Employee engagement is an inspiring concept, and makes most people want to start increasing it in their organisation … Though there are others who are a bit more cynical and wonder whether this is yet another new buzzword which will soon go out of fashion like so many others! (If you’re one of them, this is for you!) …
Why is employee engagement so critical?
I am obviously a great believer in employee engagement. Not just as an employee engagement specialist (well, you’d hope I was passionate!). But because I remember being a disengaged employee, and how depressing it felt to go to work just because I had a mortgage to pay! … So I am keen on increasing employee engagement, so nobody feels as bleak as I used to feel!
Organisations are there to make a profit, or to make sure they continue receiving funding. And there is a plethora of research highlighting how high employee engagement is linked to increased productivity and profitability. (Email me and I will send you a few links.)
So focussing on employee engagement is a no-brainer really!
So what is employee engagement?
Kahn developed one of the most popular definitions of employee engagement. He argued that engaged employees are physically, emotionally, and cognitively involved in their work. So they are not just bums on seats. But they also focus on what they do, are passionate about it, try and be creative when they get stuck, and are inspired by their work.
Engaged employees meet 3 conditions:
- They see their job as meaningful: This happens when employees receive feedback, their good work is recognised, they feel challenged by their work (but not so challenged that they think it’s impossible to succeed), and their job is varied enough to keep their interest.
- They feel psychologically safe at work: Employees feel their boss will give them direction and help them develop, that if they work hard they will go far with the company, and that when things get tough people will support them.
- They are available for work, both physically and mentally: If they have just had a baby and are sleeping 3 hours per night they are unlikely to be engaged! People who are more positive and have good personal resources (e.g. effective coping skills) are more engaged.
This is the area organisations have least control over. But the good thing is that engagement does not depend only on this! So if you develop the other points, engagement will still go up.
Now you have seen how crucial employee engagement is, and that it’s quite possible to increase it in your team or organisation, the next step is to plan a strategy that will give results. We would love to partner with you on this. Just get in touch!
Dr Sharon Xuereb is an employee engagement specialist, and a psychologist working in the UK and the US. She has developed a free quiz so you can find out what type of manager you are. You will instantly get practical tips to help you become an even more effective manager!