Work Wednesday: What is Employee Engagement and Why Should It Matter?

home office

Work has been incredibly busy lately. This week, it’s been meeting after meeting. I had to give a presentation today, which is not my favorite thing to do if I’m being completely honest. Anyone else? But, something fun that I’ve been working on lately is a committee that I’m on. It’s an advisory committee meant to help develop, educate and engage our employees. I am on the advisory board, and I also serve on the engagement group. So, needless to say, I’ve taken a deeper dive into employee engagement.

Engagement explained

I’ve always considered myself a very engaged employee, but I’ve never really thought about why. I guess I should back up a little bit and talk about what employee engagement is and why it should matter to you (especially in a remote-working world). In a nutshell, employee engagement is the extent to which employees are committed to an organization they work for. It is not the same as employee satisfaction or happiness. Employee engagement matters because it can help you with important factors like employee retention, allow you to recruit and maintain top talent and increase productivity across your workforce. An engaged workforce can positively impact the bottom line.

It’s a topic I’m passionate about. And, as we’ve taken a deeper dive into the factors that lead to an engaged workforce, I’ve thought about why I am an engaged employee. Personally, I feel incredibly dedicated to the the mission of my organization. I feel compelled to do my best each and every day because I feel like the work I do could potentially make a difference. Not everyone is driven by these factors, but it matters. Harvard Business Review talks about this in a recent article stating that “what your team thinks, feels, and believes about your organization, and their own work, drives their behavior — and their behavior is what determines your success or failure.”

Powerful stuff. We’ve done a couple of interesting exercises over the years to help figure out the science behind teams. Strengthfinders was one of those. Several on my team have also taken the “Colors” assessment, which I hope to take at some point over the next couple of months. It helps give you a framework to relate to other members of your team. But, lets take a deeper dive into the levels of employee engagement.

Levels of employee engagement

There are four levels of employee engagement: highly engaged, moderately engaged, barely engaged and disengaged. High engaged employees work well in their teams, love their jobs and have high rates of productivity. Moderately engaged employees like their organization, but think there are ways to improve. They can underperform. Barely engaged employees lack motivation and are at risk for turnover. They might be scouting out other opportunities and do the bare minimum. Disengaged employees are disconnected at all levels. They are problematic because their negative opinions of the workplace can negatively impact those around them.

How do you increase employee engagement?

Some say that transparency at the leadership level fosters trust, which can lead employees to believe that their leaders can lead the organization or team to success. You also need to allow your employees to utilize their strengths. Seek opinions frequently. An engaged workforce should feel comfortable openly sharing their thoughts and opinions (in a professional forum, of course). Empower your employees with the information they need to do their job well. You can’t expect employees to thrive if there are gaps in the information needed to complete projects. And, make sure that your strategy is built for success.

Every person in your organization impacts employee engagement. And, right now, we are in the process of making engagement a longterm strategy as opposed to just an activity.

That’s all for this Work Wednesday! If you are interested in reading some other tips and tricks for those of ya’ll in the working world, you can click here. If it’s just not your thing, I get it, and you can come back any other day of the week for the less boring info.


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