes late to make good decisions for the company. So, employee engagement driver analysis surveys should be conducted every one or two weeks depending on the company’s goals and needs.

    This allows you to have better insight on where to take action on time. Otherwise, annual data analysis-based decisions become too late.

  • Knowing the Common Drivers of Employee Engagement Is Helpful for Understanding Overall Trends of Engagement

    As a business owner, you must know the factor that drives employees to be engaged in the work every day. These factors are unity, autonomy, honestly, professional development chances and etc. knowing them and understanding them is really helpful for understanding the overall trends of engagement.

    For instance, if the employees are engaged more because of career growth and professional development opportunities, then understanding them and focusing on them can help you measure employee engagement.

  • Benchmark Data Gives You Useful Context for Your Survey Results

    There are many ways to calculate the survey results but the most important thing in the whole process is to understand the data and the metrics as they both count the most. Data is countable and scalable as well and you can benchmark the data for having useful context for all the surveys that you have conducted in that time span you’ve set.

  • Measuring Engagement, Yourself

    It is better to measure the engagement yourself as you own your employee data conducted from surveys, you can add company-related questions to your surveys, you can add tactical data in your annual reports and you can use that result to compare it with the previous years’ results and analyze the data for more improvement.

  • The Hybrid Approach

    A lot of organizations are considering a hybrid approach that significantly uses questionnaires for specific employee segments over the annual surveys. After that, they use that data to assess and measure sales performance or to know the reasons for absenteeism in that particular employee segment.

Difference Between Employee Engagement and Employee Satisfaction

Employee engagement is something that occurs when the employees are fully committed to helping their companies achieve all the goals. Employee satisfaction is basically the state of the workers. It is about being happy and satisfied with their work and job.
The engaged employees always think about the betterment of their organization and always think of innovative ideas to increase the company’s success rate. Engagement has nothing to do with it. For instance, an employee is satisfied with its job but does not contribute much to the company.
Engaged employees are motivated to work every day and do everything in their will and power to help the company achieve its goals. Satisfied employees are those that handle their job responsibilities well and decently but do not go above and beyond that.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, employee engagement is an important factor contributing to an organization’s success. In order for the organization to be up and running successfully, the officials should focus more on employee engagement along with employee satisfaction. The more engaged employees would be, the more would be the productivity rate.

By looking at the big picture, I think it is best to leave the important decisions up to your employees and give them the freedom to work innovatively so that they can be engaged and put their ideas and method on the table.

Danni White | Danni White is the CEO of DW Creative Consulting Agency, a digital marketing firm specializing in elevating the visibility of small-to-midsize businesses and nonprofits. She is the author of 17 books and hosts the #Hashtags and Habits Podcast, which merges digital marketing, entrepreneurship, and personal growth.

Danni White | Danni White is the CEO of DW Creative Consulting Agency, a digital marketing firm specializing in elevating the visibility of small-to-midsize busi...


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